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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Jesseth Nez Pasagad: Putting substance to beauty

The opening question was: Do you have a boyfriend?

Jesseth Nez Sendrijas Pasagad gave an honest answer: “All I can say is that I have someone special inspiring me right now. I’m trying to focus more on building my career as an engineer and as a servant to the community.”

Crowned Miss Teen Bohol 2012 first runner-up and  Miss Talent at 16,  Jesseth has been practically on the spotlight ever since. So much that when she graduated Magna Cum Laude for Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering at Palawan State University, she was the first Boholana beauty queen turned petroleum engineer.

Now 22, she juggles her time to reading, studying, playing the guitar, singing, and at times, joining beauty pageants. She is a good daughter in that she wants to fulfill her mother's frustration of being a beauty queen.

As one of the early favorites of Miss Bohol 2018, to be a beauty queen with a purpose is something that Jesseth knows too well. Her advocacy is about "Pasiga Gikan sa Basura” which intents to convert solid waste to sustainable energy that will hopefully give electricity to communities in Bilar town.

Let’s see how she fares in this tête-à-tête with your VRS, conducted a week before the pageant.

As one of the early favorites of Miss Bohol 2018, Jesseth Nez Pasagad has the most unique background as she graduated Magna Cum Laude with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering,  a male dominated course which she managed to finish with flying colors. Photo courtesy: Miss Bohol

What’s your type of a man?
“I’m a very simple and quirky person so I’d love to be with a man who can jive with my antics without judging me. I also involve myself in a lot of activities and organizations so I’d appreciate a man who is supportive and understanding, someone who’s not possessive nor insecure of my personal endeavors towards self-growth.”

What sort of preparations are you doing for Miss Bohol 2018? Are you also going to be trained (on good grooming, poise, etc.) by a beauty queen?
“I’m currently giving huge importance on understanding my advocacy so I’m working a lot on my feasibility study. Also, I’ve been practicing my walk and poses, and I watch a lot of YouTube videos on how to be more graceful and composed even off-stage. I actually don’t have a formal trainer but I do have a handful of people helping and giving me constructive criticisms.”

 Jesseth Nez Pasagad on coal-fired power
 plant in Bohol: ‘I don’t want to have a coal plant
 in Bohol because I know Bohol has a
 vision to become a prime eco-cultural
destination and that means sustainability.
Having a coal plant in the province
defeats that vision for sustainability
because coal is not sustainable,
 let alone its inevitable negative
environmental impacts.’
Photo courtesy: Miss Bohol
Do you have secrets sustaining your poise, your grace under pressure, especially during the crucial points in any contest?
“I could say that my capability of being comfortable and graceful while under pressure was really honed through a lot of involvement and experience. I did not become this confident with myself overnight. It look a lot of humiliating public speeches and cringe-worthy performances before I really learned how to carry myself with grace and assertiveness. So I guess the secret is to just put yourself out there and step out of your comfort zone. Experience is the best teacher!”

Would you rather be smart but not too beautiful, or beautiful but not too smart?
“ I’d choose to be smart but not too pretty (physically). The perception of beauty is very subjective because we have different standards for what is beautiful. Being smart gives me the opportunity to have an impact on my community by imparting my ideas and knowledge. But being smart alone is not enough. One has to be compassionate as well. Knowledge with compassion, this is the kind of beauty I want for myself.”

Have you always been smart since you were a kid?
“Hmmm. If the context of “smart” here pertains to academics, I could say that I’ve always valued my education ever since I was a kid. And those efforts resulted to honors and recognitions. At an early age I understood how important it is to be educated both in theory and practice. My parents keep me motivated to constantly do my best in everything and I guess it became deep-rooted into my system to always aim high and deep.”

Why did you choose to study Petroleum Engineering?
“I don’t actually have a super great reason why I chose to take up Petroleum Engineering. Just like any other high school graduate, I was also confused on what to study in college. My father influenced me to be in the oil and gas industry, something I never imagined myself to be in. Looking back, I didn’t have a solid reason why I took up the course but now I understand why I ended up here—to be a living example that women can excel even in male-dominated fields, and to give back to my community as a driven and compassionate engineer.”

Was the course difficult?
“Yes! Sleepless nights, hungry mornings, sweat and tears—you name it. The oil and gas industry is a very competitive and past-paced environment, so early on we are trained to be flexible and proficient engineers. This requires a lot of effort and sacrifice plus the struggle in learning the technicalities of the processes. I’m just so glad I was able to finish the course in one piece. Ha!Ha!Ha!”

Are you in favor or against a coal-fired power plant here?
“As an engineer, I am aware of the benefits that a coal plant could potentially give to the province: stable power supply, income and employment. I am not entirely against the whole concept of a coal plant, but I believe it boils down to what we prioritize more as a province. I don’t want to have a coal plant in Bohol because I know Bohol has a vision to become a prime eco-cultural destination and that means sustainability. Having a coal plant in the province defeats that vision for sustainability because coal is not sustainable, let alone its inevitable negative environmental impacts. I am hopeful that Bohol can continue to climb up the ladder of excellence without resorting to these projects. As a province, we should stick to our vision. It’s there to guide us in our future endeavors for Bohol. “

Maybe you have an important message to spread or a cause to advance and you want the Miss Bohol to be a venue or forum for it?
“Right now, I am very thankful that the Miss Bohol pageant has become a platform for me to promote my advocacy, “Pasiga Gikan sa Basura”. I want people to understand that sustainability starts from awareness. I plan to give more talks regarding my advocacy and how the people in my community can help me expand this project.”

Engr. Jesseth Nez Pasagad with her
parents Zosimo and Aileen and siblings
Jairus Zim and Josh Ron Zimon.  Contributed Photo
What qualities of the Boholano youth would you highlight?
“Two distinct Boholano characteristics that I truly appreciate are humility and resiliency. Despite the many challenges we face, we are still able to put a smile on our faces— a true reminder of how our adversities have kept us grounded. We are strong in faith and rich in values, qualities that every Boholano can be proud of.”

How do you deal with bashers on social media?
“Acceptance is the key. Before I joined Miss Bohol, I made sure that I was emotionally ready for all the negative comments. We can’t please everyone, that’s a fact so the best thing to do is just to learn to filter out comments that don’t help you grow. I also avoid being on social media all the time so I don’t get the chance to read those comments from bashers. Hahahaha”

Sexual harassment is very much in the news. What would you advise women so that they could avoid or stop being victimized?
“There are a lot of superficial and sexist things I could say like teach women self-defense or tell them not to wear provocative dresses but I don’t think this really addresses the issue on sexual harassment. Yes, it could avoid sexual assaults but the true solution really lies on proper guidance and understanding especially during the formative years of a child. We should teach our children to respect women and not see them as objects. We should educate both men and women, make them understand that nobody has the right to trespass another person’s body without consent; and if ever you see or know someone who’s violating another person, intervene! We have to help empower each other.”

Young people today are liberated and adventurous, willing to try everything. What's your stand on pre-marital sex?
“We are entitled to our own bodies, this means we decide for ourselves. But, just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. Personally, I don’t look down on people who do engage in pre-marital sex, but I would strongly discourage young people to practice this for a number of reasons, one of which is related to health. There is a growing number of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV cases in the country which are caused by both lack of proper education on safe sex and engaging in multiple sexual partners. Reserving sex after marriage lessens the probability of contracting these illnesses because there is monogamy. And this goes out to both men and women, it’s all fun and games until one gets sick.”

Her advocacy "Pasiga Gikan sa Basura" aims to provide sustainable electrical energy source for
 communities in Bilar using bio-wastes. Photo courtesy: Miss Bohol
What is your stand on divorce in the Philippines?
“For the most part, I do not support divorce because I believe every marriage should be preserved and nurtured despite challenges, so long as there is no abuse in the relationship. The conflict lies on whether there is abuse in the marriage because as an empowered woman, I believe every person deserves the right to free themselves from toxic people. Of course, divorce should not be seen as an easy way out. As much as possible we can try to mend broken relationships through counselling and help treat abusive partners through rehabilitation. Pain in a relationship should not be romanticized, reach out for help if there is something wrong. Perhaps the marriage could still be saved.

Do you think it is about time to have same-sex marriage in the Philippines?
“Being born and raised in a conservative Catholic family, I’ve always believed that everything in life is absolute, including marriage. I have several LGBT friends and over the years of knowing them, I have learned to value their principles in life. This marriage they are fighting for is not because they have no God but rather they believe in a God who is loving and forgiving. I support same-sex marriage because it is clear to me that every couple who wants to move forward with their relationship, no matter the gender, should have the same legal rights as any married couple.”

 What’s your take on the transgender issue. Should transgender be allowed to compete in beauty contests for women?
“The way I see it, people don’t support transgender women to compete in beauty contests (for natural born women) because of either being conservative or competitive. I’d like to address the topic on a competitive standpoint. Being a transgender woman means the person has made alterations in her body: size of the boobs, butt, etc. A certain “customization” has been made which could be unfair to natural-born women who don’t have the means to be at par with the enhancements of a trans woman. This is probably the only issue I have with transgenders entering beauty contests for women.”

You are a petroleum engineer, a brilliant one. Do you also like politics? Your mother Aileen is village councilor of Barangay Zamora in Bilar town.
“ I have been part of several organizations but I don’t think I see myself as a politician. I am still willing to serve the community but in other ways. I guess the “politician genes” passed right through me. HahaHa”

To end this conversation, what do you think is the essence of being a woman?  (Answered with wit and intelligence by India’s Sushmita Sen who won the Miss Universe 1994)
“Over the years, I’ve seen how people perceive the essence of womanhood from being a mother to being a housekeeper. But as an empowered millennial woman, I speak for those women who choose not to give birth and those who wish to pursue their careers than stay at home. Times have changed but one thing will remain the same, we women are instruments for development. Our essence lies in our strength in character to pursue our goals with pride and dignity.”

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

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Bohol movement launched to urge Bong Go to run for Senate seat

Scene:  Families were worried for the missing of the three village chiefs in Pilar town last week.  Police had deployed a large number of officers to investigate the disappearance. It turned out that these men attended a “party” in Tagbilaran City. Pilar Police Station chief Inspector Andie Corpuz said “they were not kidnapped.  They had drinking session with friends that they were not able to inform their families.” However, some people believed it was a “kidnapped me” scenario.

Panglao Mayor Pedro Fuertes vows
 to make Panglao a liveable place,
a better, cleaner and safer destination in the country.
Leo Udtohan
Scene: Panglao Mayor Pedro Fuertes on the news that erstwhile and dismissed Panglao Mayor Leonila Paredes-Montero will be reinstated as mayor was “fake news.”  However, the camp of Montero told reporters to watch for (big) surprises this week.  Fuertes instead focused on many things for the development of Panglao, the tourism jewel of the province. “Let us work together to make Panglao a liveable place, a better, cleaner and safer destination that we can all be proud of.”

Scene:   Asked what her birthday message was, Dauis Mayor Marietta (“Miriam” to all) Sumaylo said, “Prosperity. Peace! Love! Harmony! Good health to everybody.”  She celebrated her birthday last July 4.  When asked about her plan for the 2019 election, “I will continue to serve the people of Dauis.” She simply flashed a smile so sweet that it seemed to say everything. 

* * *
Supporters of Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go gathered at Holy Name University (HNU) on Saturday, July 7, to launch “Bayan for Bong Go” Bohol Movement which aims to encourage the loyal presidential assistant to run for a Senate seat in 2019.

It was attended by mayors, barangay and SK officials and volunteers from the different parts of the province.

The dashing Dauis Mayor Marietta
 Sumaylo is a pleasant surprise. Leo Udtohan
The mayors who attended the movement were Tagbilaran City Mayor Baba Yap, Clarin Mayor Allen Ray Piezas, Cortes Mayor Lynn Iven Lim, Dauis Mayor Marietta Sumaylo, Trinidad Mayor Judith Cajes,  Talibon Mayor Restituto B. Auxtero, Dagohoy Mayor Sofronio Apat, Panglao Mayor Pedro Fuertes, Garcia Hernandez Mayor Tita Gallentes,  Calape Mayor Nelson Yu, Lila Mayor Regina Salazar, Sagbayan Mayor Ricardo Suarez, Pilar Mayor Eugenio Buslon Datahan II, Tubigon Mayor William Jao, Candijay Mayor  Christopher Bernados Tutor, Antequera Mayor Jose Mario Pahang and Alicia Mayor Marnilou Ayuban.

Also present were former Loay Mayor Rosemarie Lim-Imboy and former Loboc Leon Calipusan.

Businessman Lucio Lim, Jr., the movement’s chairperson, said they have seen Go’s potential to run in the 2019 mid-term elections.

“We are calling SAP Bong Go to run for senator.  Here in Bohol, the members of business sector want him to run. He comes from a family of businessmen. He is very approachable, (and) humble,” he said.

Lim said that being the President’s direct link to the people, Go vows to continue the President’s campaign against illegal drugs and criminality, corruption and support his anti-poverty efforts.

“Bong Ro represents change. It gave us hope that the legacy of President Duterte may continue through SAP Bong Go in the Senate,” Lim said.

Go was not able to attend the launching as he was with the President. Nevertheless, Assistant Secretary Mon  Cualoping of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and   DILG Assistant Secretary for Legislative and External Affairs Ricojudge "RJ" Echiverri, former two-term president of the National Liga ng mg Barangay, represented him and conveyed his message to his supporters.

Go earlier told reporters that he is still contemplating as to whether or not he would consider the offer to run in the senatorial race.  He said he was committed to serving the President “until kingdom come.”

Supporters of Special Assistant to the President Bong Go have launched the “Bayan for Bong Go” movement in Bohol aimed at convincing him to run for senator in the 2019 elections.   Leo Udtohan


A ‘brief’ visit by Villar

Public Works and Highways secretary Mark Villar arrived in Bohol last Thursday, July 5, seven days after President Rodrigo Duterte assured Boholanos that he would instruct Villar to check the on-going projects.

Villar visited Barangay Anislag in Maribojoc town where he was updated on the repair of certain roads and bridges which were damaged by the strong 2013 earthquake.

He stayed briefly at the site for about 30 minutes with provincial and local officials.

Villar was informed by Bohol reporters about the concerns of many residents in several towns in Bohol who clamored for an explanation from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)regarding some repair works done in roads that seem to be still in good condition.

DPWH regional director Ador Canlas answered that there were 12-on going road construction projects in the province which was affected by the 2013 strong earthquake.  He said the funds were just released this year for  reblocking, restoration and rehabilitation.

Villar said he would personally look into “questionable” projects in the province.

“Lahat po ng pangangailan po ng infrastructure ay mabibigyan ng pansin,”  assured Villar.

During the 25th national convention of the Vice-Mayors’ League of the Philippines (VMLP) in Panglao, Duterte was asked  during the presscon about the on-going road re-blocking project of the DPWH in Bohol that generated public outcry.

Duterte, who admitted that he is not a technical person to explain about the road project, said that he would ask Villar to come to Bohol.

“I will ask DPWH Secretary Villar to come over and explain to the people para ma... Anyway, it's the people's money. So they should... They deserve rather an explanation from the government.”

Provincial board member Thomas Abapo earlier said that on-going re-blocking projects on roads in the province that many even considered as not damaged at all, was a waste of funds.

Abapo expressed his disgust over the projects that apparently caused too much delay, inconvenience and accident to the riding public and motorists.

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

Sunday, July 1, 2018

My God is forgiving—Duterte

● My God is forgiving—Duterte
● Goodbye, SPO1 Adonis Dumpit!

God really works in mysterious ways. He made President Rodrigo Duterte talk about God, now everybody is concern about God.

However, if we are engaged in a religious debate, such topic will have no end. So, we better respect each other’s beliefs.

More about Duterte’s “God” when he was the keynote speaker during the 25th national convention of the Vice Mayors League of the Philippines (VMLP) in Bellevue Resort in Panglao town last Thursday, June 28.

He said his favorite chapter in the Holy Bible is The Ecclesiastes.

President Rodrigo Duterte with the provincial and local leaders during the 25th national convention of the Vice Mayors League of the Philippines (VMLP) in Panglao town. Contributed Photo

“If there’s a page in the Bible which I read almost every day, it’s the Ecclesiastes 3,” he said at the start of his speech.

Ecclesiastes is found in the Old Testament after the book of Proverbs and before Song of Solomon.

“There’s a time to be calm, there’s a time to be silent, to be poignant, a time to be subdued, and a time to be vicious. Ganoon talaga ang buhay (That’s life),” he continued.

“There is always time…a time to be proper and a time to be a shit…all because this is planet earth, this is not heaven,” he said.

The President was expected to arrive at 3 p.m. but he arrived at 4:12 p.m.

At least 600 vice mayors attended the convention, according to Tagbilaran City Vice Mayor Jose Antonio Veloso.

It was his second visit to the island-province since he was elected in 2016.

Duterte drew flak after his “stupid God” remark. But he said his own God is forgiving.

“I have a God, it’s a God in my… my concept of God is according to my values. We have different gods, hindi tayo magkaintindihan (We do not understand each other). I have this deep and abiding faith in God.

 Duterte is not sorry. Ever.

 Bishop Alberto Uy of the Diocese of Tagbilaran
with Presidential Communications Operations
Office head Secretary Jose Ruperto Martin
Andanar during the town fiesta of Garcia
Hernandez, Bohol.
Photo from Bishop Alberto Uy Facebook Account
Despite the public outrage, the President remained unapologetic for his “stupid God” remarks.

“I will not do that. Definitely, not in a million years,” he told reporters.  

“You know God is personal, it is not formed by textbooks. You nurture God as your faith based on the values that you get from life early on from your parents. That is how you conceived God to be. So, if you used God as a transmission sa ano ninyo other sectors of society then you invite criticisms,” he said.

But the president said he “has a forgiving God.”

“For now, I will just keep my silence for I want to see how the nation reacts. Kumbaga, I’m shaking the tree. If you’d notice me every now and then, either national or local, ginugulo ko talaga ‘yung puno,” he continued.

He drew laughter when he added, “Talagang takot din ako. May mga anak ako, may mga apo, may duha asawa ako, may three girlfriends ako (I am also scared. I have children. I have grandchildren. I have two wives. I have three girlfriends).”

While others were conciliatory, more Church leaders have come out to denounce what some called “blasphemous” remarks.

“My God is not stupid. He is almighty, all-wise and all-loving. To him be the glory, now and forever,” Bishop Alberto Uy of Tagbilaran said on his Facebook page.

Bishop Uy said some stories in the Bible call for a deeper interpretation as they have religious truths in them that tells humanity of God’s plans and how people should live their lives.

“Not all (stories) in the Bible are to be interpreted literally. Some stories, though not historical, have religious truths, which can inform us about God and His plan for the world and humanity,” he said.

During Sunday Mass at St. John the Baptist Church in Garcia Hernandez town, happealed to parishioners “to pray for healing so that the President’s heart could be healed.”

“We need to be hopeful. We continue to respect our President. And we pray for him,” Uy said. “We pray for healing.”

Duterte also warned mayors who were inactive in the government’s campaign against crime and illegal drugs that they would be replaced by the police.

“I will file a case against you [for] serious neglect of duty or simple neglect or sheer ignorance of law or simply doing nothing,” he added.

He also warned narco-policemen that they would die if they continue their involvement in illegal drugs.

Goodye, Dumpit!

When SPO1 Adonis De Los Amantes Dumpit was transferred to Bohol in 2016, I had the opportunity to interview him for this little corner.  He was teary-eyed when he told your VRS (and The Freeman’s Jessa Agua-Ylanan) that he missed his 85-year-old mother Liwayway in Davao Oriental, and only son, Norman.

My last encounter with Dumpit was during the command visit of PNP- Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde at Bohol Provincial Police Office two weeks ago. I was surprised to see him because I thought he was transferred to Cebu after his short stint at BPPO. He greeted me with a warm smile and extended his hand while he shrugged off those who wanted to take a selfie with him.

In his 20 years in the police force, Dumpit received awards and commendations and was dreaded by Cebu City’s underworld characters in 2000 for hunting down petty criminals. So, everyone knew him as the “super cop.”

SPO1 Adonis Dumpit was a sharpshooter
and multi-awarded policeman. Leo Udtohan
But last week’s news shocked the entire region.  He was killed.

It was his last goodbye.

Ma. Ella Amores, 45, said when her live-in partner SPO1 Adonis Dumpit bid goodbye last Wednesday (June 27, 2018) morning, she felt strange that she wanted to hug him tightly.

Little did she know that it was to be the last time she would see him.

Dumpit, her live-in partner for a decade, was killed on June 27 in a joint operation by the Regional Intelligence Division of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)-Bohol.

Amores said Dumpit, 54, left home early as he had been told that President Duterte would be in Bohol on Thursday. He said he was needed at the Camp Francisco Dagohoy for a briefing.

She said Dumpit had brought his uniform and the book that he was asked to photocopy.

She was later told that Dumpit, while driving his motorcycle, was killed at 8:20 a.m. in Purok 1, Dagohoy Road, San Isidro District, at least 200 meters from their house.

Dumpit was assigned at the Bohol Police Provincial Office. He was the former close-in aide of Cebu City Mayor Tomas “Tommy” Osmeña.

She said she heard gunshots but thought they were just fireworks.

But one of her adopted children told her Dumpit was killed.

Amores believed that the 15 sachets of shabu found from Dumpit’s pants were planted. Only his uniform and some clothes were found in the utility box of his motorcycle.

"Wala jud na ana... nag-awanta mi sa among kinabuhi nga nagpuyo nga malinawon. Putlan man gani mig kuryente (We were never into drugs. We endured life’s hardships in order to live in peace. There were even times when our electricity was cut off)," she explained.

She believed some people held a grudge against Dumpit since he was active working against drugs.

Dumpit once told her that he was reassigned for some reasons.

She said Dumpit explained to her why he was transferred from Cebu to Bohol.

"Mapagan ko permanente sa pagan sa higante (I always caught in the crossfire between giants)," Amores quoted Dumpit telling her.

She also questioned the manner of operation. She said it was an ambush.

"Dapat muari sila, ilang tuyo gikan sa taas, raid sila, willing mi magpasaka unsa man ilang tuyo. Kampanti jud, kampanti tong tawo nga wala gud anomaly,” she said.

“Ambush to, ambush to. asa gud dapit maintercept. Ambush to. Dapat muari sila, ilang tuyo gikan sa taas, raid sila, willing mi magpasaka unsa man ilang tuyo. kampanti jud, kampanti tong tawo nga wala gud anomalya," she said.

But NBI-Bohol head Rennan Augustus Oliva denied Amores’ claim that their operation was an ambush.

“Iya nang opinion pero klaro to nga mingsukol, understable na kay kalive in partner siya unya mabasa ninyo ang report unysa na iyang kalive in so naa ta mga nya naa tay follow-up operation. Pero klaro man atong operation, naa may witnesses. Naa jud firefight nahitabo. Dili ambush. Kay if ambush dili mupusil una ang subject. Napusil gud og una. Naa man tay witnesses (They have their  opinions. But it was very clear that the subject engaged our operatives in a shootout, and we have witnesses to prove it,” he said. 

He said it was a legitimate operation that they had monitored Dumpit’s illegal activities.

Oliva  also stressed that the information that Dumpit was a “narco police” first came from the police and not from NBI.

The PNP Crime Lab has not released its official results on the ballistic examination and parriffin results.

Neighbors said Dumpit was a quiet and a good person.

“He was serious but fun to be around. Nobody deserves a fate like that,” a neighbor who requested anonymity said.

Another neighbor said “he was kind and who focused almost completely on his work.”

PRO-7 confirmed that there was no reason to give any honors to Dumpit, despite his earlier reputation, who ended his police career with involvement in the illegal drug trade.

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

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Will Bohol teenager win ‘Catwalk Philippines’ model search?

When “Catwalk Philippines Modelling Competition 2018” unveiled the finalists, you might notice that one of the contestants is a Boholana — and, indeed, she is! She’s none other than Danica Joy Galon Mahumot, 17, daughter of Juliano Mahumot and Claudia Galon, who was discovered accidentally while swimming in a beach.

Danica is now in Manila where other contestants are undergoing training programs focused on the physical, mental and emotional strength needed to create a successful brand as a model. The girls are facing tough competition which is, according to her manager, “more rigid and vigorous.”

And what are her preparations for the contest which will culminate in July?

 At 17, Danica Joy Mahumot is the first and only Boholana who will compete in the “Catwalk Philippines Modelling Competition 2018.”  Contributed Photo

At 17, Danica Joy Mahumot is the first and only Boholana who will compete in the “Catwalk Philippines Modelling Competition 2018.”  Contributed Photo

“Actually, I'm not the type of a girl that is always conscious about appearance. But since I am now one of the candidates in this large competition, I am starting to observe my food intake and doing some workouts to have a fit body,” shared Danica who hails from Barangay Booy in Tagbilaran City.

“I am also starting to watch modeling related videos to increase my knowledge about it and get some tips about posture and walking as well,” she added.

Does Danica make other girls jealous or insecure because she happens to be the first and only (Top 15 out of 100 aspirants) Boholana in the contest?
 Danica Joy Galon Mahumot (2nd from right)
 is one of the finalists of the “Catwalk Philippines
Modelling Competition 2018.” 
Contributed Photo/Catwalk Philippines
"Why," asked Danica, "They have no reason to be."

Discovered by Khim Roger Ryan Magtagad Amora last year while swimming in Caingget Beach (the home of koja and other fresh seafoods) in Tagbilaran City, Danica is proving her mettle as a model in the local events.

 “At first look, she has a towering height. She is a Supermodel waiting to happen," said Khim who invited Danica to become part of her growing The Art Nouveau (Tan) Models.

Khim said Danica is “disciplined and determined.”

An Aquarian (January 30, 2001), Danica stands 5’9”; weighs 119 lbs.; measures 34-25-34, and wears small-sized T-shirts, and size-10 shoes.

Have you always wanted to join modeling since you were small?   Back then, I really don't know what modeling is and I didn't even expect that I will be a model because I don't have any interest with it. It just happened when Ate Khim approached and told me if I am willing and interest to be a member of The Art Nouveau or TAN Models. At first, I am hesitant and doubtful  yet I tried myself and here I am.

Would you rather be smart but not too beautiful, or beautiful but not too smart? I would rather be smart but not too beautiful because I believe in the popular saying "What is beauty if the brain is empty." For me, it would be a shame if you are that pretty but you don't have any knowledge about something because nowadays, people will make fun of you if you are in that situation. Nothing can compare to a girl of not having that perfect appearance but has the intelligence, talents, and skills.

What do you think is the smartest thing that you’ve done so far?  Joining  the “Catwalk Philippines Modelling Competition 2018”. I believe if one doors closes another door will open. I was shock when I got eliminated in the Modelling I had joined. I know the fact that I gave all my best that I can do. But I guess that wasn’t meant for me. So when Ate Khim informed me that there’s a screening for modeling competition in Manila I asked the Permission of my family and convinced them that I want to explore and prove My Worth. I went to Manila without any assurance if I'll be chosen. But everything is God’s planned. I was chosen as one of the finalists. An answered prayer and this is a big break for me and another opportunity for my modeling career.

What are your winning traits?  I have confidence, I don't give up easily. My family is my source of my strength, and most of all, I put God  first above all.

What winning tips you get from your trainor/handler considering your Ate Khim is a “kontesera” in gay beauty pageants? I am  so much proud and thankful having Ate Khim as my manager and being part of The Art Nouveau Model. He/She is so strict when it comes to serious matter. He/She told us to always in ourselves and always put our feet in the ground.

 Danica Joy Mahumot with her manager
Khim Roger Ryan Magtagad Amora who
discovered her last year while swimming
 in Caingget Beach in Tagbilaran City.
Contributed Photo
Do you have secrets sustaining your poise, your grace under pressure, especially during the crucial points in any contest?  I always ignore the presence of the audience as if I'm the only person on the place.

Who’s your role model?  Ever since my sister (Dolly Jean) has been my role model. She always keep saying to chase my dreams and never give up.

Young people today are liberated and adventurous, willing to try everything. What's your stand on pre-marital sex?  Honestly, I'm against on pre-marital sex because they still don't have blessings from God. But I respect every individual’s decisions. They have their own story too and nobody is perfect.

What is your stand on divorce in the Philippines?   I'm against about it. Marriage is a symbol of love and unity , then why do you even dare to marry the person if in just a simple misunderstanding leads to divorce. Do you think being married is just a game? What's the use of the vows if you can't even stand for it.

How about the war on drugs? Sadly, the effects of drug addiction are felt on many levels as it destroys the lives and future of our countrymen. Drugs should be eradicated. We should punish those pushers and save the users.  I strongly support the move of our President Rodrigo Duterte to reduce and possibly eliminate drug addiction in their country.

What’s your take on the transgender issue (should transgender be allowed to compete in beauty contests for women)?  I think transgender shouldn't be allowed to compete in any beauty contest for women because they are not born as women. They are all giving the right spot to exist and shine. And I believe transgenders are gifted and special. We have to respect and accept them in our society for equality and diversity.

If you were to change something in yourself, what would it be?  It would be my sleeping habit because I sleep late and wake up late.

What is your favorite quote?  Everything happens for a reason.

Describe yourself in three (3) words:  Happy go lucky.

How's your love life?  I don't have a lovelife!  (She told VRS later that her studies, a senior high at Holy Name University and modelling career are her priorities.)

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

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Boholana beauty queen Karen Gallman gets engaged to Aussie bf

Scene: Tessie Jaya-Pagdato, proprietor of Tessie’s Sweets & Pastries passed away, her daughter Ines announced on Tuesday, June 14. Tessie’s Sweets and Pastries began in 1999 in Baclayon town, known as the pastry capital of Bohol. Tessie’s Sweets and Pastries offers tourists the experience of making their bestseller, broas (lady fingers). In 2008, Tessie 
Tessie Jaya-Pagdato
was interviewed on GMA’s “100 % Pinoy” hosted by Miss Universe 1999 first runner-up Miriam Quimbao for her ubi (purple yam) jam which remains one of Bohol’s favorite delicacies. She shared her secret that boiling the ubi is not the most nutritious option because some of the vitamins are lost into the cooking water.  “Just steam the ubi without losing its nutritional content,” she said.

Scene: This (surprise) announcement from Rammel Cagulada, chief of staff provincial board member Dionisio Victor Balite: “After having been silent for quite a time, I am now disclosing without fear of contradiction, that Hon. Board Member Dionisio Victor Ancog Balite, Ph.D. has accepted with profound humility the Boholano people's persistent clamor for him to run as the next VICE - GOVERNOR of the Province of Bohol!”

Scene: Boholano film producer/writer Achinette Joy Villamor during the Gawad Urian 2018  (her film, “Balangiga: Howling Wilderness,” won the Best Picture): “They call us a third world country. That is wrong. What they should call us is Previously Colonized Country. We are not behind Europe and the U.S because we’re poor, lacking in resources, or just slow in development. We are behind them because every decade we devoted our labor, resources, and land to developing their country is a decade we could not use developing our own. Colonialism is evil, and in the present time, there is no bigger symbol of colonialism than those three bells that the U.S took from Balangiga. Those bells belong to us. We have the right to ask that they be returned because they belong to us. Let’s bring those bells home.”

 PO2 Arlene Manatad, the first and only
 woman member of the elite police
Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team in
 Bohol meets PNP Chief Director General Oscar
 Albayalde during his command visit to Bohol
Provincial Police Office on Friday, June 15.  Leo Udtohan
Scene: The command visit of PNP Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde at the Bohol Provincial Police Office on Friday, June 16.  Albayalde conferred the coveted PNP Medalya ng Kagalingan (Medal of Merit) to some Bohol police for their heroism. For  service of warrant of arrest against the Most Wanted Person of Central Visayas  Emigdio  Aparece Jr.: PSupt Gaylord Tamayo, SPO1 Justeofino Hinlayagan, PO3 Enrico Tayactac, PO2 Jose Felicisimo Rebosura, PO2 Arlene  Manatad, PO2 Jonald  Jungco, PO1 Martin J Asucan, PO1James D Montalban and PO1 Gil E Mesiona (SWAT PMFC);  PO3 Junre Calvo, PO2 Jessie Cepedoza and PO2 Enrique Cepedoza (PIB Bohol), PO3 Julius Buyan (Danao Police Station), Technical Sgt. Sandy Uy (PAF Personnel); and Major Dennis  (17ISU, ISG, AFP) ; for buy-bust operation conducted against Rey Jacquese AraÑa in Panglao, Bohol:   PSINSP Romas Labasbas, PO3 Reynante Buntag Fucolan,PO2 Nelson Bacarisas Macaraya, PO2 Nerio Loretero Guioguio, PO2 Gimmel Fernando Olegario, PO1 Jerson Sotomayor Entice, PO1 Junzin Roy Quijada Albano, PO1 Rommel Roy Lamdagan Villareal, PNP Drug Enforcement Group (DEG) SOU 5 personnel, PIB personnel and Maritime Police Unit personnel; and for buy-bust Operation against John Gerald Anson, of Magsija, Balilihan, Bohol who was listed in the PNP’s drugs watch list as newly identified “drug pusher”: PSupt Patricio Degay, Jr., P03 Jonathan Argao,PO3 Clyd Lagumbay, PO3 Benjamin Ceniza Jr., PO2 John Butch Epile, PO2 Ray Neil Bibat,  PO2 Delfin Goloso, and PO3 Ignacio Inojales, PO3 Ruel Robles, PO2 Raffy Jotojot and PO2 Wanie Dotillos of the SWAT Team.

Bb. Pilipinas-Intercontinental 2018 Karen Gallman will surely remember June 2018.

The beauty queen who hails from Ubay town got the surprise of her life as her Australian boyfriend Ian Garton, chose the month of June to propose to her.

Beauty queen Karen Gallman revealed her engagement to Australian boyfriend. Courtesy of Karen Gallman’s  Instagram account

Karen  posted on Instagram a photo of herself and Ian, wearing her sparkling engagement ring.

She wrote, “WE ARE ENGAGED!  Two weeks today, the love of my life asked me to marry him..I said YES of course!  Thank you for making me the happiest girl on the planet, I am so blessed to have you in my life. I love you with all  my heart,” adding the hashtags #engaged #forever

Karen’s Instagram feed showed that two love to travel. Just recently, they were in Santorini, Greece.

Karen was born in Barangay Fatima in Ubay town to Gavin William Gallman, a retired Australian soldier, and Ubay native Editha Bayonas.

She spent her childhood days at Barangay Bood before she migrated to Australia at age 8.

She first joined Binibining Pilipinas in 2012 at the age of 19 and made it to the top 12 of the national beauty pageant and was also named Miss Photogenic of the batch.

Before trying her luck again in Bb Pilipinas 2018, she worked as an operations analyst in a company in London for two years.

Last April, VRS covered Karen’s homecoming. She was lovelier in person when she spoke to us in her thick Bisaya accent.

She said her mother Editha trained them to speak Bisaya and embrace the Boholano way even if they were living in Brisbane, Australia.

Parishioners wear black ‘to express deep sorrow and indignation’

Bishop Alberto Uy of the Diocese of Tagbilaran, recalling the deaths of three Catholic priests in the country in six months, remarked that “it is costly to follow Jesus.”

 A Holy Mass dedicated to the slain three priests was held
on Friday, June 15, at the St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral
 in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, officiated by Tagbilaran Bishop Alberto Uy.
  Leo Udtohan
Uy mentioned this during the Mass held at the St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral on Friday for the slain priests.

The bishop said priests are not enemies but are gifts God has given to guide people.

“Ang mga pari gasa sa Diyos para sa iyang katawhan. Dili sila atong kaaway, sila ang nagmatuto ug nagpalambo sa pagtuo sa Diyos,” he said.

Some 3,000 people, wearing black shirts “to express deep sorrow and indignation,” participated in the Mass.

On June 10, Fr. Richmond Nilo was shot dead inside a chapel while preparing to celebrate the Sunday mass in Zaragosa, Nueva Ecija. He was the third Catholic priest to be killed in the Philippines in the past six months.

Prof. Marianito Luspo who attended the Mass noted that violence and crime happen in many Catholic countries.

“It happened in many so-called Catholic countries because if people do not stand up and say enough then we shall have enabled evil to prevail over us,” said Luspo.

“That’s why I am here because the church calls for my presence here. I can always lend my little voice for the voice of grief, the voice of sadness and above all, the voice of protest that this is happening at all,” added Luspo.

Meanwhile, in a resolution passed during its session last Thursday, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Bohol also condemned the murder of the priests.

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

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Meet the candidates of Miss Bohol 2018

Scene: Happy June 12 Philippine Independence Day birthday to Engr. Jerome John J. Gabin, Siquijodnon by birth, but now Bol-anon by heart, who is counting his blessings and is thankful to God for his 48th year of existence, including the accolade he received as DTI Region 7’s (Central Visayas) Best SSF Provincial Coordinator from Department of Trade and Industry  Secretary Ramon M. Lopez,  for demonstrating the “Serbisyong Higit pa sa Inaasahan” in sustaining the implementation of the DTI-Regional Operations Group’s Shared Service Facilities (SSF) Project and his daughter Cielo’s placing 6th  in the entire country in the March 18, 2018 Civil Service Exam PPT – sub-professional level, the only top performing examinee from Visayas. He will have a simple “pahinungod” with wife Fiel, children Cielo and Renji, Mommy Lou, and Mama Wincie and other close family members in Siquijor.

Scene:  At least 200 students from  Barangay Booy in  Tagbilaran City   availed the “Libre Tupi”  and school supplies a day before the opening  of classes last Monday, June 4, for them to look “fresh and good.”  It was the 8th year, according to re-elected Barangay Kagawad Clement Paulinel Ingking who organized the event.

 The Miss Bohol 2018 candidates with Bohol
 Gov. Edgar Chatto, Vice Governor Dioning Balite,
provincial administrator Ae Damalerio
and provincial information officer Totsie Escobia.
Photo courtesy: Rey Tutas
The 21 candidates who will be vying for the title of Miss Bohol 2018 were introduced last Friday, June 8, during the Kita ug Ang Gobernador with Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto and some members of the media at the Governor’s Mansion.

The contestants will compete for the crown in July during a coronation ceremony to be held at the Bohol Cultural Center, with the winner succeeding Pauline Amelinckx of Tubigon.

The early favorites were Miss Sikatuna Iris May Libres who is becoming a pilot, Miss Bilar Jesseth Nez Pasagad who is a petroleum engineer, Miss Jagna Roselle May Cuarto Acebes who is a magna cum laude graduate and Miss Dimiao Trixie Cahanap, the youngest of the batch.

Beauty pageant enthusiasts said this could have the most number of smart minds.

Other candidates are Hanjhen Julio (Balilihan), Wenna Mae Alo (Baclayon), Liahona Lane  Lorzano (Clarin), Kristine Charrisse Enriquez  ( Corella),  Hannah Mae Cimeni (Dauis) ,  Erika Limbago (Loboc), Charysse Jane Roferos (Loon), Ma. Mediatrix Escabarte  (Maribojoc), Johanne Benedict Labor (Sagbayan),  Hazel Abrau (San Miguel), Faith Lucille Lumosbog (Sevilla),  Raclaire Stephan Trigo (Tagbilaran City),  Mae Paracuelles ( Talibon), Ma. Bethel Rose  Rosco (Tubigon), Anasela Zarisa Gaviola (Ubay),and  Chime Marie Pajo (Valencia).

Tagbilaran Port features modern seaport facilities

Last Friday, Allen Doydora (of dyRD) and Dave Responte (of dyTR) tagged me along to visit the office of Port Manager James Galantao.

 Tagbilaran Port Manager  James Galantao
 says the Tagbilaran Port, which is one of
 the busiest ports in the country, features modern
Leo Udtohan
We’re there to inquire about MV Lite Ferry 12 which slipped from its dock and slammed into a concrete diviver at the Tagbilaran port last Thursday.

Tagbilaran Port, one of the busiest ports in the country, features modern facilities. The predeparture area is fully air-conditioned and fully covered, unlike before. It has met the world-class standards.

Crimes and accidents at Tagbilaran port can now be monitored and documented with the installation of 32 high definition closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras placed in strategic areas.

These cameras have a zooming capability of approximately 350 degree.

Galantao said that with the installation of the CCTV cameras, entry and exit of criminals can be monitored.

If a wanted person is spotted on the CCTV camera entering the port gate to take a vessel, he can be arrested at the passenger terminal.

Vehicular accidents, especially hit-and-run cases, can also be traced using the CCTV cameras.

The construction of the covered walk is almost done which will connect from the entrance to the new building terminal.

Initially, there will be a space, a “Behold Bohol” stop over where tourists can have a glimpse of Bohol.

“The port is just the beginning for more Bohol adventures,” said Galantao.  

The renovation and rehabilitation works is Tagbilaran Port’s answer to the public's clamor for better port facilities and public service, and in recognition of the importance of the tourism industry.

‘Sufficient teachers, but no enough classrooms’ in Bohol school

Students at Dr. Cecilio Putong National High School (DCPNHS) were greeted with noise from an on-going construction of adjacent two classroom buildings during the first day of classes last Monday, June 4.

The backhoe drilling could be heard from the school’s gymnasium while some 1,200 Grade 7 students were waiting for their classroom assignments.

At least 1, 200 incoming Grade 7 students at Dr. Cecilio Putong
 National High School in Tagbilaran City, which has the biggest
population in Bohol province, were waiting for their room
assignments last Monday, June 4.  Assistant school principal
Melchor Daniel, Jr. said they have sufficient teachers
 but no enough classrooms . Some
  teachers  were using
lapel mic while teaching to preserve their voice.
  Leo Udtohan

Overcrowded classrooms and a lack of school desks were the common problems reported on the first day of classes, according to assistant school principal Melchor Daniel, Jr.

“We have sufficient teachers, but no enough classrooms,” said Daniel.

He said the 4-story two classroom buildings will soon have 40 classrooms to answer their needs.

“The new buildings are still being constructed and I don’t think they can be completed anytime soon. Hopefully, this can answer our classroom needs,” Daniel said.

DCPNHS has the biggest student population in Bohol province. As of Monday, they have 6,000 students – and counting.

Daniel said they had to adopt the double shifting scheme to accommodate all enrollees. The first shift is from 7 a.m. to 12 noon, and the second shift is from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Engr. Jerome John Gabin receives the
DTI Region 7’s (Central Visayas) Best SSF Provincial
Coordinator from Department of Trade and Industry
Secretary Ramon M. Lopez. Contributed Photo
Daniel said some classes have to be relocated to their makeshift classrooms or temporary shelters “because we simply can’t accommodate all our students.”

The school was likewise forced to refuse transferees, Daniel noted, and only accommodate old students who still have to enroll.

“Unfortunately, we are now refusing enrolment because of the classroom problem and we simply cannot accommodate everybody. Everybody wants to come to our school but we can (only) take in so much,” he said.

Meantime, teachers have to deal with 50-60 students per class, and even take on several classes.
There were at least 220 teachers at DCPNHS. Some teachers opted to use lapel mic during classes to preserve their voice and prevent fatigue.

At the faculty room, Grade 7 teacher Brigida Badlon was checking her lapel mic before proceeding to class.

Badlon, 39, has been using lapel mic in her classes for the past six years.

According to her, using lapel mic has prove practical and effective since it enabled her to overcome usual classroom noises and distractions like the clatter of students hustling through the hallway and sound from an on-going construction of classroom buildings.

“It helps me not to raise my voice and it relaxes me,” said Badlon, who bought her own lapel mic.

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