Friday, January 25, 2013

... grace nono: the musical babaylan enchantress ... (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, osteopath, quezon city, manila, philippines)

although i am a practitioner of western allopathic medicine and an avid student of traditional chinese medicine, i never forget that as a holistic healer, i am filipino.  thus, i make sure to ground myself in the healing spirit, attitudes, and values of my filipino shamanistic forebears and continue to learn from their indigenous healing traditions.

Baylan Lordina "Undin" Potenciano and her interpreter Robilyn

last weekend, i had the double treat of meeting Babaylan Undin and Grace Nono. 

babaylan is a visayan term for a tribal leader, male or female, who functions as a mediator between God and man, healer, ritual expert, and culture-bearer.  in other philippine indigenous communities, the babaylan is known as mumbaki, dawac, balyan, katalonan, ma-aram,  mangngallag, mambunong.  

Baylan Undin performing a ritual

Babaylan Undin comes from the Manobo ethnic group of agusan del sur.  she followed in the footsteps of her late grandmother who officiated rituals and healed the sick through chants and dance.  Babaylan Undin, in fact, serves as one of Grace Nono's chant teachers.  

famed etho-musician Grace Nono

now if you're a die-hard "justin belieber," chances are you won't know who Grace Nono is.  Grace is an icon in the filipino music world.  she is an ethno-musician who does indigenous and pop renditions of filipino tribal chants and folk songs.  not only is she a well-awarded music artist but an academician and book author as well.  in fact, she is currently a PhD candidate in ethno-musicology at the new york university.  i consider her to be a babaylan who heals cultures and people through her healing voice and musical artistry.

when Grace Nono sings, there's only one word to describe her, and that is-- mesmerizing!  get entranced as you listen to her sing in the videoclips below:

Grace Nono singing "Pinoy ang Dating"- IBC-13's station ID

Grace Nono singing a pop version of the folk song Salidumay

Grace Nono singing the visayan folk song Dandansoy

and for the life of you, don't even dare miss this last piece:

a "live" and pop rendition of the folk song Padayon 

as a holistic healer, i consider myself a modern-day babaylan in the good company of babaylans such as Babaylan Undin and Grace Nono.  to both of you, thank you for being keepers of our indigenous heritage.    
Thanks to a nice guy named Yaman for giving me his special coin purse

the life change recovery center group with Baylan Undin

the life change recovery center group with Grace Nono

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

... aly borromeo: captain of the azkals and clinical body therapy / osteopathy ... (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, osteopath, quezon city, manila, philippines)

what's Aly Borromeo, the team captain of the Azkals like?  well, in an article written by mav gonzales, this is what he had to say about himself:  "I'm not a strict captain as long as you give your 110 percent.  Errors are acceptable only for a first time.  On the second time, I'm probably gonna shout at them.  They're gonna get scolded.  I get pissed off with slight errors where they do things without thinking, and when they try to force things."  

well, dem words are fightin' words!  and being the strict team captain that he is, no wonder then that the Azkals team was able to kick both balls and butts to reach the top!

a few months ago, Aly underwent surgery because of a meniscal tear in his knee.  i guess that as team captain, he's even stricter on his own game, giving perhaps more than the 110% effort that he requires from his own teammates.  

it's a good thing that when Aly visited my clinic, he came in with the meek and mild demeanor of a Bruce Banner and not with the raging passion he displays as the Incredible Hulk of the football field.  

i hope you get well soon Aly!  you make all Filipinos proud!  

Monday, January 7, 2013

... gma: mike enriquez, ang imbestigador! ... (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, osteopath, quezon city, manila, philippines)

no, you don't need to hear Mike Enriquez speak. you only have to see him and you already know how he'll sound like- intonation and all.  that's how much Mike Enriquez' voice has deeply infiltrated our subconscious minds.

most people only know Mike Enriquez as a newscaster for GMA network news, the host of his own tv shows Saksi and Imbestigador, and host of the radio program Saksi sa Dobol B.   what people probably don't know is that Mike was a former DJ for Mellow Touch 94.7 carrying the monicker "Baby Michael."  Also, in 1992, he actually appeared as a DJ in Andrew E.'s movie entitled, "Mahirap Maging Pogi (It's Not Easy Being Handsome)."  as a child, he was an altar boy and even ambitioned to be a priest.  

despite being the Senior VP of the GMA network radio, this man remains very likeable, funny, and accomodating.  no wonder he was named as one of the philippines' most child-friendly personalities by child-oriented organizations.  

for being the good person that you are, Mike Enriquez, this is for sure:  di namin kayo tatantanan!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

... gma: wish ko lang helps out soliman cruz ... (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, osteopath, quezon city, manila, philippines)

it's been more than a decade since i first met soliman cruz.  even from the beginning, i recognized in this actor soliman the marks of genius- his passionate love for acting, his dedication in honing his craft, and his generous desire to teach and coach aspiring artists.  

my impressions of him back then continue up to the present: i still perceive him to be a very right-brained type of person, very feelings-oriented, creative, humorous, free-spirited, and eccentric.  he flows with whatever circumstance he finds or gets himself in and he pours all of himself into the moment.  he treats the world as his playground where he lets his childlikeness cut loose.

HAVE A GOOD LAUGH WITH THIS ONE!  Soliman Cruz in the 
Boysen Paint commercial entitled "Home Sweet Home"

Boysen Paint commercial entitled "Mother-in-Law"

but like all of us, soliman has within himself demons that taunt him and ghosts that haunt him:  he openly talks to friends and media about his unstable marriage; he himself confesses that he struggles with drug use and has even attended narcotics anonymous support groups in the past; and from his own mouth too, he admits that he converses with the "voices" in his head.  many people, in fact, were both shocked and saddened to see soliman walking aimlessly along Roxas Boulevard like a greased-up hobo, talking to himself and at times, sleeping by the seawall.

a few people reacted quite hastily and angrily when they watched me on tv giving soliman a diagnosis of 'methamphetamine dependence with probable schizophrenia.'  for these people, they considered my action to be a breach of confidentiality between doctor and patient.  

i want to remind them though that there was nothing confidential, nothing secret about his life that i divulged.  the staff of jessica soho and of vicky morales brought soliman to me because for them, it was pretty obvious that he was exhibiting strange (aka abnormal) behaviors.  in fact, it was soliman himself who requested to have personal consultations with me, bringing along with him the tv crews of jessica soho and vicky morales on separate occasions.  

the diagnosis which i gave soliman was based on symptoms and behaviors which soliman himself had divulged to media and which countless others had clearly observed in him.  people don't need specialized knowledge in psychology or psychiatry to know that "conversing with voices in the head" and "shabu use" are not normal.  in giving soliman a diagnosis, i merely translated into medical jargon the symptoms which soliman himself had announced to media: 

-  soliman admitted to media hearing voices in his head + talking to the voices. medical translation: hallucinations -> psychosis -> probable schizophrenia

-  soliman admitted to media his history of shabu use + battling addiction + attendance at narcotics anonymous groups." medical translation:  methamphetamine dependence.

what people don't know is that soliman and i had discussed beforehand about the content of the interview and thus, soliman, with full awareness, granted me permission to say whatever i said on tv.  in fact, it was i who was protective of soliman by constantly reminding the tv crew through text messages not to portray soliman in bad light, lest his career gets ruined.

jessica soho's and  vicky morales' teams brought soliman cruz to my clinic with noble intentions: 
(1) to get soliman cruz treated and rehabilitated, 
(2) to educate the public about the psychiatric consequences of illicit drug use, and most importantly, 
(3) to instill hope in soliman cruz and give him a new lease on life.

soliman publicly claims that he is able to ignore the voices in his head when it is time to act, and this is exemplary proof of how single-minded and focused he can be as an actor.  in fact, soliman's exceptional acting prowess was again displayed in the recent award-winning movie 'el presidente.'  

as a last word, i want to say that giving soliman cruz a psychiatric diagnosis does not, in any way, diminish his dignity as a person, his genius as an artist, and his likeability as a friend.  and while some people have nothing better to do than create sensationalized controversies about him or me, i would rather let soliman know that if ever and whenever he needs my help, i'll gladly be there to help him like i've always done in the past!   

Saturday, January 5, 2013

... gma: jessica soho interviews soliman cruz ... (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, osteopath, quezon city, manila, philippines)

Soliman Cruz admits hearing voices in his head; diagnosed with probable schizophrenia (excerpts)
Lyn Luna Montealegre, Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP)

soliman and the kapuso mo, jessica soho crew

Several witnesses revealed that they often see Soliman walking along Roxas Boulevard and talking to himself. Some said that they even see the actor sleeping along the seawall. News about Mang Sol’s [Soliman] strange state and behavior spread like wildfire on various social networking sites. This prompted Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho to feature the character actor on its recent episode last Sunday, December 16. Soliman, now known as Mang Sol, is staying at a friend’s art gallery located in Singalong, Manila.

Does he have problems with his vices?
Mang Sol denied that he has a drinking problem but he admitted, “Eto yung paulit-ulit kong sinasabi, kung nagbibisyo ka ba, nagda-drugs. At eto yung kasagutan ko, I’m not in denial pero may programa ako sa sarili ko. Di ba, sa Narcotics Anonymous may twelve steps…May mga bahaging okay, may mga bahaging hindi okay kaya binabalanse ko.”
What are the challenges being faced by the actor now?

The character actor revealed, “It’s all about the voices in my head. I hear voices. I have to talk to them.”
What are these voices telling you?
The veteran actor said, “Marami. Marami silang sinasabi tungkol sa akin. Sa aming mga ideya. Pag ako naglalakad, ang pag-uusap namin tungkol sa Boatman’s club…ang Boatman’s Club ay kapitbahay ng Manila Yacht Club. Ito ay transmutasyon ng Malate Business Club. Hindi ko alam kung sino sila. Maaaring ako rin yun.”
Did he seek medical help?
“Pumunta ako sa isang psychiatrist noong may teleserye pa ako. Ngayon ay di ko pa makakayanan bumisita sa clinika niya. Ito ay hindi problema. Ito ay kailangan magpursige at maghanap ng proyekto.”

DIAGNOSIS OF SOLIMAN. Since Mang Sol mentioned that he would like to talk to a psychiatrist, Jessica arranged for him to be checked and evaluated by psychiatrist-psychologist Dr. Randy Dellosa.
After the consultation, Dr. Dellosa said: “Yung actual diagnosis ko sa kanya ay methamphetamine dependence and also probable schizophrenia."

According to, symptoms of schizophrenia may include "delusions, hallucinations, catatonia, negative symptoms, and disorganized speech or behavior."
Dr. Dellosa explained, “Ang paggamit ng drugs ay nakaka-imbalance ng chemicals sa utak.

"Pag na imbalance ang chemicals sa utak, nagkakaroon ng hallucinations at yun ang nangyari kay Sol. Mayroon siyang mga naririnig na auditory hallucinations na voices. Kinakausap niya itong mga bulong.”

The doctor clarified that this condition is treatable.

“There’s medication for that. It’s very easy to treat psychosis…Kailangan niya ng individual psychotherapy o counseling. Kasi mayroon siyang mga angst sa buhay. Kagaya ng problems niya with si misis ... Kung masyadong matindi ang emotions niya, masyado siyang nalulungkot o nagagalit, pwede siyang mag-resort sa drugs. He also needs to have marital or family counseling. Besides that, kailangan niya ng support group para ma-encourage at ma-inspire siya.”

soliman cruz with nathan lopez in the award-winning movie 
'ang pagdadalaga ni maximo oliveros'

What are his plans for Christmas?
He said, “... Maghahanap siguro ako uli ng isang lugar na maaaring akong magdasal. “Yung teatro ang aking parang… Kailangan kong magdasal. Hindi ako makapagdasal kung hindi ako lilikha. Ang paglikha ay pagdarasal.”
Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho already gave some medication to Soliman Cruz. Family members and friends of the character actor can contact these numbers to extend their help: Tel. No. 982-7777 local 1426 / 1427

... General Jessie Dellosa: Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines ... (life change, counselor, psychotherapist, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, osteopath, quezon city, manila)

AFP Chief of Staff General Jessie Dellosa vowed that the military's performance would even be better in 2013.  He says, "We assure (the public) that we will never falter in our duties.  We have a strong and focused national leadership.  We have a decisive and a very supportive leadership at the national defense, the guidance they provide will certainly lead us to perform better ..."

Well, even military generals need some time-out to celebrate their birthdays, and so, here he is with his advanced birthday cake! Happy Birthday General!     

And while he was busy eating his cake, i snuck behind the General Jessie's desk for a quick photo op! hehe, joke!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

... dream analysis workshop / dreamwork in the philippines ... (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, quezon city, manila, philippines)

facilitating this workshop relived in me vivid memories of my wonderful stay in kerala, india way back in 2004.  why, you might ask?  well, in this workshop, participants were mostly indian nationals doing their graduate studies in clinical psychology.  

as a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, i always make sure to work on my clients' dreams whenever they're brought up.  dream analysis is sort of like a game for me, wherein i help my clients decode the personal meaning of their dreams.  i always get a kick out of witnessing their 'aha' moment as the meaning of their dream dawns on them.  

as shown below, we did a lot of fun dreamwork activities:

by the way, i identify myself as a dream analyst and NOT a dream interpreter.  a dream interpreter interprets dreams for the dreamer.  a dream analyst, on the other hand, assists the dreamer in interpreting his/ her own dream.  a dream analyst therefore shuns dream dictionaries, knowing that each symbol in a dream has personal meaning which only the dreamer knows.    

this dream analysis workshop ended with a cultural show which i so much enjoyed that it made me dream of going back to india someday, and hopefully, soon! 

nighty night and sweet dreams everyone!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

... abscbn: happy birthday everyone! ... (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, osteopath, quezon city, manila, philippines)

gladys reyes and ariel velasco of abscbn's umagang kay ganda asked me for sound bites about the new year!

i shared with them two of my favorites quotations.  one quotation is from the british essayist charles lamb who said, "New Year's Day is every man's birthday."  on a macro time frame, every new year we get to celebrate is a chance for us to start anew, to be reborn, to turn over a new leaf, to make it better this year around!

the other memorable quote is from tom cruise's movie, "vanilla sky," which says, "Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around."  on a micro time frame, at any specific time, we always have the power of choice to correct our mistakes or to overcome a weakness.

and here's my own little quote for you for the new year: work as if everything depended on you, but pray because everything really depends on God!  happy 2013 everyone!  

... tv5: on making new year's resolutions ... (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, quezon city, manila, philippines)

jc gotinga of tv5 news asked me about new year's resolutions.  

when people are asked what their new year's resolutions are, they'll most probably mention the same resolutions they've made in the past new years.  

in my practice as a life coach, these are the common resolutions i hear:

- be fit and healthy by losing weight, eating more healthy foods, sleeping on time, relaxing more, exercising, etc.

- get rid of unwanted habits, behaviors, or attitudes

- have a more balanced, enjoyable, or simple life

- learn something new 

- finally do what you've been putting off

be more organized with time and belongings

- pay off debts, spend less, and save more

- have better relations with family, friends, or co-workers

- start a new relationship

help others

- become more spiritual.

when people aren't able to accomplish their new year's resolutions, it's most probably because they didn't really make a plan for it to happen.  in other words, they just "wished" that their new year's resolutions would come true while exerting minimal or no effort.  

there really is no magic secret to attaining new year's resolutions, but there are some guidelines to follow to ensure our success.  most probably, you've heard of the SMART way of goal-setting.  here is my version of the acronym:

- S:  Specific goals, Strategy should comprise Small "baby" Steps.

- M: steps and goals should be Monitorable, gains should be Measurable.

- A: be Accountable to someone.  It helps that someone checks up on your progress.

- R:  your goal and strategies should be Realistic.

- T:  make a Time-frame (a schedule) for your goals and strategies.  

happy new year everyone! i'll be excitedly waiting to hear of your success stories for 2013!