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Sunday, November 27, 2016

AR de la Serna gears up for 1st Mister Supra ● ‘Pinoy Aquaman’ conquers Canigao Channel

The Philippines's bet AR dela Serna is now currently in Nowy Sacz in Poland for the 1st Mister Supranational pageant, to be held on December 3 (December 4, Philippine time) at the Miejski Ośrodek Sportu i Rekreacji (Hall of Sports).

AR, 23, hopes to become the country's first Mister Supranational titleholder.

AR has arrived in the city of Krynica-Zdrój in Poland last Wednesday night (Nov. 23, Thursday morning, Philippine time) for the pageant's preliminary events and activities, such as top model runway, photo and video challenges.

Mister Supranational-Philippines 2016 AR dela Serna, 
our bet in the Mister Supranational pageant, 
is now in Poland deadest on bringing home the country’s f
irst Mister Supranational title. Courtesy: AR dela Serna  
"It is very cold here," AR told VRS on Facebook chat.

And it gets even busier. In the coming days, AR will participate in a number of much-anticipated events such as the talent show, preview and contestant interviews.  Preliminary competitions will be held also in Slovakia on Nov. 27-29.

AR said he is ready for the pageant. In the weeks after he won Mister of Filipinas’ Mister Supranational, AR underwent courses on personality development and public speaking, attended Polish language classes, did rigid gym workouts, fielded incisive questions during interviews, took up good-grooming lessons  and took (pieces of) advice from colleagues and mentors on how to keep that “winning/fighting” spirit up.

“I've been training for quite some time. I'm only gonna be showcasing who I am. As I represent the country. I assure everyone that I am prepared to represent the country,” AR said.

AR, the first Mister Supranational Philippines, is among pageant enthusiasts' favorites to enter the Mister Supranational.

“I've set my life towards the goal.  I've kept a very healthy lifestyle,” he said.

The live televised event will be held at the Miejski Ośrodek Sportu i Rekreacji (MOSIR), Krynica’s main events venue with capacity for 3,000 people.  The production promises to be a total success.

(Note: To help AR to win the premier edition of Mister Supranational, you need to download the MobStar app. If he gets the MobStar People’s Choice Award, he would easily advance in the semifinal round during the finals night!)

***
‘Pinoy Aquaman’ swims Bohol to Leyte

Harold Bernales didn’t miss the chance to witness the historic swim of environmental- triathlete lawyer Ingemar Macarine, also known as the “Pinoy Aquaman,” on Sunday morning (Nov. 20), on his attempt to cross the Canigao Channel.

Bernales, 14, said he heard about Macarine’s feat on open sea swimming here and abroad.

“It was my chance to see him,” he said.

Lawyer Ingemar Macarine has attempted the first ever crossing of the Canigao Channel on Sunday. His non-stop and unassisted swim started from Pres. Carlos P. Garcia Island to Maasin City, Southern Leyte. The Canigao Channel swim has a total of 17 kilometer distance.  -Leo Udtohan

He accompanied his father, Paquito, who was the boatman of the escort boat.

Macarine’s attempt to cross the Canigao Channel was organized by Ubay Mayor Constantino Reyes.

He aimed at raising awareness of the need to promote clean seas and Ubay tourism.

“I am promoting tourism in Ubay Bohol, and for clean seas and beaches,” Macarine said.

After applying sunblock lotion, he took time to pray Psalm 23.

Pinoy Aquaman with  Leyte residents at Guadalupe Port. /Leo Udtohan
At 6:06 a.m. on Sunday, Macarine started his swim from Barangay Tugas in the island municipality of Pres. Carlos P. Garcia (CPG) to Maasin City, Southern Leyte, which is part of the Canigao Channel. The swim would cover a total of 17 kilometer distance.

He said strong waves and currents kept pulling him off course so he had to change direction.

“The first 10 kilometer was a very rough swim while the last seven kilometer was swim against strong current,” said Macarine.

At 12:30 p.m., Macarine reached the Guadalupe Port in Maasin City, a total of six hours and 37 minutes swim of the 17 kilometer distance between CPG and Maasin City.

“I hope this swim will inspire our kababayan from Maasin City and from Bohol, and of course, all over the Philippines to take care more of our marine environment,” Macarine said.

At Guadalupe Port, he was met by residents to have photo ops with him.

Resident Elizabeth Ibale, 66, said it was his first time to know that someone could actually swim from Bohol to Leyte.
Lawyer Ingemar Macarine is the first person to swim from Bohol to Leyte. /Leo Udtohan

“Bilib ko sa iyang abilidad nga first ko nakakita og tawo  nga grabe ang langoy  tiaw bang harang layua..grabeh oi,” she said.

Macarine said he plans to return to the United Kingdom to swim the English Channel which was aborted last August due to bad weather.

“I will be back to do the English Channel this coming September 2017. Last August 2016, this year, I was in UK for two months but I was not able to swim the English Channel because of the bad weather.  I hope next year, to try again. So, this is actually part of my training,” he said.

He said he will swim Camiguin to Balingoan, Misamis Oriental on January 17.

Macarine has conquered seas in the United States of America and Philippines. He was selected as one of the three Heroes of the Environment for 2015 by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF).

Macarine, 40, who hails from Surigao, is currently the election officer of Tubigon, in Bohol province.

***

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

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Vivoree’s grand homecoming

Wake-uppers:
Scene: The open-forum and actual ocular inspection of the unfinished and abandoned school building by the provincial lawmakers in Hingotanan Island in Bien Unido. Bohol Vice-Gov. Dionisio Dajalos Balite, Ph.D. led the fact-finding delegation with board members Niño Rey Boniel, Dionisio Victor Balite, Tommy Abapo Jr., Agapito Cañas Avenido and Benjie Arcamo. 

The first Mister Supranational 
Philippines 2016 AR dela Serna
 is off to Poland this week deadset 
on bringing home the first Mister 
Supranational title.  
Courtesy: Eric Esperal/Misters of Filipinas 
Scene:  The first Mister Supranational Philippines 2016 AR dela Serna is ready to capture the first Mister Supranational title.  This week, AR will leave for Poland.  His physical transformation vividly shows his sheer discipline and strong-willed determination in achieving his ultimate goal in the highly anticipated male beauty-battle in the world. “I've been training for quite some time. I'm only gonna be showcasing who I am. As I represent the country. I assure everyone that I am prepared to represent the country,” AR told VRS.

Scene: Pinoy Aquaman lawyer Ingemar Macarine will cross the 17 km. Canigao Channel today by swimming solo and unassisted from Brgy. Tugas, in Pres. Carlos P. Garcia Island to Maasin City, Southern Leyte. The swim is organized by the Municipality of Ubay courtesy of Mayor Constantino Reyes to promote tourism in Ubay and for cleaner seas.

***
The "Go Getter Girl ng Bohol" Maria Niña Vivoree Matutes Esclito was finally home in Bohol last Friday.

It's been two months since Vivoree was a housemate of the Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) Lucky Season 7 on ABS-CBN, and her busy schedule has kept her from leaving Manila.

Vivoree, who was wearing “I love Bohol” shirt, was all smiles as fans gave her a very warm welcome. She was excited to see Bohol once again and thank all of her kababayans who supported her all the way.

At the airport, fans were plenty and support was overwhelming.

Greater happiness, however, exuded from her face when she got home in Loon town.  Reuniting with her family, whom she has not seen for two months, was the highlight of Vivoree’s trip to her hometown.

Former PBB Lucky Seven housemate Vivoree Esclito
with her high school teacher Butch Bernas, Ph.D. 
at the Tagbilaran City Science High School during 
her homecoming to Bohol. Contributed Photo
Another teen housemate, Fenech Veloso, also comes from Loon.

Bohol cultural icon Reigh Monreal posted on Facebook that  Vivoree is a cousin of FEU Tamaraws' Francis Matutes Tamsi, son of Bohol's Kundiman Diva Ammie Matutes Tamsi.

In Loon town, she visited Loon South Sentral Elem. School where she met by her former teachers, classmates and fans.  Special Education students of Loon Central Elementary School were eagerly waiting in front of their dormitory for Vivoree.

In Tagbilaran City, she also met her classmates and teachers at Tagbilaran City Science High School.

Vivoree’s high school teacher Butch Bernas, Ph.D., said he was surprised of Vivoree’s transformation-- from being shy to confident.

“Yet she remains very humble,” said Butch. “She was one of my talented students,” he added.

An aspiring singer, Vivoree said last August that she joined the reality show to help overcome her insecurities about her looks.  She said she was often teased as "balbon" by her peers. She said that by being more confident in herself, she can freely pursue her dream to perform in front of an audience.

Lawyer Ingemar “Pinoy Aquaman” Macarine 
with Ubay Mayor Constantino Reyes. Macarine 
will swim solo the Canigao Channel from Pres. Carlos P. Garcia
 Island to Southern Leyte today.  Contributed Photo
During her stint at the reality show, she was romantically linked with Filipino-Italian Marco Gallo. 

Vivoree was evicted from the PBB during the live 6th elimination night on Oct. 22. She got the lowest votes among those who were nominated for eviction.

However, she continues her TV guestings on ABS-CBN with Marco.

Continue to be brave and beautiful, said Big Brother.

***

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

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Wake-upper:
Scene: Donald John Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States last Tuesday in a stunning culmination of an explosive, populist and polarizing campaign. On Election Night, however, Trump’s star became the site of a victory party. Supporters gathered at his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, chanting “U-S-A!” and wearing “Make America Great Again” hats. The star had been defaced several times over the course of the election.

***
The story of hair and beauty guru Bebei Tagoctoc is a ‘hairy’ kind of success story at all.

Bebei Tagoctoc is known as the "Mother of All Hair 
and Make-up Artists in Bohol" who
 started as utility boy at a small beauty parlor 
and working his way to the top. Contributed Photo
Bebei, the "Mother of All Hair and Make-up Artists in Bohol," started as utility boy at a small beauty parlor (called Blue Petals) inside the old BQ Mall, working his way to the top.

"At 15, I dropped out at school," recalled Bebei.  “I am a firm believer of education, but I had to stop from my studies because of poverty.”

It was at the Blue Petals’ beauty parlor where Bebei’s talents was enhanced and developed.  He decided to apprentice in that Blue Petals where he started as a mere parlor sweeper, then eventually became a manicurista, a neophyte hairdresser and a make-up artist.

In 1987, Bebei opened his salon on CPG Avenue, consisting of a wall mirror, a shampoo chair, a bowl, and a dryer. It wasn’t much, but to Bebei it meant everything, as it was something he could call his own. It was Jun Quimpan, Bebei’s partner, who encouraged and helped him to establish his own salon.

Due to unavoidable circumstances, Bebei’s salon transferred to Lambert’s Building along Ma. Clara Street, then finally settled at K of C Drive.  However, his loyal clients continue to hire his services.

Twenty-nine years later, Bebei has become an institution in his own right, sought-after by the clients, mostly the who’s who in Tagbilaran, who submit themselves wholeheartedly to his "magic touch" which sometimes transforms them into completely new and different personalities, beautiful inside and out.

Name a who’s who and a star and Bebei has touched her:  Christine Hermosa, Piolo Pascual, Ruffa Mae Quinto, Jericho Rosales, Philippine top models, when they came to Bohol.  Bebei was tasked to touch their delicate faces.  In 2005, when Miss Earth candidates came to Bohol, Bebei was hired as the official make-up artist.

Bebei said he has never snubbed a client since he knew how to deal clients with tantrums.

“As possible, I please them,” he said.

Coming out
Bebei starts his day very early by praying. Then, he does prepare for the salon at K of C Drive.

Bebei Tagoctoc has become an institution in 
his own right that clients like couple Harold and 
Agnes Jesuro trust Couple Harold and Agnes Jesuro 
seeks Bebei’s Hair and Make-up and Rental Packages
 for their wedding last June. Contributed Photo
Everyday is a busy day. If he’s not at his salon, he’s somewhere else doing home service for a bride and her entourage. He also designs gowns.

Bebei was one of a handful few “bayots” in the city who came out in early ‘60s.  He said “coming out” in those years was a suicide.

Even as a kid, Bebei knew he was gay. He would draw faces, figures and fashion designs on his notebooks.  He liked dolls.

“It was something a near to death experience when you were coming out. It was a moment to see if society accepts my true identity or not,” he shared.

Bebei has experienced different layers of discrimination throughout his life- for his sexuality. Each time, he shrugs it off.

“I let them go,” he said, “I am not the one who is kawawa. I know myself.”

He said being a Marian devotee has helped him to conquer obstacles in life. He owns a Mater Dolorosa (Our Lady of Sorrow) statue after he was inspired during his many visits at the St. Joseph Cathedral. The statue of the Mater Dolorosa at the Cathedral was donated by the late Charing Dejaresco.

“I like the Dolorosa’s teary-eyed and I felt her love for me,” he said.

Bebei’s life story was featured on GMA’s Jessica Soho Reports. It was no less than multi-awarded journalist Jessica Soho called Bebei as “Ricky Reyes of Bohol.”


‘Mothering’
Bebei spends much of his time “mothering” to other “bayots” who asked his help. Even Lamok, who once dubbed the “Beautiful Boxer”, could testify Bebei’s good heart. It was Bebei who adopted him when he was down.

As of this year, Bebei has two adopted “badings”. He may not have completed his education but he is sending them to college.

President-elect Donald Trump’s star, which 
had been defaced several times over 
the course of the election, becomes
 the site of a victory party. 
Supporters gathered at his star on
 the Hollywood Walk of Fame, chanting 
“U-S-A!” and wearing “Make America Great Again”
 hats. Your VRS’s 2015 photo at the star 
of the 45th president of USA. 
“I told them to finish school for a bright future,” he said.

Bebei said he has no plan to stop working, not yet.

“I don’t have any plans to stop working, or to stop helping,” he said.  “I love what I am doing with the love of the people.”

Come to think of it, if he were not a hair and make-up artist, what would he have been?

"A teacher," said Bebei. "I love to teach."

But with what he’s doing, Bebei has more than achieved that dream.

***

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

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Boholana beauty queen dies after cancer battle

Wake-uppers:
Seen: The homecoming of Mr. Supranational-Philippines 2016 AR dela Serna during the 120th birthday commemoration of Pres. Carlos P. Garcia last Friday (Nov. 4). AR received a special citation from the provincial government of Bohol headed by Gov. Edgar Chatto.  It was AR’s first visit to Bohol after winning  the Misters of Filipinas-Supranational 2016 held last Sept. 18.  AR will represent the Philippines in the inaugural edition of Mister Supranational in Poland on Dec. 3, 2016. 

Regil Gucor is rubbing elbows with 
Mr. Supranational-Philippines 2016 
AR dela Serna during the 
120th birthday commemoration of Pres. 
Carlos P. Garcia.  Contributed Photo
Scene:  The 1st National Earthkeepers (Ek) Summit on Nov. 10 to 13 in Bohol. Frence Boiser of the Student Catholic Action of the Philippines (SCA) said more than 150 youth leaders from all over the Philippines and invited international delegates will gather for the 1st EK Summit in Bohol ahead of the talks for the annual Conference of Parties (COP22) in Morocco.

Scene:  Ariel Fullido, manager of CenterStage Band, announced on Facebook that the band has new singer. He said CenterStage band has welcomed back its former vocalist Charisse Mae, who is still fresh from a singing stint in South Korea. He posted on Facebook, “She will rejoin the band replacing Jussica Villaflores who will take a hiatus for a while after her doctor advices her to take a long rest to fully recover from laryngitis. Beauty titlist/model Frances Montejo will temporarily be kept as reserved singer as she will focus on her studies in the second semester at HNU. But with mainstay veteran singers Yeyet and Riza, Charisse will complement the powerhouse vocals of CenterStage band.” Charisse Mae had her comeback performance last Friday during the 33rd Annual Visayas Area Convention of Geodetic Engineers on Alona Kew White Beach in Panglao town.

Scene:  Rotarian Andreimarie Thurman posted on Facebook:  "There are special people in our lives who never leave us …. even after they are gone. Rest in peace our beloved founder, Dr. Luther Z. Ramiro. He peacefully passed away, early this Sunday morning, Oct. 30, 2016. Thank you for touching many lives Dr. Lu, you will live forever in the hearts of grateful Rotarians and all people dedicated to service above self.”

***
Boholana beauty queen Marcelina Marcel Gatal-Diego, who was named Miss Young Bohol 1983, died Wednesday afternoon after a long bout with breast cancer.  She was 53.  

“At around three o'clock today, All Souls’ Day, our eldest Ate Marcel Gatal- Diego lost her three year battle with breast cancer,” her younger brother Raul wrote on Facebook.

Former beauty queen and entrepreneur 
Marcelina Marcel Gatal-Diego 
did her ‘farewell walk’ after 
battling with breast cancer. 
Contributed Photo
Her death was also confirmed by fellow beauty queen Fiel Angeli Araoarao-Gabin who expressed her shock and sadness at her death on social media.

“Another beautiful angel has gone to the Great Beyond,” said Fiel, who was Miss Tagbilaran 1987.

In 1982, Marcel represented the province of Bohol to the Hiyas ng Silangan-Philippines. She was adjudged Miss Talent and eventually chosen to be in the Top 10 finalists from among 30 candidates from all over the country. In 1983, she was crowned Miss Young Bohol, the precedent of Miss Bohol. 

Her good command of the English language ushered her way to various opportunities, including having been a radio newscaster and a disk jockey of KISS 102.3 FM during her college days at the Divine Word College of Tagbilaran (DWC-T) now Holy Name University.

She was also actively involved in the JCI-Chocolate Hills and in the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP).

Marcel was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. In her battle, she had demonstrated extraordinary calm, faith and courage in her fight against cancer as she underwent chemotherapy. However, she opted to choose an alternative medication after chemotherapy killed her other organs.

“Chemo was not meant for her body,” VRS said.

And after a brief remission this year, Marcel did not lose weight, hair, voice and vision. However, she had difficulties in speaking because she developed another cancer--lung cancer.

Her death has left her families, friends and supporters in mourning.  Many of them have lost a part of their hearts.

Marcel’s younger brother Mikey who was about to blow his candle as he celebrated his birthday (Nov. 1 in the US) got a phone call from his sister Nikki.

“I  thought she (Nikki) would say a birthday greetings, but it gave me the sad news that our eldest sister joined our Papa Roger in heaven already and I put on a brave face and held on my tears not to cry on my birthday,” said Mikey.

Charisse Mae is the new vocalist of 
CenterStage band. Contributed Photo
“It's been difficult for all of us during this time of the year. I cried a river, knowing that three of my loved ones died of cancer, Hector, Kevin's mother and now my sister,” he added.

As news of Marcel’s death spread, so did the tributes.

“Rest in the Kingdom of the Lord Marcel: My student and queen,” said Bohol’s Queen of All Media Ardy Ines Batoy-Araneta on Facebook. It was Ardy who discovered and plucked Marcel from anonymity during her student days.

High school classmate Jocelyn Oppus, who is based in Los Angeles, called the news of Marcel’s death “desperately sad.”

“Rest in peace my classmate and volleyball mate...one of the ‘Carnation’ babies,” she said.

Note: Her remains will arrive from Manila for one final viewing on Wednesday, November 9 at the Funeraria Gomez-Udtohan on CPG Avenue, Tagbilaran City. Requiem mass and interment has been scheduled on Thursday, November 10.

***

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