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Monday, August 30, 1999 Published at 17:10 GMT 18:10 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

The Philippines' singing president

President Estrada (left) is presented with a CD for posterity

Actor-turned-president Joseph Estrada has added musician to his list of talents.

The Philippines president has recorded a ballad he wrote 31 years ago.

The musical president gave a live performance of the song on Sunday, accompanied by a 72-piece orchestra, as he serenaded nearly 1,000 people at a fund raising dinner in Manila.

Jonathan McLean in Manila reports on the singing president
The song, called Endure I Will, was reputedly written when the young politician was despondent because he thought he had lost a local election. After penning the song he was told he had won the poll.

Close friend

The words were set to music by Mr Estrada's close friend and one of the country's famous musicians, the late Ernani Cuenco.

[ image: President Ramos (right) and President Jiang Zemin sing together in 1996]
President Ramos (right) and President Jiang Zemin sing together in 1996
But the song, along with other works by some of Philippines leading musicians, will not be commercially available.

Instead the CD collection will be given to diplomats and visiting dignitaries.

Mr Estrada recorded his song in two sessions at the Presidential Palace, record company executive Tito Ty said.

He said there had been no problems with the recording because Mr Estrada was very professional.

Select band

Mr Estrada's immediate predecessor President Fidel Ramos also turned singer during his term in office. In 1996 he and visiting Chinese President Jiang Zemin sang together.

Concert conductor Ryan Cayabyab compared Mr Estrada to internationally famous crooners. "He sings like Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin. The feeling is very true."

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