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IBP Iloilo Buddha laugh

By Pet Melliza/The Beekeeper

One thing that makes me thankful for having gone to Davao City to attend the 14th national convention and 40th anniversary fete of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), January 16-18, is Dr. Jaime Z. Galvez-Tan for his lecture on keeping ourselves fit and healthy.
I must confess that most lectures by lawyers bored me; at times the acoustics worsened them. Yours truly is not alone though in that perception.
My seat mate Atty. Jonel Alipao would invite me: “ ‘Ta, libot-libot ta anay. Kataraka lecture, ah. Mabalik ta lang kon pirmahany ron kang MCLE attendance. (Come let’s walk around. The lectures are boring. Let’s go back only when our MCLE attendance sheets are signed.)
MCLE stands for “mandatory and continuing legal education” which most lawyers I know of wish abolished for being what it is: ineffectual.
The convention hall, 3rd floor of SMX at Lanang district, Davao City had 3,000 plus strong delegates seated or milling around. The lectures of the resource persons got more incomprehensible as the volume of voices from the floor increased. A panel separated the lecture hall from the bazaar of kiosks selling law books, souvenirs that ranged from indigenous fabrics to IBP memorabilia.
The bazaar and other IBP-initiated businesses like issuance of ID cards, raffle tickets, are unavoidable distractions competing with the lectures. The unwritten rule that one can skip the lectures so long as he or she is at the bazaar for whatever reason, aptly works to excuse truancy.
When my seatmate grumbled the lectures bored him to death, I got his message: it’s time to roam around the mall for window shopping, or to the IBP bazaar, and even down to “Marinatuna” at the second floor for a taste of tuna and beer.
Nevertheless, I have no regrets having exerted efforts to stay put and listen to the lectures because one of these turned out to be a gem: Dr. Galvez-Tan’s simple pointers on how to deal with stress.
The tips are doable – like stretching the joints every morning, a few minutes of silence as we breath in and out to relax and oxygenate our bodies and, still among others, doing the “Buddha laugh”.
The laughing Buddha with open palms face up, popular in China and Japan, according to Dr. Galvez-Tan, is done by unleashing the loudest laugh, standing upright gradually lowering the body until one squats or rolls on the ground.
Dr. Galvez-Tan not only demonstrated it but also had delegates laugh their hearts out. We hesitated initially, started off with artificial laughter. Soon we just let go of our inhibition and roared in real laughter from the belly.
Galvez-Tan advises us to do the belly laugh daily. Now that we are back to work, we are yet to repeat the exercise. People might brand  us nuts. Perhaps, the IBP Iloilo Chapter through its president, Paulino “Boy” Salmon, form an “IBP Laughing Club” as part of a sports event of which the chapter is known for – basketball, billiard, cheese, badminton, tennis, etc.
Stress is associated with and considered precursor if not the cause of a host of diseases, especially life-threatening ones like hypertension, heart ailment, ulcer, cancer, diabetes, not to mention psycho-social problems.
Laughter, according to Dr. Galvez-Tan releases “healing hormones” like endorphins and neorotransmitters. These good enzymes together with other laughter by-products like anti-body producing cells, boosts the body’s immune system. Further, the “soldiers” in our body defense, the T-cells, are strengthened by laughter.
Laughter reduces “stress hormones,” enzymes produced by worry or depression, like cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline), dopamine and growth hormones.
Lawyers who listened to Dr. Galvez-Tan and performed the “Buddha laugh” suggest of forming groups to laugh their hearts out for health and longevity.
IBP-Iloilo chapter is replete with cases of untimely deaths among its members which could have been avoided by simple yet effective tools of stress management. The sudden demise of colleagues is much talked around and this space needs not belabored its details to spare the survivors the grief of being reminded of their irreparable losses.
Atty. Boy Salmon is doing well in beefing up sports activities. May we suggest, too, that the “Budda laugh” be included in the program.

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