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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Bohol fans remember Isabel Granada


Scene:  Angelica Panganiban and John Prats were spotted in Bohol last Friday, Nov. 10. They visited Bohol to shoot some scenes for ABS-CBN’s “Banana Sundae,” which will be aired on Nov. 19, after ASAP.  Panganiban and Prats were mobbed by fans as they visited the Loboc River, Panglao, Chocolate Hills and Sevilla Hanging Bridge.

Scene:  Environmental lawyer and triathlete Ingemar “Pinoy Aqumana” Macarine will attempt to swim from Pamilacan Island, Baclayon to Alona Beach in Panglao Island on Sunday, Nov. 12. This solo and unassisted swim which will promote clean seas and beaches is sponsored by the municipality of Panglao thru Mayor Nila Paredes-Montero and supported by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines -Bohol Chapter led by lawyer Warren Yap and Dagohoy Freemason Lodge No. 84 led by Worshipful Master lawyer Lord Cocot Marapao.  The 15-km swim will start at 5 a.m.  “This is part of my preparation for my last and final attempt to conquer the 21-Mile English Channel in August 2018,” said Macarine.

Scene:  “The Rise of the AMERICAN BULL-ANONS Invitational Show 2017”  on Sunday, Nov. 12 at the Bohol Wisdom Gymnasium. This event intends to unite dog lovers and enthusiasts in the province.  It is organized by Bol-anon Pitbulleros and Metropolitan Pitbull and Bully Club which committed to promote animal welfare and responsible pet ownership.

Friends and fans of singer- actress Isabel Granada were saddened of her death after she succumbed to brain hemorrhage due to aneurysm, a localized weakening of a blood vessel, in Qatar.  She was 41.

Fiel Angeli Araoarao-Gabin (extreme right) and her
sister Ann Claire Araoarao-Young come to see Isabel Granada
and her love team Rueben Manahan in 1992, the singer- actress’
 first visit to Bohol.

Her fans in Bohol remembered the singer-actress who visited Bohol thrice.

Fiel Angeli Araoarao-Gabin, 47, a fan of Granada, recalled that her first visit to Bohol was in July 1992 when she was invited to perform for the Sandugo Festival.

She was with her love team Rueben Manahan.  Her parents- Isabel Villarama, aka Mommy Guapa, and the late Huberto Granada accompanied her.

 “She was so sweet in person, buotan siya sa akong first impression,” said Gabin who came along with her sister Ann Claire Araoarao–Young to have photo ops with the singer-actress.

 “She had a strong Spanish features and long curly eyelashes,” recalled Gabin.

In 2015, Granada came back to Bohol for a holiday. Tessie Labunog-Sumampong said Granada was so accommodating to her fans when she had lunch at Cuisina ni Tisay in Carmen town in 2015.

She said her smile was infectious.

As the first Ever Bilena model, Granada came to Bohol to attend the event of Ever Bilena Cosmetics in 2016, according to Gabriel Medel, Ever Bilena-Tagbilaran manager.

Isabel Granada’s fans will never forget the singer-actress
who was admired both for her beauty and talent. (Clockwise)
Isabel Granada in Bohol with Gabriel Medel of Ever Bilena-Tagbilaran,
 Libby and Tessie Labunog-Sumampong of Cuisina ni Tisay
 and Engr. Jerome John Gabin of Department of
Trade and Industry-Bohol. Contributed Photos 
The cause of Granada’s death instantly brought public attention to the dangers of brain aneurysm.

Gabin, a Miss Tagbilaran 1987, hopes that Granada’s death could raise public awareness of aneurysm as well as funding for additional research.

“It’s shocking for people because we have our misconception that only those obsessed people are prone to this, but even those health-conscious people could die unexpectedly because of this,” said Gabin.

“There are diseases which could cause instant death even those who looked seemingly health or healthy buffs,” she added.

Granada rose to fame as part of the late ‘80s variety show That’s Entertainment hosted by the late German Moreno and had been visible in TV shows and movies.

Ultimate frisbee teams compete in
championship tournament in Bohol

Beryl Elizabeth Lupot on the successful 6th TARSIER ULTIMATE 2017:

Twenty four seasoned Ultimate Frisbee teams from all over Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao competed in the 6th TARSIER ULTIMATE 2017 which was held last Oct. 27-29.

Team Mohawks from Bohol  Contributed Photo
Last year’s champion, Mohawks Ultimate together with the other four teams from Bohol - Tarsier Ultimate, Mercenaries, Patapak Ultimate Doggs and the youngest Gladiators also participated in the event.

The Boholano players did not disappoint as they showcased their ultimate skills and gave the visiting teams a good run for their money, playing head to head with other great athletes with some of them from the national team.

The annual tournament is hosted every semestral break here in Bohol at the CPG Sports Complex Tagbilaran City and is looked forward to by everyone in the Philippine Ultimate Frisbee Community. This year has been the biggest so far with over 500 players participating in the 3-day tournament.

After the intense games, the participants were in for a treat when the awarding was held at the famous Alona Beach, side trips to the Chocolate Hills, Bilar Manmade forest, Alexis Cliff dive and other attractions where also part of the itinerary.

The players did not only come to Bohol for the games but also to see its world-famous beauty.

3 Duterte secretaries test New Bohol International Airport

A test flight has been carried out by three secretaries of the Duterte administration to evaluate the function of the New Bohol International Airport on the tourist-island last Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Secretaries Arthur Tugade of Transportation (DOTr), Ernesto Pernia of National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) and Leoncio Evasco took a private aircraft from Manila and landed safely at the Bohol International Airport at 10:05 a.m. on Panglao Island at least 18 km from the capital city of Tagbilaran.

After the coverage of the successful test flight at the
New Bohol International Airport, a lunch at Giuseppe Pizzeria
 and Silican Roast Italian Restaurant in Tawala, Panglao town
hosted by Bohol Tri-Media President and Loay Municipal
Councilor Engr. Tibss Bullecer.  With Bullecer are
Dave Responte (dyTR), Rey Tutas (dyRD) and your VRS

The aircraft flew back to Manila on Tuesday afternoon.

Tugade said they planned to start operations at the P7.8-billion facility in June 2018 .

“However, it will be commercially operational in August 2018,” said Tugade.

Once it becomes operational, the Tagbilaran Airport, the 11th busiest airport in the country, will immediately be closed.

Tugade said the test flight had successfully proven that the new airport met the standards for civil aviation.

He said the airport, which can accommodate large aircrafts for international flights, will be ready by August next year with day flights of international standard.

Other buildings now being constructed under the current project phase are the terminal building, control tower, administration building, fire station and ancillary buildings.

Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at leoudtohan@yahoo.com, follow leoudtohanINQ at Twitter /Facebook.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

CPG is the real ‘lodi’

For Adrian Clark Bandija delivering a poem on Saturday’s event was an “honor and privilege. “

Bandija delivered the poem, “Dalagang Pilipinhon” (Young Filipina/Filipina Maiden) during the 121st birth anniversary of the late Pres. Carlos Polestico Garcia held at the Bohol Cultural Center.

For his impressive rendition of “Dalagang Pilipinhon,”
immortalized by the late Pres. Carlos P. Garcia, Adrian Clark Bandija
wins in “Indigay sa Balak” Junior category.  Photo by Leo Udtohan
Garcia, who hailed from Talibon town, became the eighth president of the Philippines.

Bandija, 17, a student of Dr. Cecilio Putong National Hugh School, was the winner of “Indigay sa Balak” (Poetry Contest), one of the highlights of this year’s CPG Day. Other highlights include chess tournament and the opening of Cafe Caloy Coffee Shop.

Bandija said he memorized “Dalagang Pilipinhon” in just a week after he was told he would join the poetry contest held on Friday.

Garcia was known for his eloquence in writing and delivering balak (poems) during his time and earned the nickname as “Prince of Visayan Poets.”

In “Indigay sa Balak,” the contestants were given a contest piece, the “Dalagang Pilipinhon,” written by Garcia for the junior category.

Rogelio Pangiligan Jr  who wins in “Indigay sa Balak”
open category and as mambabalak (poet) with the board of judges
 Dr. Jes B. Tirol, Prof. Marianito Luspo and Mike Ligalig.
 Photo by Leo Udtohan 
On the other hand, for the open category, the contestant wrote his or her own piece in Visayan and must adhere to the topic about “makinasudnon” (patriotism).

11 participants have joined the “Indigay sa Balak” including  Bandija who captured the ethos of our times in verse. He was declared winner with P5,000 and trophy.

Rogelio Pangiligan Jr, 64, won against six other competitors for his graceful and impressive delivery of his poem “Padayon Kaliwat Bol-anon” for the open category. He received P5,000 and trophy.  He also won as magbabalak (poet) which he received another P5,000.

Pangiligan said he started writing Visayan poems when he was 51.

CPG is regarded as one of the greatest presidents. But what lessons does his life 121 years ago have for today's youth?

Reading a biography of CPG can give valuable life lessons for the younger generation of any era.

“President Carlos P. Garcia led with his heart, as well as his mind. That’s why he is a good example of leadership for today’s youth.  He is the real lodi (idol),” said Bandija.

Bandija said few millennials have shown interest in Visayan poems.

The contestants, trainers and coaches of this
year’s “Indigay sa Balak.” Photo by Leo Udtohan 
“I hope the contest will encourage young people to cultivate the arts of public speaking, debate and poetry in the vernacular kay karun nawala na halos,” he added.


Prof. Marianito Jose Luspo on CPG: 

Carlos Polestico Garcia was 4 years old when the Americans came and made the Philippine Islands a colony. He was therefore schooled under the American colonial system. Not surprisingly, like most of his contemporaries, CPG cultivated all his life a close regard for America. Still, CPG never lost his sense of patriotism. More importantly he became imbued with a strong sense of nationalism, that is, the attitude of putting his country's welfare over and above other countries'.

CPG's nationalism became more evident after the war. In the early 1950s, in the debates that culminated with the signing of the Laurel-Langley Agreement, CPG stood firmly alongside the brave few who agitated against granting Parity Rights to Americans under the Republic, as well as against allowing the operation of American military bases in the country, a stance that earned for CPG the enduring hostility and distrust of American politicians. 

Now it may be argued that CPG's nationalistic stance was merely in pursuance of the Nacionalista's opposition to the programs of the then ruling Liberal Party. But when he became President upon the untimely death of President Magsaysay in 1957, he distinguished his administration by continuing to pursue nationalist policies. 

Thus, in 1958, the Garcia administration succeeded in hitching the Bohlen- Serrano Agreement, an accord that reduced the stay of the US bases from the original 99 to a mere 25 years. It was also during CPG's term that the Bayanihan Dance Troupe first earned both international adulation as well as the sense of pride and appreciation by Filipinos in our local folk dances. This happened after government lent full support to Bayanihan's desire to perform at the 1958 World Expo then held in Belgium Also around this time, the Philippine government successfully negotiated with the US government for the return of documents seized by American troops during the Philippine-American War - the so-called Philippine Insurgent Records(PIR) , the magnetic lode of so many researchers who want to know more about our nation's historical past. 

But perhaps the greatest proof to CPG' commitment to nationalistic values is found in his Filipino First Policy, the definitive program that distinguished the Garcia Administration, outlining programs of governance aimed at putting the Filipino ahead of others in the economic, business and social fields of endeavors.

Recently, I have been asked why is it that CPG never became popular among our people( no Garcia portrait in Philippine currencies, no major Manila thoroughfare named in his honor, etc.), both before and even now among millennials, especially the Boholano kind. Perhaps one reason is that Nationalism during the time of Garcia had never been popular at that time. 

We have to admit that from the 1950's to well into our time, Filipinos have been notorious for the so -called "Stateside" mentality. 

How do you think Garcia's nationalistic policies be received by the PX generation? 

On the other hand, how would our present- day generation living under this prevailing climate called Globalization appreciate the rhetoric of Filipino First? In other words, the CPG legacy is saddled by the misfortune of having occurred at the wrong historical place and time, a beautiful song sung amidst the noise of adverse realities. 

Still today, we continue to remember his birthday not just because he happened to be one of ours, but also because this " one of ours", the Lone Blue Star in the Bohol flag, once gave our people a dream and a greater vision of ourselves as Boholanos, as Filipinos.

Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at leoudtohan@yahoo.com, follow leoudtohanINQ at Twitter /Facebook.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Real haunted places in Bohol

Scene:  Senior Girl Scout Nettel Peñaranda Cabalit, 14, and a Grade 8 learner of Tagbilaran Grace Christian School recently received the GSP’s Highest and Most Prestigious Award for having developed a sense of responsibility towards herself, and her community, and having worked determinedly on the Ecology Development Project when she spearheaded the construction of a concrete water tank as rain collector for the island folks of Mantatao, Calape, Bohol.  The project had been turned-over to the Barangay Captain Federico Flores last June this year. The 41st CGSM Awarding Ceremony was attended by the 735 awardees and the GSP national headquarter dignitaries, regional directors, council executives and troop leaders all over the country.  Cabalit together with her school field adviser and trainer,  Myrna Thea Garsuta-Hontanosas, received the Chief Girl Scout Medal, pin, and certificates at the Plenary Hall of the Philippine International Convention Center, Pasay City last October 20.  Cabalit is the eldest daughter of Noel and Nannette of Barangay Taloto this city. “I would like to thank everyone for all their help especially my family and relatives, my Troop Leader- Ma’am Thea, my school- TGCS and all the good people of Mantatao. Above all, to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, you are all part of my great success,” she said.

Girl Scout Nettel Cabalit with her school field adviser
 and trainer Myrna Thea Garsuta-Hontanosas. Contributed Photo
Scene:  The surgeons at Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH) were stepping up after some women went in for a routine checkup and were diagnosed with breast cancer. In an effort to help with their unexpected medical bills,  the surgeons hosted “Acoustic Night,” a benefit event last Oct. 26  held at Tablea de Maria Clara in Tagbilaran City.  The event featured the surgeons and volunteers!  The proceeds from the entire night donated to the Pink Fund to help the patients. 

Seen:  Spotted in Bohol last Saturday were celebrities Troy Montero and Aubrey Miles.

Bohol province seems to have its fair share of hauntings, and the villages where 11 Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)  members were killed in separate encounters in Bohol early this year offers some of the strongest chances for having a paranormal experience.

There are a number of famous locations where ghostly activity has been reported, as well as a few lesser known locations where residents have also reported unexplained occurrences.

The battlefield in Barangay Napo in Inabanga town is arguably the new haunted place in the province. It makes sense given its angry, bloody war history where the ASG members were killed by government troopers. 

There are stories of reported paranormal sightings here.

Some residents claimed seeing ghosts and shadows as well as heard agonizing screams from unseen beings.

The battle field where three of Abu Sayyaf members 
were killed in Barangay Caboy, Clarin town, which is now covered 
with tall grass and the coconut trees still carry the battle scars, has 
ghostly apparitions.  Photo by Leo Udtohan
The house which has bullet holes during the intense gunbattle still stands today, and locals claim to hear sounds of scratching coming from inside the walls. Residents have also reported screaming coming from inside the house as well as silhouettes of figures moving around, even though it's been vacant for months.

In Barangay Caboy in Clarin town, fear pushed residents to avoid the area where the bandit group had fallen due to alleged paranormal activities.

Cresencia Revilla, 86, and her sister Primitiva, 76, said their niece Antonia heard ghastly voices in the area.

The place is now covered with cogon grass although some coconut trees still carry their battle scars –. “Makadungog siya usahay, pasagdan ra niya (She heard ghostly voices, but she just ignored these),” said Primitiva.

Sometimes, she added, Antonia heard ghostly screams coming from the vacant lot especially during rainy days.

There were times that Antonio heard someone crying.

“Ingana tingali na kay wala pangajii (May be these happen because no one prayed for their souls),” said Cresencia.

 Primitiva said no one also dared to walk around the area after some residents reported sudden gush of cold area crawling their spines.

 In the hilly portion of Barangay Tinibgan in Calape, some residents claimed seeing strange flashes of light near at the graveyard where the two ASG members were buried.

Every year, come November 1 and 2, cemeteries all
over the country come to life when the living visit
their dead in what has come to be known traditionally
 for Filipinos as All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day.
  Photo by Leo Udtohan
The graveyards of the ASG members have become unwitting tourist attractions. Curious individuals flock to the public cemeteries of Inabanga, Clarin, Calape and Tagbilaran City to check out the unmarked gravesites of the 11 Abu Sayyaf members.

Some were also apprehensive that they might be mistaken as part of the Abu Sayyaf.

Only the grave of Joselito Melloria who brought the terrorists to Bohol was marked with a cross. The others didn’t even have a tombstone.

The graveyards in U-og Cemetery in Inabanga, Clarin and Calape had been covered with tall grasses and other plants.

In Tagbilaran City, the Marapao Street apparently has several ghostly residents. People share that they see “white ladies” and “pantasma”, a giant ghoul with chains on its arms and legs with fire and other strange creatures at night.

The Old Capitol building is also scary. Strange noises and infamous headless apparitions of priests are reported to be seen in this building.

It is believed that the headless ghosts and noises are from the priests and prisoners beheaded during World War II. Some workers say they don’t hear anything unusual, but no one works late.

The Binayran Road in barangay Dampas is said to be the most haunted road in Tagbilaran City. Drivers have reported everything from strangely dressed wanderers, to ghosts, to phantom vehicles that chase them to its end.

Habal-habal (motorcycle for rent) drivers have already encountered “agta” and big black dog including this woman who would walk to the middle of the road to stop a passing vehicle. Naturally, a driver would stop to avoid hitting her. She would then ask to be brought to the water reservoir, but would disappear before getting there.

The tragedy that took place years ago where a family died has contributed to its haunted reputation. Strange sights and sounds are reported at the crime scene. 

Schools in Tagbilaran especially those that have seen and survived the war have stories of haunting.  And most of the schools in Tagbilaran City were built on what used to be cemetery grounds.

Students and teachers often report sudden cold chills, odors with no discernible origin, phantom footsteps, and strange apparitions at Dr. Cecilio Putong National High School.

An unidentified girl showed up in a photo taken inside the classroom, no one can identify the blurry girl who appeared in the photo.  Some students and teachers claim to hear basketballs bouncing against the court and hoards of people cheering, but when they peer into the gymnasium... no one is there. The Imelda Building is famous for the apparition of the white ladies and duwendes. Until now, stories of strange apparitions and aromatic smell coming out of nowhere are consistently reported.

Sightings of the mysterious headless nun are reported by students and teachers of the abandoned Holy Spirit School.  Early morning joggers say that you can hear people inside the elementary building though clearly nobody is inside and all lights are off. A mysterious headless nun is said to haunt near the library.

There were also reported appearances of a white and red ladies at University of Bohol. Ghosts and wailing voices are heard from the school’s ST Building.

The Holy Name University in Lessage Street was famous for “ghostly apparitions” before it was abandoned.  Since, the school was demolished, the mysterious lady at the 4th floor and the giant dog were roaming around perhaps looking for a place to stay!

In Inabanga town, the Macaban Cave is known as the city of supernatural beings or engkantos.

Stories of angry spirits, unexplained orbs, pantasma and black ladies are reported along the national highway on Barangay Pig-ot in Loon town. The hilly part of the said barangay is a public market and a cemetery of the engkantos.


Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at leoudtohan@yahoo.com, follow leoudtohanINQ at Twitter /Facebook.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Boholanos remember devastating quake 4 years ago

Scene: Who will be this year's ICM Glamorous Prince and Princess? Find out on Sunday, October 22, 3 p.m.

Scene:  From Ariel E. Fullido:  Angelina Cruz Montano, a Universal Records artist, ASAP performer, Careline model, and the celebrity daughter of Cesar Montano and Sunshine Cruz, will perform together with CenterStage band in the Search for Miss Interschool Personality 2017 of Mabini, this coming Sunday evening, October 29, at the town center. Sponsors of the event are ELGS, A & A Original Organic Red Wine, 4Life, Ms. Josen Cesar; and Purok Kamansi of Poblacion, Mabini, through its president, Danny Cellan, and organizer/adviser, Jericho Vergara.

Angelina Cruz Montano Contributed Photo
Scene: Clement Ingking shares this story: An elephant and a dog became pregnant at same time. Three months down the line the dog gave birth to six puppies. Six months later the dog was pregnant again, and nine months on it gave birth to another dozen puppies. The pattern continued. On the eighteenth month the dog approached the elephant questioning, "Are you sure that you are pregnant? We became pregnant on the same date, I have given birth three times to a dozen puppies and they are now grown to become big dogs, yet you are still pregnant. What’s going on?" The elephant replied, "There is something I want you to understand. What I am carrying is not a puppy but an elephant. I only give birth to one in two years. When my baby hits the ground, the earth feels it. When my baby crosses the road, human beings stop and watch in admiration, what I carry draws attention. So what I'm carrying is mighty and great.". Don't lose faith when you see others achieving their success! Don't be envious of others results. If you haven't received your success, don't despair. Say to yourself "My time is coming, and when it hits the surface of the earth, people shall yield in admiration."

The provincial government of Bohol has been awarded as the “Most Business Friendly Local Government Unit” among all provinces in the Philippines, conferred by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and handed over by President Rodrigo Duterte during the 43rd Philippine Business Conference and Expo at Manila Hotel last Oct. 19.

“Among all the provinces, there were 14 finalists and Bohol was declared top! No second nor third! Only one,”  Balilihan Mayor Pureza Chatto posted on Facebook.

Last Sunday, Boholanos paused to reflect on a devastating 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck the province on Oct. 15, 2013, destroying scores of structures, killing at least 200 of people, injuring at least 800, and displacing more than 300,000 survivors.

At 8:12 a.m., residents of this city observed a minute of silent prayer as church bells tolled to mark the fourth anniversary of the quake that devastated the province in 2013.

Some of the kids who are part of The Art Nouveau Models
 are joining this year’s ICM Glamorous Prince and Princess.  
Contributed Photo
The commemoration struck a somber note and also emphasized deeply entrenched grief and trauma of the disaster.

Some said they couldn’t believe four years had passed since the tragedy that to many still felt like it had happened “just yesterday.”

In Tagbilaran City, a Mass was celebrated at the St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral by Tagbilaran Bishop Emeritus Leonardo Medroso of the Diocese of Tagbilaran.

In his homily, Medroso asked the parishioners to pray for one another.

“We asked his grace to look forward for better things,” he said. “But the better thing is to have that spirit to accept good things that come from God and also to accept whatever calamity that come to our lives… that power of charity, the power of love.”

After the Mass, Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto gave his message. He said that the earthquake allowed Boholanos to deepen their faith in God as they helped each other.

Chatto told VRS later that the recovery of the province was almost complete.

“We are very inspired with the recovery of the province of Bohol and its entirety,” Chatto said. “Generally, all the agencies that have committed their contribution in the quick rehabilitation of the province had delivered their 90 percent, 95 percent, and 100 percent.”

The collapsed facade of the Holy Trinity Church in Loay
 town after an earthquake in 2013 and finally 
it was restored after four years.  Photos by Leo Udtohan
Although he said certain agencies were able to achieve only 80 percent rehabilitation.

“The gaps that have identified have been quickly addressed with these agencies,” Chatto said. “We are not done with the whole process of the recovery, but definitely we are moving very, very quickly.”

Chatto said that some of the provincial statistics in the tourist arrival and business investments showed very good signs of the recovery of the province.

Several activities were also held in different towns on Sunday.

The Holy Trinity Church in Loay was formally turned over to local authorities on Sunday morning.

The 1855 Provincial Capitol Building, which was built in stone and lime as tribunal and garrison, was also restored and a soft opening was held Sunday afternoon. It took four years to restore it to make sure that the structure would not only regain its original form but would also be disaster-resilient.

In Maribojoc, local officials and residents gathered to commemorate the quake in synch with the 157th anniversary of the foundation of the town. A portion of a mountain in Maribojoc, which was scarred by the quake, was visible from the gymnasium where the event was held.

“The people have recovered from the tragedy,” Mayor Gumersindo Arocha said. “They have their own houses from the government.”

The families also visited cemeteries to remember those who had lost their lives.

Every Oct. 15, since the date of the deadliest earthquake, the Somoros and Empinados families would visit the Bayong Falls in Sagbayan town where their five children were buried.

“I’ll visit this place every year for the rest of my life,” Genara Somoro said.

“This is where I remember my children and this is where I get my strength. I will never forget,” she added.

The Barace family in Antequera town also visited the public cemetery to pay homage to their four family members who were all swallowed by a giant crack in the ground.

Full recovery will take awhile longer.


Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at leoudtohan@yahoo.com, follow leoudtohanINQ at Twitter /Facebook.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The floating umbrellas of Getafe; Boholano hailed as hero in Las Vegas shooting

Scene: Dismissed police officer Maria Cristina Brugada Nobleza  and her husband Reener Lou Dongon who were linked to the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) appeared in court on Friday morning to attend the arraignment of charges filed against them. But they were not able to enter their plea before Judge Jorge Cabalit of RTC Branch 48 in Tagbilaran City due to their pending motion to dismiss the illegal possession of firearms and explosives filed against them. Nobleza wore a hijab, a veil traditionally worn by Muslim women, while Dongon who sported a long hair was clad in a grey hood. Both appeared thinner and paler compared to their previous court appearances. Sarah Soriano-Hermida, Nobleza’s lawyer, said Nobleza has been suffering from eye problem-headaches and blurred vision, while Dongon was also suffering from mouth and head pain due to his dental braces.

Scene:  A hired consultant (HC) of a popular town tendered her resignation after she has a rift with the leader of the place (LOTP). HC posted on Facebook that someone insulted her to the nth degree by expecting her to be a part to such lies and deception.  HC said she was not just a teacher, a parent, an educator but also because her name means truth. HC said she was harassed by the constant calls and texts by the mother earth (ME) who copied her ideas.  HC retracted the entry she had written as attempted identity theft.  LOTP who posted on Facebook that HC is suffering a mental problem. LOTP said HC has no right to demoralize people and destroy the program.

Tourists are coming to Getafe town, Bohol, to see
the floating umbrellas. Leo Udtohan
Scene: The 4th Panubig Festival in Pilar town last Oct. 11.  Five contingents drew cheers as they danced in honor to Nuestra Señora del Pilar or Our Lady of the Pillar, the town’s patroness. Many members of the audience came all the way from neighboring towns to share in the celebration. The air was expectedly both festive and celebratory. After all, it was Pilar’s Panubig Festival 2017. “This festival is giving honor to Our Lady of Pillar for the good harvest, for the blessings, for the manpower and labor,” said Butch Bernas, Ph.D., the founder of Panubig.  The event was hosted by Inday Rufing.

Scene:  With a minute of silence, tolling bells and prayers, Bohol on Sunday will mark the fourth anniversary of the magnitude 7.2 earthquake which brought Bohol province to its knees.

At least 1,200 umbrellas are hoisted high above the town plaza of Getafe, 92 kms from the capital city of Tagbilaran, providing shade and an amazing sight.

When looking up from the ground the parasols appear to be floating all on their own. A thin string runs between the umbrellas- red, green, blue and yellow- in order to hold them up.

When it was introduced to the crowd last week, it draws hundreds who come to the town to enjoy the sights which is similar to the hundreds floating umbrellas in a street in Agueda, Portugal.

“The umbrellas are so beautiful and attractive,” said Edralenn Torreon, 13. “And the only in Bohol,” she added.

Erstwhile provincial board member Ma. Fe Camacho-Lejos, now the Sangguniang Bayan secretary, said people have enjoyed the excitement of the umbrella canopies which brings a refreshing pop of diversity and color to the area.

If you are visiting the town of Getafe, above your
 head floats an array of brightly colored umbrellas. Leo Udtohan
The idea of introducing a canopy of colorful parasols was part of the town’s 143rd founding anniversary.

However, the floating umbrellas would stay there for good.

Mayor Casey Shaun Camacho said he plans to add LED lights for the umbrellas to glow at night especially for Christmas.

Getafe is home of the largest man-made mangrove forest in Asia found in the island-barangay Banacon.

Maquindang of Loboc town hailed as a hero in Las Vegas shooting

Tales of heroism have emerged in the aftermath of the Las Vegas mass shooting, which left 58 people dead and more than 500 injured.

One of those hailed as a hero was 66-year-old Bohol native Winifredo Balbido Maquindang, a taxi driver in Las Vegas just four days on the job.

Maquindang loaded six wounded victims in his taxi and took them to the hospital, speeding through red lights to make sure they got treated as soon as possible.

Maquindang, who was on his fourth day working for  Yellow Checker Star Transportation, one of Nevada state’s largest taxi companies, said he decided to wait for fares in front of Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino during the Oct. 1 music festival.

Suddenly he heard a series of explosions that sounded like fireworks.

“We are used to fireworks here in Vegas,” Maquindang said.

He later realized that these were not fireworks as shards of glass rained down on the street from an upper floor of the hotel.

Winifredo Balbido Maquindang (extreme right)
 with Delfin Sumampong and Tani and May Balbido in the US. 
Contributed Photo
As Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, opened fire on the crowd of 22,000 people attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival, many became too frightened to move.

Maquindang saw some concertgoers so scared that they did know know what to do.

When a stampede broke out, he said he saw bodies on the ground amid deafening screams and cries.

Maquindang said he packed six who were injured in his taxi, which normally carries four passengers, and sped away to Sunrise Hospital about 6 kilometers away, never stopping for a red light.

“Two of them were in serious condition because they were hit by bullets in the back and in the neck,” he said.

He thought of returning to the site to ferry more people to the hospital but he worried about what his boss might say and the possible damage his cab might sustain during the chaos. So he decided to go home instead.

Six days later, Maquindang said he still didn’t know what happened to the people he took to the hospital.
“I don’t have time yet but I like to visit them to know their condition,” he said.

Maquindang, who hailed from Poblacion Sawang in Loboc town in Bohol province, has been living in United States for 47 years.

His family lives in Los Angeles, California, where he also drove a taxi, but he relocated to Las Vegas after he was hired by the taxi company.

Maquindang was hailed among the heroes of America’s worst mass shooting in recent years.

His daughter, Alyssa Mae, proudly posted her father’s heroic deed on Facebook.

“My dad was caught in the middle of the shooting in Las Vegas. Even though I know he's safe, watching this video of him with all the gunshots in the background scares me so much. He was working that night by Mandalay Bay and transported those who were wounded to the hospital. So thankful he's safe and proud of him for saving lives. Love you Dad,” she said.

But for Maquindang, he was just doing the right thing.

“Basta makatabang lang ta sa atong isigkatawo” he said.

Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at leoudtohan@yahoo.com, follow leoudtohanINQ at Twitter /Facebook.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

20,000 LED roses and tulips ‘grow’ in Bohol town

Jardin Necitas has been deliberately designed and “planted” to engage the emotions in a powerful way that evokes feelings of passion, love and intimacy.- Leo Udtohan

PILAR, Bohol-  Soon-to-be-married couple are on their way to forever on Oct. 28.

But for Leomando Diño, 32, and Rosemary Buaya, 27, they decided to have a pre-nuptial pictorial in landmarks in Bohol that have their own beautiful charms that will illuminate their pre-wedding photo album.

The Jardin Necitas Pilar Glowing Garden is now the 
choice of many couples for their pre-nuptial 
weddings since Jardin Necitas has been deliberately 
designed and “planted” to engage the emotions in a 
powerful way that evokes feelings of passion, love 
and intimacy.  Courtesy: Budz and Bags
They chose Jardin Necitas Pilar Glowing Garden in Pilar town as one of the iconic places as backdrops that can bring more life and different kinds of feelings to their pre-wedding pictures.

“It is very colorful, blooming, inspiring and romantic,” said Rosemary.

 “The view and the flowers took my breath away. It’s more romantic if you’re holding hands with the love of your life,” said Leomando.

Police officers Leomando Diño and 
Rosemary Buaya have their prenuptial
 pictorial at Bohol’s newest attraction- 
the Jardin Necitas Pilar Glowing Garden, 
a garden filled with thousands of faux flowers
 that light up at nightfall to bring life 
to their pre-wedding photo album.  
 Courtesy: Budz and Bags
The couple who are police officers were dating for five years before getting hitched.  They were the first couple to have their pre-nup pictorial taken at the glowing garden since its opening last Sept. 27 which the social media was abuzz over the weekend.
Located in a hilltop in Barangay Bagumbayan, Jardin Necitas Pilar Glowing Garden offers a scenic view of the mountain ranges of Ubay and Mabini towns and has a front yard that has thousands of plastic roses and tulips that light up at nightfall.

This place is adorned with 15,000 multi-colored tulips and 5,000 red and white roses made of plastic, with a steel bar to serve as a stem for the flowers to stand on.

At the entrance, visitors will enjoy taking “selfies” and “groupies” with 55 LED-light cherry blossoms and animals such as swans and flamingos.

The center has flowers arranged to shape like an “I”, heart and “U” to spell “I Love You.”

Another visitor, Helen Alagadmo, was enjoying clicking her camera at the glowing garden.  She said she would like to visit Dongdaenum Design Plaza in South Korea and the 10,000 White Roses & More in Cordova in Cebu.

But Helen said she changed her mind not to go to Korea and Cebu since roses have “grown” in the little island of Bohol.

Genellie Inting- Calipes, 34, brought her family and friends to see the glowing garden even it was 76 kms from the capital city of Tagbilaran.

Genellie like other visitors went to the garden at day time and waited until night time to see the flowers  burst into a sea of brilliance against the dark night.

“The garden is beautiful. I was amazed to see the glowing flowers and it relieved my stress,” said Genellie, a Filipino teacher at Dr. Cecilio Putong National High School in the city.

Many visitors find the garden intrinsically romantic and offer pretty pictures in all directions. After all, Jardin Necitas has been deliberately designed and “planted” to engage the emotions in a powerful way that evokes feelings of passion, love and intimacy.

But who is Necitas? 

Necitas, of course, is incumbent Pilar Mayor Necitas Cubrado.

Her daughter Vanessa brought the artificial roses and tulips to her hometown.

Vanessa, 32, said the artificial flowers are LED-lighted and are spread across a 2,000 square meter area at a hilltop lot in Purok 5, Barangay Bagumbayan.

Vanessa Cubrado ‘plants’ 20,000 LED-lighted 
flowers in Bohol, the first and only in the province.
Courtesy: Jardin Necitas Pilar Glowing Garden 
The Jardin Necitas is open from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. Entrance fee is at P30 for adults and kids to help maintain and clean the surroundings.

Would-be couples who intend to have their pre-nuptial photos taken in the garden can do so for a fee of P1,000.

The entire project was completed within two months and an estimated P10 million was spent for its construction, Vanessa said.

Vanessa said it was not really planned.  She just grabbed the proposal of her friend at MyLedOpto which is responsible for glowing gardens in the country. 

She said most of their visitors are locals and tourists coming from Manila although there are various nationals in the garden.

“I didn’t expect it will be a huge hit in Bohol as the first and only glowing garden. I think I was really into tourism and boasting the tourism of Pilar especially the 3rd district (of Bohol).  I was thinking it would be of big help,” Vanessa said.

At night, the beauty of the 20,000 roses and 
tulips sparkles when these are lighted at Jardin
 Necitas Pilar Glowing Garden in Bohol province.
 Leo Udtohan


The establishment which opened last Sept. 27 drew 5,000 visitors. From that day, many visitors frequent the place to have their pictures taken.

There is a small cafe which is offers food and refreshments to visitors who just want to relax while taking the scenic views.

Vanessa said her family plans to open a resort to accommodate visitors.

Visitors can take a bus or van (GT Express) at Dao Terminal in Tagbilaran City but make it sure to arrange a pick-up for your way back to the city.  If you own a private vehicle, you can drive your way to the glowing garden for at least 2 hours. 


Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at leoudtohan@yahoo.com, follow leoudtohanINQ at Twitter /Facebook.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Tourist driver to file case against Bohol cops

PANGLAO, Bohol—Police here said that the allegation of the tourist driver Jeffrey Galon Sarabia that he was beaten by a police using a baseball bat inside the police station was just a drama.

“Drama lang na niya para makakuha siya og simpatiya (It is his drama to get sympathy),” said PO1 Mark Yana, desk officer of the Panglao Police Station.

“During that time nakadungog man siya sa biktima kadtong taga DepEd staff nga eager mo-file og kaso against niya. Siguro naghimo-himo lang siya ana diversion or rason para para makuha ng simpatiya sa biktima (During that time, Sarabia heard that the victim who was a DepEd staff was eager to file a case against him. That’s why he made it, a diversion or reason to get sympathy from the victim),” Yana added.

Yana said Sarabia was a suspect in a case of theft based on their witnesses—the DepEd employees.

Sarabia, 36, a tourist driver, was with three employees of the Department of Education (DepEd) who went to Panglao Central School to conduct validation last Sept. 20 at past 4 p.m.

The victim (who asked for anonymity) said she left her bag at the vehicle parked near the town plaza. While waiting, Sarabia amused himself watching basketball at the town plaza that he forgot to lock the van.

After 30 minutes, when employees returned to the vehicle, they discovered that the things inside the van were scattered. One of the employees lost her P2,500 cash.

Sarabia admitted that it was his fault and told the employee that he will pay the P2,500 when they returned to Tagbilaran City. However, they decided to blotter the incident at the Panglao Police Station.

In a statement by the Panglao Police Station on Monday, it said the victim and her two other colleagues conducted inquiry in the area but a reliable source told them that Sarabia did not come down from the vehicle.

“At that time the victim confronted the driver suspecting that he was the one responsible in stealing her money. The commotion happened in the area and both were advised by the responding officers to settle their problem at (the) Panglao PNP station,” the statement said.

But the two DepEd employees said there was no commotion ever happened.

The statement added “at the station the victim narrated the incident and the same was recorded in the police blotter. Jeffrey’s name and the personal circumstances were taken for recording purposes. After the victim manifested that she was still undecided to pursue her complaint, the victim and the suspect left our office. That is why our office wonders on how it could happen that Jeffrey alleges that he was mauled while at Panglao Police station.”

Jeffrey Sarabia said he was beaten by a policeman using a baseball bat. 
However, the DepEd employees said they left for Tagbilaran and left Jeffrey at the police station since they were told by police that Sarabia had to stay for some interrogation.

“Ming-una mi og lakaw unya nagpabilin si Jeffrey sa police station. Wala nako kahibaw unsay nahitabo (We didn’t know what happened since we left him at the police station),” she said.

She also clarified she was not willing to file a complaint since she didn’t know who took her money.

Sarabia said he was brought by PO1 Heracleo Padillo Jr. to the second floor of the station. He was told to undress and he was beaten using a baseball bat in his left thigh that caused bruises.

According to Sarabia, another police who was not wearing his uniform, told him to admit that he stole the money.

“Ug dili nimo iuli ang kuwarta madugangan ang imong kaso, planteran ka nako og duha ka putos karun (If you will not return the money there will be another case against you since we can plant two pieces of (shabu) now,” said Sarabia who quoted the police.

Sarabia was diagnosed with hematoma or soft tissue contusion based on a medical certificate.

Yana insisted that there was no mauling happened. And for Sarabia’s bruise, he said Sarabia invented stories.

“Walay nahitabo nga pangbun-og ug pamunal kay diri raman sila sa lobby (No mauling happened because they were only at the lobby [of the police station]),” he said.

Sarabia said the incident was still rankling in his mind it had been six days since he was beaten.

“Wala ko namakak ug maggama-gama og estorya. Manghinaot ko mugawas ra ang kamatuoran para matagaan ang hustisya sa nahitabo nako (I didn’t lie or invent stories. I hope the truth will come out so that I can attain justice),” he said.

Sarabia said he will be filing charges against Padillo and three policemen this week.


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