Joey Lina has spent many years as a public servant and continues to work in the service industry as president of Manila Hotel.
A lawyer by profession, Lina also loves to sing — a passion he first tried to pursue in his teens, but had to abandon because he couldn’t afford to buy a uniform for his college glee club.
But now, whenever the opportunity arises, Lina obliges to flex his vocal pipes, like in “The Greatest Love of All,” a dinner benefit show on Feb. 9 at the Tent City in Manila Hotel to counter malnutrition among children.
Presented by the Manila Hotel in partnership with the Children’s First One Thousand Days Coalition (CFDC), the concert is also headlined by former Press Secretary Atty. Mike Toledo and former Executive Secretary Atty. Salvador Medialdea. Other performers are Beverly Salviejo, Nina Campos, Jenny Sugay, Rachelle Rule, Rachel Verns, Pam Esquivel, Bobby Alvarez, Egay Rubiano, Jeffrey Panado, Egay Banaag, and the Adeodatus Children’s Choir (Baseco) with Manila Philharmonic Orchestra.
Rodel Colmenar leads the music direction, with George Sison-Tagle while Paul Dizon supervising the overall direction of the concert.
SoundStrip had a recent email chat with Lina, who says his musical influences are Andrea Bocelli, Il Divo, and Martin Nievera.
You’ve been president of The Manila Hotel for something like 17 years, right? What has been the worst challenge you have hurdled so far, and what keeps you going?
The COVID-19 pandemic was the worst challenge. The hotel was closed for a long time. We, however, met the challenge head-on and survived. Thank God.
What’s the hotel’s average occupancy rate, and which are its majority clientele — tourists or business executives?
In 2023, our hotel room occupancy rate was 70 percent. Majority are local tourists and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) participants.
What’s your regular day like, and how do you unwind?
I start with a prayer upon waking up, have breakfast and then exercise. I leave my home at 7:30 a.m. and arrive at the office by 8:30 a.m. for the daily operations meeting.
You’re known to be a good singer. Take us back to your earliest memory of getting into music.
I wanted to sing while in high school, but I was too involved in many extra-curricular activities. I was still interested when I got to college. Unfortunately, the glee club that I joined required us to have our own uniforms, but I could not afford it, so I had to quit.
Where do you love to listen to music — at home, in the car, or in a public place like a bar?
At home so I can savor and feel the music.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Andrea Bocelli, Il Divo, Martin Nievera.
Who do you think is the greatest singer of all time, and why?
I don’t consider anyone as the greatest. But Matt Monroe and Andrea Bocelli stand out.
You’re performing in a benefit concert to address malnutrition dubbed “The Greatest Love of All” on Feb. 9 at the Tent City in Manila Hotel. How did the project come about?
I’ve been doing several dinner benefit concerts for a cause since 2003. The desire to hold this “Greatest Love of All” show is to raise funds for the First One Thousand Days of Life Nutrition Program. The country faces a bleak future if our children suffer malnutrition during their first 1,000 days from conception to their second birthday.
Science has shown the dire consequences of malnutrition among people in that period of 1,000 days: prone to illnesses, low IQ, poor school performance and low productivity.
Give us a teaser on what to expect at the show.
I am going to sing an original composition I co-wrote with my nephew.
Do you still have plans of running for public office?