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Friday, October 9, 2015

Will Mayor Evasco, Tessie run in 2016?

Nestor Pestelos is Rappler’s
 Enterprise Mover. 
Photo Courtesy: Alecs Ongcal/Rappler
Scene:  Poet and community organizer Nestor Pestelos is Rappler’s The Enterprise Mover awardee. As president of the Bohol Local Development Foundation, he launched the Bohol Quake Assistance Fund Drive to help families who were homeless by the strong earthquake. "This award will inspire our young volunteers and fieldworkers to work harder to expand our current work," he told Rappler after accepting the award on Sept 26 at the World Resorts Manila. The Move Awards is Rappler’s first effort to celebrate those who actively campaign and move for social change.
Barely eight days to the deadline of COC (Certificate Of Candidacy) this month, Tessie Labunog-Sumampong is pestered with the question…is she really running for  councilor of Loboc?
 “I’m not sure,” Tessie told VRS.
She was offered to run for councilor in the past elections, confessed Tessie, “but I still have to think. Basically, ’m not interested. I’m not into politics.”
Tessie Labunog –Sumampong (with hubby Libby) of Cuisina ni
is not giving any last word to run for councilor in Loboc.
 Contributed Photo
Neither is Tessie saying if her hubby Libby will run for councilor in 2016, but if he does, Tessie said that she will support him all the way.
She also said she is busy for Cuisina ni Tisay (inside the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park in Carmen town), which offers authentic Boholano cuisines.
 In the meantime, Tessie said she doesn’t let herself be distracted by the 2016 to-do.
Meanwhile, amidst the noise about his being drafted or invited to run for Governor or Representative, Maribojoc Mayor Leoncio Evasco, Jr remains, believe it or not, un-flattered, unmoved and unaffected.
Now on his third and last term as Maribojoc mayor, Evasco has no ample time to decide whether to file his COC for a higher position.
“Mudagon ko governor sa Lion’s Club,” he said with a laugh.
Maribojoc Mayor Leoncio Evasco, Jr to run for a higher position?
Only time can tell.
Lower or higher position?
“Lower house,” he laughed again.
Only time can tell.
Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at leoudtohan@yahoo.com, follow leoudtohan at Twitter /Facebook.

AlDub vs Pastillas unstoppable

Like millions of Filipinos around the world, we are also crazy about AlDub and Pastillas Girl.
AlDub is the daily kalyeserye romance portion involving split-screen lovers Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza as Yaya Dub. Its “love from a distance” tale has captured the hearts of the viewers, including yours truly, who was bitten by Eat Bulaga’s AlDub bug two month ago.
Then, amid Eat Bulaga’s surging ratings owing to AlDub’s success, the rival show It’s Showtime came up with its own kiligserye featuring Angelica Yap, who was known online for her viral video of “bitter” pastillas recipe. She first appeared in the show asking Vice Ganda’s alter ego Madame Vertud for advice on how to move on after she was ditched by her boyfriend for her best friend.
Analyn Pollenza-Arbilo and her colleagues at the Philippine Port Authority unabashedly showed how gigil they were about the AlDub love team. All eyes are glued on Eat Bulaga’s kalyeserye.
Student and peanut vendor Roniel Villanueva shared he is an AlDub fan, while his sister Renelyn is a fan of Pastillas Girl.
Analyn, Roniel and Reselyn are up-to-date with the free-flowing AlDub romance and Pastillas heartaches.
AlDub or Pastillas Girl?
Anthony Aniscal shared he likes Pastillas Girl. “She is beautiful.”
“I rarely watch them pero I’ll choose Pastillas because it is a hard process of fixing and closing your pasts relationship and past issues before opening your heart for the next chapter of lovelife,” said Ferome Almine.
“AlDub because I found it funnier compared to Pastillas,” said Hazel Panlita. “I’m not being judgemental but you can’t pick good lessons with them, compared to AlDub show, Lola Nidora has lessons to ponder.” She also said Pastillas is boring, and the big difference is Yaya Dub keeps on making her face ugly during kalyeserye. “But the uglier she pretends the more beautiful she glows, unlike pastillas, she keeps on pa-cute but .... HeHeHe never mind,, but she is pretty naman but Maine is by choice.”
Pastillas Girl
“AlDub,” said Beryl Elizabeth Lupot. “Gi-rekindle ang old ways of courting in a modern twist.”
US-based socialite Mikey Gatal confessed he is an Aldub fan. “I am AlDub and Yayadub forever.”  He said AlDub is an effective stress reliever. “Let's put it this way, AlDub fever shares a unique sense of humor and at the same time it reminds us of ourselves and gives moral lesson.”
Jhoel Lim said: “Di ko ka relate sa giyera ng Aldub at Pastillas.”
“None of the two,” said Fiel Angeli Araoarao-Gabin.  She said she was curious on Pastillas Girl and AlDub. “The (funny, crazy or utterly annoying) things that media moguls do to pull the ratings.”
If ever he decided to run in 2016, Clarin Mayor Allen Ray Piezas told VRS last Wednesday that he would seek re-election for Mayor.
AlDub fans say that the AlDub phenomenon is
 not just a noontime craze, it tells our Filipino society.
Photo by LPU
“If gusto sa mga tawo, I am open for my last term,” said Mayor Piezas who steels the wheels of Clarin’s development.
Vice- Mayor Velden Aparicio told VRS that she will seek re-election. “Yes for re-election. Second term if ihatag sa katawhan sa Clarin ug sa Ginoo.”
Incidentally, Clarin will celebrate the feast of St. Michael on Sept. 29. Visitors and guests will be impressed in the town’s physical landscape. One noticeable structure that greets the eyes is the two-storey public market which was built in 1988 and was partially damaged by the Bohol earthquake in 2013.
On the other hand, Doxson Asoy is planning to run for mayor in San Isidro town. On Facebook, he said he will definitely run for Mayor.
“But I still have to finalize it,” explained the former Bohol SK federated president of Bohol and ABC president. His wife, Karen, will support whatever decision he will make.  
Clarin Mayor Allen Ray Piezas (center, seated) and
Vice- Mayor Velden Aparicio (extreme right, seated)
with the members of the
Sangguniang BayanPhoto by LPU
James Tripoli of the office of Tubigon Mayor Marlon Amila is running in 2016 as persistent reports have been mentioning him as on the short list of administration bet Amila’s councilor. James said he has to think whether to file his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for councilor in October.
Barely two weeks from now,  we will know who will be running in the May 2016 elections.
Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at leoudtohan@yahoo.com, follow leoudtohan at Twitter /Facebook.

Festival of Lights in Loon creates fusion and ethereal effect

There were little surprises last week that VRS could not help but smile.
Surprise No.  1:  Julmar Joseph Misa and Raclaire Stephan Trigo from the high school department were crowned Mr and Miss University of Bohol Personality 2015. They were also declared Mr and Miss Talent.  Take a bow, Sofila Lafuente Gantalao!
Jassenie Mangaron is Miss Cebu
Normal University 2015. 
Contributed Photo
Surprise No. 2: High-ranking officials (HRO)  had witnessed a real life furious “lovers’ quarrel” during a seminar which was held somewhere in the haven. It involved a matured woman (MW) and her young beau (YB). Thinking they were watching #kalyeserye, there was no effort from HRO to quell the fight until the security guard approached them. The LQ ended at the police station. MW told VRS, “I learned my lesson now. Don’t trust a young heart. Sobrang mapusok! Now, I no longer believe in forever!”
Surprise No. 3: Matildi Magali, 56, mother of Pinoy boxer Carlo Magali: “Siyempre nalipay ko pero naguol sa nadangatan sa iyang kontra. Kay kung kita mahitabuan ingana dili sab lalim.”  Carlo, 29, won against Aussie boxer Davey Browne Jr  who died after the fight.
Surprise No. 4:  Jassenie Mangaron was crowned Miss Cebu Normal University (CNU) 2015.  Jaseenie who hails from Loon town was Miss Bohol 2014 Miss Photogenic. She is a consistent honor student of  CNU taking up Education. She is a dog lover and big fan of the movie ‘Hachiko.”
Well, speaking of Loon, they had a unique festival of lights which was held recently.
Tourists visiting Loon town in the north-west side of Bohol province, can now look forward to witnessing a spectacular sound and light show, the SidlaKasilak or Festival of Lights, which is held annually every first week of September in honor of the town’s patron saint, the Virgen de la Luz or Birhen sa Kasilak (Our Lady of Light).
This year’s festival was held for the first time inside the destroyed Nuestra Señora De La Luz Church (Our Lady of Light Church) or commonly known as Loon Church suffered total damage in the aftermath of the October 15, 2013 earthquake. Within the first 36 seconds of the 52-second quake, this national historical landmark and national cultural treasure was turned into rubble and powdery dust.  Three churchgoers were reportedly trapped inside the Church.
As people gathered to witness the festival, emotions poured in as they remembered the old church that stood very firmly in the town’s plaza, said to be Bohol’s biggest Catholic Church.
“I tend to experience goose bumps upon coming in as I remember a significant. And I think all us felt the same way. For the first time since October 15, 2013, this is my first to step inside the church,” said Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto.  He also said that Boholanos always recall that the structure was what Bohol was so proud of.
Chatto also said that the festival of lights was a clear manifestation not only of the recovery of Loon from the ashes, not only for the recovery of Bohol for the great catastrophe that happened in the province, but  gathering symbolizes  the strength of the spirit of the Loonanons and the people of Bohol.
Mr and Miss UB Personality 2015 winners are
 Julmar Joseph Misa and Raclaire Stephan Trigo.  
Contributed Photo
“More strength to move on as we construct our church, as we construct our town and we construct of our lives,” Chatto said.
Started in 2000, the SidlaKasilak is one of its kind in the Philippines because the street-dancing is done at night.  The highlights of the event are the street- dancing presentation and Dance of Lights competition whose contest criteria revolve solely on the lights, choreography of lights such as movement, synchronization, formation and dynamics and quality of lights such as design, color harmony and brightness.
“If you like bright lights and a show, you’ll love this festival. The emphasis is on the lights on how to make it move and dance,” said Reigh Monreal, SidlaKasilak chairman.  
Monreal said that since the competition is held at night and is quite literally a festival of lights. “It will be dark enough to let the light shine through and you will experience light dancing in front of your very eyes,” he said.
The fusion of lights creates more drama and ethereal effect against the darkness of the night.
Participants came from different schools of Loon. Some barangays (villages) joined the competition before but for the past years it became a competition for schools.
“I am joining this in honor of Our Lady of Light,” said Keisha Figuracion, 11, of Loon Sentral Elem. School, who joined the SidlaKasilak for the first time.  But for Princess Uy,11, she  joined the contest hoping to win the cash prize  for her school, Lintuan Elem. School. “Our school needs a new fence,” she said.  
“It also expresses the enduring qualities of the town,” said Loon Mayor Lloyd Peter Lopez. He said the word SidlaKasilak is coined from the Visayan words "sidlak" which means to rise and "kasilak," which means light. “It best describe the character of Loonanons as they conquer life’s adversities and make the best out of their inherent talents and capabilities,” he said.  
SidlaKasilak was inspired by past religious processions in Loon when the faithful would light candles in colorful hand-held lanterns or “parow”, the local version of the “parol”.
During the first few years of the festival, the dancers brought traditional lanterns wrapped in Japanese paper.  
“Candles, however, are no match to the wind made even stronger with every sway of the hands that held the lanterns. The Japanese paper, too, could not withstand too much heat nor could it resist the rain,” said Monreal.   He also said that candles were later replaced with permanent yet adjustable lights like flashlights, magic sticks, light-emitting diodes and others. Glazed paper, plastic wrap and cloth have been used instead of Japanese paper.
People witness the SidlaKasilak or Festival of Lights in Loon town of Bohol province as participants dance and shine in darkness to create fusion of lights and ethereal effect inside the hallowed ground of the Our Lady of Light Church which turned into rubble and powdery dust during the 7.2 magnitude earthquake on Oct. 13, 2015. Photos by Liza Macalandag

Last year, the SidlaKasilak was held in a school ground since piles of stones and debris clouded inside the church.   This year, after debris was finally cleared, a small “retablo” was constructed at the exact place where the Our Lady of Light was enthroned.  Searchlights were placed near the retablo to create three vertical columns of light as symbols of Our Lady of Light.
“The distinctive nature of SidlaKasilak is manifested in its being the only evening street dancing event in Bohol,” said Lopez.  He said the competition does not require lavish costumes and props that onlookers do not appreciate in the dark.
Chatto said that Loon’s lights festival is the brightest, so to speak, addition to the ever-growing tourist attractions of Bohol.
Fr. Ruel Tumangday, parish priest of Our Lady of Light, said that the Nuestra Señora De La Luz Church was established in 1753 by the Jesuits, and administered later by the Augustinian Recollects, the parish of the Birhen sa Kasilak constructed what was to become the biggest church in the province, and perhaps in the entire Visayas and Mindanao.
During the Filipino-American War in 1901, the Loon Church served as garrison of American soldiers and, in the Second World War, as refuge of Japanese forces wounded during the Battle of Moalong. Visited by ambassadors of the Holy See and relics of popular saints, this church, more appropriately called the Crowning Glory of Recollect Architecture in Bohol.   
“In the ensuing years, this church figured prominently in the annals of Loon’s history outside of its being the main venue for holy masses and other Catholic rites and activities,” said Fr. Tumangday.  
Fr. Tumangday also said that the festival was to honor the Virgin Mary.
“ Above all, we honor Mary, Mother of Christ, the Birhen sa Kasilak, who brought into this world the Greatest Light of All - - Jesus Christ who saves us from the agony of darkness in the abyss of sinfulness,” said Fr. Tumangday. 
Lopez said that like the phoenix, however, “Loon will rise from these ruins, every good and godly way we can.”
“Collectively, SidlaKasilak expresses the Loonanons’ resilience amid challenges, hardships and suffering, and their ability to shine with their talents, capability and creativity,” said Lopez.
Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at leoudtohan@yahoo.com, follow leoudtohan at Twitter /Facebook.

Miss U-New Zealand Top 20 enjoy Bohol trip • Boholano embracing adventure in Vietnam

• Miss U-New Zealand Top 20 enjoy Bohol trip
• Boholano embracing adventure in Vietnam
Fr. Leo Dalmao, CMF
Scene:  For the first time, a Filipino Catholic priest was elected to the new general government of the Claretians worldwide. Boholano priest Fr. Leo Dalmao, current provincial superior of Philippines, was elected consultor and Prefect of Formation. The election which was held last week in Rome coincided with their 25th General Chapter, bringing together representatives of more than 3,000 Claretians in 65 countries. A native of Tagbilaran City, Fr. Dalmao, 45, was ordained priest in May 1997.
Scene:  Primo, a popular music trio, is composed of Floyd Tena, James Uy, Laurence Mossman. For a long time the trio has charmed listeners and bar regulars with their unbeatable take on popular songs, Broadway, jazz and many, many more.  Being world-class, Primo is constantly performing in the United States, Europe and Asia. Catch Primo live in Bohol on Sept. 18 (Friday), 7:30 p.m. at the Bohol Cultural Center.  Tickets are: P500 (VIP), P300 (Patron) and P150 (general admission). For inquiries, call/text 09395977498.
Scene: Treat everyone with kindness and respect, said the roving VRS, who shared that an accounting staff (AS) in one of Bohol’s college where students can see the world free has terrible manners while inside the mall. “Since the counters were occupied, I went to the counter for senior citizen. While waiting for my turn since there were two ladies (not senior citizens) ahead of me, this AS suddenly rushed in with her alalay, a student who was still wearing his uniform of the see the world free, put her cart as if she was ahead of me,” narrated VRS.  AS didn’t smile, raised her eyebrows as if she had a stiff neck, according to VRS. AS’ alalay told VRS that “She is a senior citizen!”  So, VRS gave way…and looked for another counter. “She is rude! She could ask me politely. Saying please is by far one of the biggest issues with people these days,” VRS lamented. VRS also asked some friends about AS. Her colleagues shared terrible stories about her being ill-mannered. Giagwanta nalang namo na siya oi because she has two years more to go na to retire,” said Lady V.   Code? Children, let us sing together…Papaya, Papaya, fruit salad-salad.
Scene: For his works in empowering the local communities and helping the rehabilitation and recovery of Bohol after the killer quake, poet and community builder Nestor Maniebo Pestelos, has been selected by  Rappler’s Move Awards as one of 15 finalists. Move Awards was developed “to celebrate outstanding Filipinos who don’t let reality get in the way of their dreams: they look at the status quo and inspire others to change it with them for the better.” Pestelos is the president of Bohol Local Development Foundation (BLDF). To vote, visit www.rappler.com
For Rachael Annear, a visit to the Philippines is a learning experience of people and culture.
"It's very important since New Zealand is multicultural," said Annear, one of the top 20 finalists in the Miss Universe- New Zealand competition.
Rachael Annear (with Analyn Pollenza-Arbilo 
of the Philippine Port Police), 
one of the top 20  finalists in 
Miss Universe-New Zealand, says
 Philippines is a country of 
hospitable and  warm people.  
And the Top 20 finalists of Miss 
Universe-New Zealand. 
 Photos by Leo Udtohan
Annear, who is in her final year of completing her bachelor of education studies at Bethlehem Tertiary Institute, said joining the Miss Universe-New Zealand is her opportunity to represent her place Tauranga, one of New Zealand’s fastest growing cities.
So when Annear and other contestants were here in the Philippines for a 10-day finalists retreat, she was overwhelmed.
“Oh my goodness! It’s been amazing,” Annear told VRS.
She said they have been travelling in the Philippines for many days and it has been a good experience. “I love the culture here. People have been very friendly, very welcoming,” she added.
On Tuesday, the candidates were warmly welcomed at the Tagbilaran port where students danced the ‘It’s More Fun in the Philippines” theme song upon the arrival of the candidates. The candidates later joined the dancers.
 Bohol has been selected as one of the country’s choice destinations for their final leg of the retreat with last year's title holder Rachel Millns.
 “The candidates’ visit in Bohol will surely help the tourism of Bohol,” said Jaypee Orcullo of the Bohol Tourism.
The candidates had the chance to savor the natural and cultural heritage of Bohol in a guided tour.  They visited Panglao Island, Loboc River, tarsier and the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park.
Miss Universe New Zealand is not the first pageant to visit Bohol as part of its official pre- pageant activity. The top 10 finalists of Miss Czech Republic visited Bohol in 2013 for photo sessions.
Miss Universe New Zealand is a national pageant with the winner going on to the international competition.
The Miss Universe-New Zealand organization had taken its finalists to Thailand the last two years, but this year CEO Nigel Godfrey has decided to bring them to the Philippines upon the invitation of Bench owner Ben Chan, according to the pageant’s official page on Facebook.
The candidates visited the historic sites in Metro Manila such as Intramuros and Fort Santiago; shopping areas such as the Glorietta Mall in Makati City; and Tahan-tahanan in Quezon City to meet children with cancer. The top 20 presented gifts to the children, parents, medical staff and volunteers, while Miss Universe New Zealand presented a cheque for 30,000 pesos, the pageant’s official Facebook page said.
The candidates had visited Cebu last Monday for a sight-seeing. They also visited the Island Girl Philippines  and Alegre Guitars in Lapu-Lapu City.
The coronation night of Miss Universe New Zealand will be on October 24.
Jhoel Lim in Halong Bay 
There’s so much beauty in the world. One of my favorite Asian countries to visit is Vietnam.  Imagine Halong Bay where 2000 or more islands rising from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin and you have a vision of breathtaking beauty. Then, there is Son Doong cave, the world's largest cave…  Sad to say my plan didn’t happen.   
Anyway, Jhoel Lim of the National Food Authority (NFA)-Bohol has just ticked Vietnam off his bucket list. He was in Cambodia and Vietnam last week together with his sister lawyer Jhella Lim of SSS-Bacolod to explore our Asian neighbors.
Vietnam is shedding its old look to become a tourism gem in Asia. Halong Bay, the jewel in Vietnam’s crown, remains an essential stop on any Vietnam tour.

Jhoel Lim shares that Vietnam is a dynamic and a beautiful place.  Contributed Photo
“People have compared that Halong Bay is like a giant natural museum,” said Jhoel Lim. “Once you are there, you feel lost in its attractive beauty.”
Jhoel has visited El Nido or Coron, but the mists that slowly drifting over Halong Bay and the majestic sunset made his experience far different. He also said he was enjoying moments of solitude in this world famous site.
“The sight of hundreds of limestones karsts rising up from the emerald water is unforgettable,” said Jhoel.
In Cambodia, its attractions are many and varied.  He said that Angkor Wat is a must-see jumping off point, but the best of Cambodia lies further afield.
“The ruins of Angkor Wat draw crowds of visitors—the temples are breathtaking,” added Jhoel.
Here is Jhoel on Halong Bay:
After a couple of days exploring the city of Siem Reap, Cambodia, we headed to Hanoi, Vietnam to explore another popular tourist destination.  Vinh Ha Long which literally means “descending dragon bay” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located at Quang Ninh province which administratively belongs to Hạ Long City, Cẩm Phả town, and the part of Vân Đồn District.
From our hotel at Hanoi, we were picked-up by our driver and English speaking tour guide to begin our four hour journey East of Hanoi. En route, we passed by fields of busy workers farming their rice fields using traditional methods of cultivation. We also came to stop by various artisan shops showcasing Vietnam’s finest handicrafts to include embroidery, lacquer wares, jewelries, sculptures and some delicious “pasalubong” goodies. We also came to drop by at Ha Long Pearl Farm and Workshop where we had a guided tour on how they cultured various species of oysters for pearl production.
Upon arrival at Ha Long Bay’s Bai Chay Tourist Wharf, we boarded a private traditional junk as we set to sail around the magnificent bay and among thousands of karst limestone formations that jut out of the sea in various shapes and sizes. On board our private cruise, we were served with sumptuous local cuisine for lunch while enjoying the scenic view of the bay. The six-hour cruise travelled us further to
Hang Sung Sot Cave (Cave of Surprises) which was discovered in 1901 and welcomed its first visitor in 1993. The entrance is high above the bay on Bo Hòn Island, one of the 1,969 limestone monolithic islands that are topped with thick jungle vegetation. We then continued our cruise to the southern part of the bay where we admired the view of many strange-shaped islands, visit floating village of local fishermen and go kayaking to a remote area of Ha Long Bay before we bid farewell and head back for another four hour travel back to Hanoi City.
What’s next on Jhoel’s bucketlist?
Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at leoudtohan@yahoo.com, follow leoudtohan at Twitter /Facebook.