Saturday, April 28, 2012

15 Unsung places of Bohol, Philippines

Scene: It’s the merry month of May! The feast of Saint Joseph, patron saint of Tagbilaran City, on May 1 starts the month-long fiestas in Bohol. Everyday is fiesta and visitors and strangers can “eat the house.” Plenty of inasal, humba, hamunada, tuba, desserts, etc…Everybody is welcome, no invitations required!
Scene:  From Atty. Greg Delgado: The Lungsuranon Performances Arts Ensemble (LUPAE) of Tubigon failed to place in Folk Dance National Competition sponsored by NCCA at MOA but the paisanos learned a lot competing against Vigan, Palawan, Phil. Normal University, etc. Calling NCCA insiders like Gardy Labad to invest into these kids which defeated best dance schools in Cebu recently earning them an invite to this prestigious dance contest.
Scene:  The body of the Boholano seaman who died during an Iranian Navy operation for the rescue of the crew of a hijacked ship off the southwestern coast of India last month finally arrived home last Thursday. Stephen Barbarona, 33, of Antequera town, suffocated in heavy smoke in the vessel’s burning engine room, where he hid during the gun battle. (Prof. Reinerio Augusto Real, who represented Gov. Edgar Chatto, was at the airport to meet the bereaved family. Thanks a bunch to SPO1 Melinda Mendez Basalo, PO2 Reymar Catubigan, Marcelo Orioque and Reniel Mendez for facilitating my request.)
Photo: ICM
Scene:  Island City Mall was taking part in the celebration of Earth Day's 42nd anniversary staging the Miss Teen Earth 2012. The nine candidates took part in a tree planting activity of the Alturas Group of Companies in Brgy. San Pascual, Ubay supervised by DENR. Karen Morfreux of Anda was crowned Miss Teen Earth 2012. Miss ICM Teen Air was Irish Cleanuar,  Erica Jane Mejos  was crowned  Miss Teen ICM Water  and Frances Marie Montejo was declared Miss ICM Teen Fire.
Scene: The University of Bohol/Rafael Palma College grand alumni homecoming is on May 15 at the University of Bohol. The event coincides with the Tigum Bol-anon sa Tibuok Kalibutan (TBTK) gathering slated on May 8-9. A registration fee of Php 200 is required for the dinner-fellowship. Contact Renee Marjorie Plazos (0900-528-6198), Atty. Greg Austral (0920-903-7894) and Reinerio Augusto Real (0916-457-6504).
Inspired by Lonely Planet’s unsung places of the world, Bared came out of some destinations, no matter how beautiful and stunning, drop off the tourist radar.
 It's not easy to put together 15 unsung and unfairly underrated places because Bohol is known for its terrific scenery, history and culture. It has great towns, countryside and a coastline.
I remind you, this is completely subjective. You may have your own favorite unsung places. Here’s a sampling of places to spark your interest, away from the usual tourist spots, mostly overlooked because of chance, geography and the presence of more glamorous and well-promoted neighbors.
1. Anda
This anomalous town is top of a must-visit list. Anda feels like a hidden oasis where people can enjoy and relax in its white sandy beaches and bright turquoise sea. The shoreline remains largely untouched by buildings and infrastructures, and a coral reef that keeps the waters calm also makes for an ideal snorkeling and swimming spot. In fact, Anda has yet to be completely invaded by tourism and is, therefore, still rather secluded and peaceful.  Locals recommend that you take a trip to the less-travelled ‘other’ side of Lamanok Point, a place to see hematite rock painting and ancient burial caves. Ask the guide about the love story of Iska and Mugan.  
Half a mile of sparkling sand, palm trees swaying over a white beach, lush tropical plants, and endless sunshine make Anda one of Bohol’s most scenic beaches. Photo by Leo P. Udtohan
2. Pandanon Island and Banacon Island, Getafe
Pandanon Island has gradually gained popularity because of its natural white sand that extends into the sea and the church which stands in the middle of the island. The neighboring Banacon Island is the home of the largest mangrove plantation in Asia.
One of many islands in Getafe town, Pandanon Island stands out with its blend of chic and island relaxation.   
Early morning view at Banacon Island Photo by: Leo P. Udtohan
3. Bien Unido
Perhaps it’s the lure of Ubay that leads people to forget Bien Unido. Whatever the reason, this graceful town is bizarrely under-visited. Those who make it out here will discover the underwater grottos. The wilderness beach on Jao Island has some of the most pristine sand to be found.  For locals, Bien Unido is the best place to catch some waves and have some fun in the sun in the northern Corregidor of Bohol.
Bien Unido charms people Credit: LGU-Bien Unido
4. Mahaba Island, Talibon       
Mahaba Island's popularity is on the rise, and for good reason. This small island in Talibon is a hot spot for beach-goers, and locals suggest Jayvee Beach Resort as the place to soak up the sun and swim in the sea.
A warm welcome from Jayvee Beach Resort in Mahaba Island, Talibon
5. Loon
This island prides itself of having one of the most beautiful dive sites in the Philippines. Local sightseers enjoy the crystal-clear water of Piong Falls located between Nagtuang and Canmaag.  In some upland barangays, water flows from springs that have encouraged the local folks to develop their own bathing and washing areas.   
Canawa Spring
6.  Candijay
Candijay’s Canawa Spring is not on most travelers’ itineraries, but if you have time it rewards exploration.  The water is crystal blue from January to May. Locals would tell you that someone measured the depth of the water but the instrument did not touch the bottom after 50 fathoms.  The Can-umantad Falls is a must. There are some great rice terraces in Candijay near the village of Cadapdapan. 
7. Jagna
The town of Jagna shimmers with beaches made up of smooth white pebbles or smooth slate. But they are all washed by waters that are crystal blue—the most unforgettable color in the town.  It’s chilly and balmy in the off-the-track Mayana, which is famous for its flowers. The waterfalls of Kinahugan and Boctol are a must-see. Malbog Hill provides a panoramic view of the wonderful works of God's hands. Everyone knows calamay, but who takes the time to stop off at Ching’s?
8. Logarita Spring, Bilar
Often bypassed in favor of neighboring Carmen, Bilar is worthy of more attention, with its cold Logarita Spring. Logarita is extensively covered by a beautiful mahogany forest which is also home to some flora and fauna.  The Simply Butterflies Conservation Center is the first butterfly livelihood breeding and conservation program in Bohol with a butterfly garden full of flowering plants and a nature trail. Poblacion sells flavored pintos and alupe produced fresh on the premises each day.
9. Himuntagon Hills, Loay
Barangay Botoc Occidental is an astonishing surprise in an oft-forgotten corner of Loay. It’s worth planning to spend the day here, so you can admire the scenic place of Himuntagon Hills overlooking the Mindanao Sea.  The hills bring to the traveler a feeling of serenity and tranquility and provide fascinating scenes during sunrise and sunset. 
10. Guindulman
One of the hip spots for the air-kissing, well-heeled set, Guindulman boasts some of the prettiest rocky and unspoiled shoreline. The Bunhayag Hills overlooks Anda and Guindulman and is an oasis of relaxation and romance. If you have an interest in archeology, ancient civilizations or just love exploring, then barangay Basdio is the perfect combination of sun and adventure.
11. Antequera
This unassuming yet charismatic town retains its glorious native handicrafts. It also comes alive when you visit Mag-asao Falls. All summer long, the sound of the waterfall is music to the ears.  When it comes to the overall waterfalling experience, Mag-aso Falls is hard to beat.
12. Tubigon
 This town, which is blessed with white beaches and sandbars, hills and mountain ridges for trekking, retains an enticing, elegiac sense of the past. Another heritage of Tubigon is manifested in its handicrafts such as the loom weaving in Pinayagan Norte and Sur, Panaytayon, and Ilijan Norte and Ilijan Sur. Climb Mt. Ilijan for flora and fauna.
13. Garcia-Hernandez
The rocky coastline has a number of smaller beaches.  The coastline is partly protected with coconut trees that provide a pleasant shade.  The Roxas Park is perfect for summer getaway. The water is beautifully clean and clear and the area is beautiful. The park is also ideal for outdoor activities.
14. Sierra-Bullones
Visitors can’t forget the magnificent rural panorama and variety of color, a profusion of greenery and flowers.  While most tourists come to Sierra-Bullones for their hidden springs especially Bohol Paradise Hills Resort, the hilly middle of this town offers some of the country’s best rice terrace travel.  Walking amongst the rice terraces of Sierra-Bullones is a feast for the senses.
The rice terraces of Sierra-Bullones stand firmly with all its beauty and charm but due to its remoteness it has been overlooked. Photo by Leo P. Udtohan
15. San Isidro
Besides a friendly welcome, you’ll experience an off-beat allure in this town. Hiking in the nearby Candungaw Peak in Barangay Candungao is a great San Isidro outdoors adventure. The view from atop this peak is breathtaking in a number of ways.  Try to visit Cantijong Cave in Cansague Sur and Kilab-kilab Falls in Baunos.
Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at, follow leoudtohan at Twitter/ Facebook.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

50 things to do this Summer 2012

Yes, indeed the days are longer and the nights are shorter… it’s summer na summer!
Bared came up with a list of things to do that can make your summer of 2012 more memorable and enjoyable.  Read on.
1.     Give your Facebook page a summery look.
2.     Experience firefly kayaking and moonlit paddling! See an entire tree glowing with thousands of fireflies like a Christmas trees.  Call/text Kayakasia at 0932-855-2928 or email:
3.     The hot weather of summer always see a boom of summer coolers for relief: visit Chowking for halo-halo special, Bohol Bee Farm/The Buzz for homemade ice-creams, Metro Centre for halo-halo and shakes, Garden Café’ for halo-halo with pumpkin pie and shakes, Shoppers' Mart for halo-halo and buko pandan, Jo's Chicken Inato "Payag" for buko shake and green mango shake and Bohol House of Ube a.k.a. Mama Nena's Ube Jam for the extra ube ice cream and buko pandan macaron with ube filling!
4.     The sun's out? Head to Panglao Island, Pandanon Island, Bien Unido and Anda. Believe me, the beach is just the beginning!
5.     Research your family tree. Compiling your family history is a priceless legacy for future generations.
6.     Learn about nature and animals. Visit the new home of Prony, butterfly sanctuaries in Bilar and Sagbayan, Tarsier Botanica in Panglao and tarsier sanctuary in Corella and Loboc.  
7.     Start a blog,  zine or twitter this summer. Learn to use Photoshop and instagram for photo sharing.
8.     Paint your toe nails and fingernails with bright sparkly polish.
9.     Fly a kite. Haven't flown a kite since you were a tot? Fly your kite on the beach or in an open field, where the wind is often at its strongest mph. The wind is calling!
10.  Donate some of the toys and clothes you no longer use. Recycle bottles and donate the money to a local charity.
#4 The beach is just the beginning. The province just abounds with gorgeous beaches from north to south, east to west. LPU
11.  Adopt a pet. You can ask Dr. Gerry Egos and Dr. Homer Singco for tips.
12.  Spend time with your grandparents. It is a blessing to have grandparents around. There is a lot they can share with the young in terms of experiences, values, love and time.
13.  Buy some wacky sunglasses and wear them in public!  They can be ultra-big, ultra-goofy, ultra-glam and ultra-anything for an ultra-hilarious day!
14.  Learn a new sport. Learn a new dance. Learn to write a poem. Learn a new song. Learn to play a new musical instrument.
15.  Try new dishes at Crab House, Miravilla Resort, Gerry’s Grill, Mang Inasal , Rai-Rai Ken, Payag, Loboc Riverwatch Floating Restaurant, Oops Bar and Garden Café.
16.  Visit Loboc River, the river of life. Feel the breeze, relax and enjoy the rondalla and music while eating and cruising along the Loboc River.
17.  Learn a foreign language. Say “Bonjour” (French), “Selamat pagi” (Indonesian), “Al salaam a’alaykum” (Arabic) and “Ni hao” (Mandarin)!
18.  Go outside and find 20 different kinds of flowers. How many flowers you can identify? Bougainvilla, gumamela, orchids, santan, cosmos…
19.  Make a summer scrapbook or cut up an old greeting card picture and make a puzzle.
20.  Watch your favorite soap operas!  I heard Princess and I and Dong Yi!
21.  Go stargazing. Did you know that the three belt stars of Orion represent the Three Wise Men?
22.  Do some charity works. Check the Gov. Celestino Gallares Regional Hospital and Sunshine Home. Volunteer to read to children at the Provincial Library. Visit the Philippine National Red Cross-Bohol chapter if you want to give the safest blood possible to save life.
23.  Be a fan of thrilling adventures as you feel the rush! Visit EAT Danao and Loboc Zipline!
24.  Interact with Chito Visarra, Fred Araneta and Jerry Pabe on dyRD’s Inyong Alagad  and Tagbilaran By Nite.  You can also interact with BG GuingGuing, Ted Ayeng and Atty. Salva Diputado on dyTR’s Cuentas Claras.  
#3 Summer coolers to quench your thirst on a hot summer days. Credit: House of Ube
25.  Have a fill of Boholano bread and pastries at Central Bakery for pan de sal and binangkal, Jojie's Bakeshop's sliced bread, torta, cay-cay, otap; BQ Bread Basket's farmers bread, French bread and bahug-bahug (colored bread); Alturas/Island City Mall Bread Cottage's Spanish bread; Ramirez Cakes and Pastries' cakes; Shopper's Mart's torta; Jojie’s Painitang Bol-anon, Pasonangka's special siopao, Empanada Alma's empanada, Park 'n Go's caramel bread, Sunny Angel’s Peanut Nuggets, Osang’s broa, Tessie Pagdato’s broa; and Bohol Bee Farm's camote bread, squash and carrot muffins.
26.  Make a music video– and upload it on youtube! I’ve had the time of my life, and I’ve never felt this way before...
27.  Tune in to FM stations for songs. Inday Rufing (Basta Kiss FM, lingaw jud) and Inday Charity (True Radio). Memorize their pick-up lines: Ginamush, tugnosh, dugosh and mamaligya pa og kangkong sa pantalan!  If you like showbiz, tune in to Ped Bolanio’s Showbiz Rampa on dyRD or to Anjing Poquita and Inday Charity’s Showbiz Chika.
28.  Go on a nature hike, backpacking/camping trip in Bilar. Don't forget to bring a camera.
29.  Enroll in summer classes (ballet, art and theater workshop).
30.  Let Dr. James Sombrio and Dr. Aileen Tan-Magdoza remove those wrinkles on your face so that you can face the summer "flawlessly"!
31.  Look for old family photos and share them on Facebook.
32.  Be the master of kusina!! Learn to cook new recipes for family and friends.
33.  Live a healthy life. Stop smoking, watch your diet, go for a walk or run, take vitamins, sleep on time and drink at least eight glasses of water per day.
34.  Change something in or add something to your room and clean it, too. Sell your old stuff. You'll clean out your room and make a little cash at the same time.
35.  Read the Bible or Q’uran. Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.
36.  Don’t entertain negative things in life. Unload emotional baggage.
37.  Any problem with your health? Visit the Bohol Medical Clinic for diagnostic tests. If you have time, consult Dr. Angelito Lechago.
38.  Have a perfect smile this summer! Visit Dr. Josephine Tago Yap and Dr. Chai Econg (Yap Dental Clinic, City Square or the Bohol Dental Clinic at ICM, +638 501-7767), Dr. Mary Grace Ochavillo-Uy (J&N Dental Clinic, 2nd floor, City Pharmacy +638 411-5317), and Dr. Rhenz Alvin Uy Acedo (Acedo Dental Clinic in Fatima, Ubay, Bohol, +638 518-8286/0908-7793341).
39.  Don’t fail to visit Tagbilaran City’s Caingget Beach. Taste the famous koja (a coral clam which is believed to have aphrodisiac qualities), sinugbang sunghan and tuba.
40.  Watch movies at the Island City Mall's Screenville Cinema and BQ Cinema.          
41.  Make a CD of your favorite summertime songs. Summertime and the livin' is easy, fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high…
42.  This summer, enjoy inviting water of Lonoy Spring in Jagna, Mag-aso Falls in Antequera, Logarita Spring in Bilar and Badiang Spring in Valencia.
43.  Play your favorite childhood games with the kids. Those childhood games were the ’good old days’ before TV and video games: hula hoop, maring-maring, chatong, Chinese garter, taguanay (hide and seek) and bato-lata. Playtime has evolved.
44.  Change something about your hair or make-up. Ask Tracy Torres Remolador, Jojo and Bebei Tagoctoc, Charlow Arbasto, Rolly Ingking and Ryan Sines. For the latest summer collections, see EJ Relampagos, Henry Baron. Omie Auza and Maximiel.
45.  Make sure you have these tropical fruits abundant this summer: lomboy (black/java plum), avocado, watermelon, sineguelas (Spanish plum), kaimito (star apple) and bayabas (guava).  They are not only delicious but also good for the health!
46.  Take your dog/pet for a walk. While walking, take pictures of trees, flowers, people, etc. Turn it into a photo collage.
47.  Watch the sunrise and sunset. When the sun rises, it's like a new hope is born inside!  It represents renewal, rebirth. Some people prefer the sunset because it is worth getting up early to watch the sun wake up, the promise of a new day. 
48.  Get your community’s events list for the summer and attend an event.
49.  It’s more fun in Bohol in the whole month of May! Attend town fiestas and eat humba, inasal and hamunada! 
50.  Continue reading The Bohol Chronicle for  timely, relevant and unadulterated news, good variety of content, balanced and objective reporting and a responsible brand of journalism.
Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at, follow leoudtohan at Twitter/ Facebook.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Zeneline Bulalaque: Another Boholana beauty in Miss Philippines-Earth

Scene: The Bb. Pilipinas 2012 will finally announce the winners of its most prestigious beauty titles— Bb. Pilipinas-Universe, Bb. Pilipinas-International and Bb. Pilipinas-Tourism tonight, April 15, at the Big Dome (covered live by ABS-CBN). We wish good luck to Karen Gallman (# 1) and Fer Mary Baliquig (# 24)!
Scene: Congratulations to Rhea Mae Arcales of Bohol Wisdom School for winning 2nd place in editorial writing English category (elementary division) in the National Schools Press Conference (NSPC) held in Puerto Princesa, Palawan on April 9-13.  Rhea’s coach is Billy Cosares. This piece of good news is relayed to Bared by DepED City Division ES1 Filipino Supervisor Dodong Almedilla.
Another Boholana beauty who will wear on her sash Municipality of Batuan, Bohol, in this year’s Miss Philippines-Earth, is Zeneline Ancog Bulalaque.
Beauty watchers have described her as drop-dead gorgeous, every inch queenly.
Miss Philippines-Earth 2012 Candidate No. 6 Zeneline Bulalaque from the Municipality of Batuan, Bohol.   
Photo Courtesy: Glenn Tumanda Gamayot of Glennboi Photography
Make-Up Artist: Cana Apale
 Gown: Tracy Remolador Torres

“Look closely,” she would tell you, “Yes. I am very proud to say that I am definitely and absolutely original. Nothing touched, nothing changed.
Born to Lino and  Zeniza Bulalaque, Zeneline described her childhood full of epic and remarkable adventures. Her official bio on Miss Philippines-Earth says: “I would never ever trade it for anything else and it will never be forgotten. I used to climb mountains and old trees that were so huge. I fished in a pond far from home, I went highway biking using a motorbike, I cooked coconut bits in a mini forest, I ate sour stalks and I played ‘bahay-bahayan’ on a little bridge just beside Batuan highway.”
Her environmental advocacy is "Tree-planting for both land and sea." 
A Gemini (June 1, 1991), Zeneline is taking up Occupational Therapy at Cebu Doctors' University. She stands 5’6” and measures 33-25-36.

How does it feel being included in the Miss Philippines-Earth 2012 Top 50?
“Being included in the top 50 of Miss Philippines-Earth gave me the feeling of integrity, feeling of responsibility and service and most of all, it gave me the feeling of happiness, fulfilment and excitement that, this will just be a start of another journey and a new chapter in my life.”

What motivated you or who inspired you or what made you decide to join Miss Earth Philippines?
“I am proud to say the only thing that I had upon deciding to join Miss Philippines-Earth was my inner heartfelt motivation and determination to join. When I had the form, one thing was pumping on my mind  was ‘I want to join. I want to know how is it to be there. There's nothing wrong in trying anyway.’ I am inspired about how the way I think about myself now (not in an arrogant way of course) but, I used to be a low self-esteem, introvert girl way back high school it wasn't really obvious because I suck it up and leave it to my heart to adjust.  But it changed now. I am inspired by my deeds and how I worked hard to attain real confidence in me. I just thought that maybe I could do more. I can do this, so now here I am!” 
What are your preparations for the Miss Philippines-Earth?
“The things that I had my self prepared with is my knowledge. I have been researching and studying about the essentials of the environment as well as keeping tract to current issues that might be having effects to the our earth especially here in our country, Philippines. I am also going in depth upon reading articles about eco-tourism of Bohol and Batuan. I have also been preparing my body and my mind like being physically fit for the competition, and also by putting up a cognitive picture that things will never be the same when I get there. I am already resilient and flexible. But I need to have more of it, so I will be able to righteously deal and understand 49 new personalities.”
What title you want to win? Miss Philippines-Earth? Air? Fire? Water?  Eco-tourism?
“If ever I get to the top 5, (hopefully, I wish) it is already a very big hallelujah for me. But if I’d be given the chance to choose what title to win, I would always want the title Miss Philippines Earth. That way, I will be able to serve all elements in earth doing overall duties responsibly. And I would be very happy, more than willing and honoured to represent our country for the international pageant Miss Earth.”
What kind of diet do you have?
“I believe that a balanced diet together with an exercise is the most ideal and most effective in improving health and weight. Balanced diet means the 3 G's (the Go, Grow and the Glow foods) eat with control and moderation but not to the extent of food cut out and food deprivation. Next, drink lots and lots of water. Hydration entails good gastrointestinal condition which aids proper digestion of food for faster metabolism. This way, fats will be utilized as for energy use and will not be stored on your hips, belly and thighs.”

What part of your body do you think needs improvement?
“I don’t think something in my body needs more improvement because I am contented of what I am and how I look right now.”

And what part is your favorite?
“My very favorite part of my body is my face especially, my eyes. I can make myself really attractive through it. My eyes explain my feelings of a particular moment. Sometimes it might look intimidating but that's the most exciting part. My eyes can give you wrong impressions yet, when you look deeper, it provides you a revelation of my real good soul.”
What are your beauty secrets?
“I believe that expensive creams, facials, masks, etc. will never work when you lack time for beauty sleep, although it helps a little but it doesn't owe you a guarantee. It is even still obvious even if you're wearing makeup that you are stressed at the moment. Why? Because your eyes and skin will tell it. Our body needs regeneration and it entails a lot of resting for it to be done. it is always a process. Next is hydration. Drinking a lot of water aids good health to our skin. It benefits us moisturized, shiny skin. Then, choose the best body product that soothes you. Beauty doesn't have to be really expensive. it just needs a lot of caring to do.  
Who is your role model and inspiration and why?
My role model is my mother. She is my temple of protection and support. She embodies a picture of loyalty and patriotism on the service that she endows Batuan Bohol. She is a role model because rearing three children without a husband around is never easy. She imposes discipline to her children as well as to herself which makes us and others look up to her. I can see in my mother's eyes her dedication to help people in many ways she could. She is very determined to help establish programs that would promote improvement to her beloved town at the same time benefiting the despicable ones. My mom is a good, loving, caring mother and wife at the same time she is a very perceptive, kind neighbour and friend. I see my mom as a woman of prayer and selfless love. She is an example of bravery where. She stands on what she thinks is right and fight for it. She blessed by a gift in her that she never does things difficult, otherwise she does solve things and make it easy which makes me conclude why she loves her job the most. I am proud to say I have something that i got in from her. My mother was once a Dangal ng Bayan Awardee back at 2004. She has proudly made her owe legacy in our place. Now, it’s about time to take my turn and make my own.”

Young people today are liberated and adventurous, willing to try everything. What's your stand on pre-marital sex?
“Liberation today is big challenge to everybody since we Filipinos has been slowly adopting another country's culture. This challenge can be helped if we make our choices right. It is lawful that we, be aware that if we think its real love that we are feeling inside. Love is not for sex, sex is never for fun. Sex can always wait in the right age, right situation, and right time and in a right man.” 

And what is your stand on the Reproductive Health Bill?
“I am strong and straight to my stand that I say no to the bailing of the reproductive health bill. Because I believe that every species, big or small, bound to be born or unborn has the right to live. We humans carry the duty to take every responsibility that we are liable of and not be idiots and lame to drop off these duties when we fear that we could not partake these duties. I still believe in the power of abstinence. It aids discipline. It may be hard to do but all we need is practice and practice makes perfect. Patience, distraction and decrease of stimulation are the key. Let’s make use of recreational sports, relaxation strategies and rehabilitation utilization. There are a lot more things that we can do that will cause everybody no harm. Let us be agents of life.”

Do you still have time to watch the impeachment trial?
“I actually had no time to watch but I’ve heard about it.”

Should Chief Justice Renato Corono be removed from office?
“I could not really justify that, since, I hear no exact answers coming from him about the accusations brought about by his issues.. but I will go for the stand that, an impeachment would be right to a person who lies and cheats to the country he's supposed to serve with.”
What are your winning traits?
“I consider my character as a winning trait because I embody a bunch of abilities, qualities, skills that I could use as my assets for the competition. I have the grit and guts to do whatever it takes to win by not being ambivalent about it. I find meaning in all that I do and I take actions and commitment to every word that I say. When I talk about service, I do it seriously and I co-requisite it with determination and perseverance.”   

What is your favourite quote?
David Frost once said, "Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally." It stroke me determination on finally doing things that I want to do. I heard myself out which made the quote my trademark upon winning the title Ms. Cebu Rehabilitative Sciences. I believe that quotes are somehow mentors of our lives. They may be little but they instil powerful words that subdue our individual choice of path. Now, I want to share the quote that I made myself which served as my basis in everything that I do and what was doing. I know the path that I chose. I just have to say and i quote "never let fear hinder opportunities. Break a leg and go with it!" 
Have you prepared for little “surprises” such as slipping onstage like what happened to Miriam Quiambao in the 1999 Miss U pageant in Trinidad-Tobago?
“Yes I do. Things like that are expected to happen. All I have to do is take extra care and if it does happen, ill just stand up straight, smile, chin up and wave.”

If you win, and we hope you will, you will be travelling around the country to promote the Miss Earth Philippines objectives.

But if, however, you lose, simbako dili unta, what’s your alternative — modeling or showbiz?
“I have never dreamed to be a show business icon but it doesn't mean I will say, I can't be for that. But when I say modelling, the runway has always been my dream and my passion because it is what I love. But if you'll let me choose of course I’ll go for modelling.  But if I have the chances for both, I will be more than happy to take the two. Opportunity matters.” (Zeneline is modeling for Cebu-based agency Wafer Models. - LPU)

“Yes. I’ve tried. It is one of the best things why a lot of people want to visit Cebu. Cebu is a great place for fun and party because Cebuanos are made to be jamming, happy people. It’s actually one of Cebu’s trademarks especially during Sinulog days, party is more fun.”

If you were somebody else, who would you like to be and why?
“I want to be like Tyra Banks because she displays an image of real beauty, brain, goodness, integrity and bravery. She's unobtrusive, selfless, and a woman of enthusiasm. She has become very famous yet she remains very submissive in her deeds. She's just undeniably shining in everything she does.” 
If you were to change something in yourself, what would it be?
“There is nothing that I don't like about myself. I wouldn't change anything about me because everything about what I am right now, is the one making me myself which makes me unique to everybody.” 
Describe yourself in three words.
“Sexy + intellectual + beautiful = GORGEOUS. That’s just 1 word. Add up bravery and benevolence that equals me in three words.”
Do you have a boyfriend?
“No, I don't have a boyfriend.”
If you were to choose between a boyfriend and Miss Philippines-Earth, which would you choose?
“I will of course choose Miss Earth for the fact that you can join beauty pageants only until 25 years old. You can always have a boyfriend even beyond that age. When a boyfriend comes, when it’s for you, it really is for you regardless of your time and the choices you make.”
What qualities do you want in a man?
“I want a man, not a boy. Meaning, I want a man who's not senseless; I want him conversational yet, perceptive and never tactless. I want a man who speaks his mind; brave enough to tell what he wants with respect to what I want too. I want a confident man yet not arrogant. I want a man who tends to oversee my needs before his. A man who would not let me change the way that I am, the way how I live my life and the way how things I wanted to be. I want a man who respects me as a woman. A man who understands and respects the decisions and choices I make. I want a man who I can make myself comfortable and confident with. A man who can always make me feel beautiful even when I’m stressed and even until the time that I am full of wart, wrinkles and white hair. I want a man who includes me of his life plans. I want a man who makes me a part of everything that he is. I want a man who respects my parents and treat them like his own too. I want a man that can bravely fight for me no matter how hard any situation is without turning backs to anybody. I want a man who takes responsibility, love, care, selflessness and determination and a man who puts patriotic value for his and my family.” 

And what turns you off?
The very first thing that turns me off in a man is, when he is petty, unreasonable, senseless, selfish, shy and unhygienic .Next would be everything that is opposite about the things that I like in a man.”
Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at, follow leoudtohan at Twitter/ Facebook.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Virgin Mary appearances in Bohol

 God sent His Son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal, and forgive
He lived and died to buy my pardon
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.

Because He lives I can face tomorrow
Because He lives all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives.
-Because He lives
That song, Because He Lives by Bill and Gloria Gaither, clearly affirms the hope believers have in Jesus Christ.  Easter Sunday signifies a new beginning. With the risen Lord Jesus Christ, it is in our hope that we rise above life’s challenges, trials and difficulties renewed and strengthened faith, hope and trust in the risen Lord.
As a young child in the old Booy neighborhood, this city, Holy Week, one of the holiest times in Christendom, is a time of believing superstitious and folk practices. I’d noticed that some of them remained last week like decorating doors with palms to ward off evil spirits, never take a bath on Good Friday, monsters and other evil creatures are most powerful during Good Friday, wounds heal longer when acquired during Holy Week, amulets or anting-anting and charms are best empowered and renewed during Good Friday and abularyos or traditional faith healers recharged their powers in the forest and in unexplored caves.

Roberto Lumba
Many years ago, people could only go to church. Families prayed the Stations of the Cross, listened to the Siete Palabras and meditated on the Word and suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ. If they decided to stay at home, they should pray or watch The Ten Commandments, Marcelino Pan Y Vino and Himala.  The elders also shared stories of miracles and Marian apparitions.
And since we are at it, it won’t hurt if I share stories of Marian apparitions in Bohol relevant-to-the-occasion piece. Here it is:
Miniature image of Mary draws believers to Calape
Steady streams of people continue to shuffle into Roberto Lumba’s house in Sitio Cambag, barangay Tinibgan, Calape town. They pray for healing. They ask for help. Some hold flowers, others candles or pictures. Before them, on an altar of roses and prayer candles, is a miniature statue of a woman, what Catholics now believe is an image of the Virgin Mary.

"Nakit-an nako ang gamay nga statwa samtang nanghipus ko sa mga basiyo. Akong gitan-awa murag si Birhen Maria nga nagdala og bata (I saw a small statue while arranging the cases of soft drink bottles. I started looking at it until I realized it was the Virgin holding a child)," said Roberto,  a bottle boy.
He kept the statue inside his home until the Virgin Mary appeared in his dream. The Virgin Mary told him to put her in a modest abode inside the house. Roberto did what the Virgin Mary told him. He looked for a natural stone enclave to hold the Virgin Mary statue and put a pane of glass that shelters the statue.
 The image, which measures two inches, was dull when Roberto found it. Months passed, colors of blue and red became visible. Roberto just realized that the image, undeniably, was that of Nuestra Señora Virgen de Regla.
Believers say that the image is miraculous. People from different places in Bohol came to worship the Virgin Mary. They let the statue touched their head and shoulders and kissed the feet of the Virgin praying for healing and a miracle from her.
 “Ang Ginoo mag-uban kanato sa kanunay (God is always with us),” Roberto said.
Image of Virgin Mary appears on shell
Faithful and the curious, many carrying flowers and candles, have flocked to barangay Bentig , Calape town   to see the image of the Nuestra Señora de los Remedios known locally as Birhen sa Kalooy.
Sofia Dumayac, one of the caretakers of the chapel where the image is enshrined, narrated that sometime in 1800, Maximo Dumayac found a fragment of antuwang shell or tridacna on Calape beach. From the shell, rose the image of Virgin Mary. This phenomenon generated public interest.
The following is culled from the website:
One evening, Maximo went out fishing but he didn’t have any catch but every time threw the fishnet he would only catch was an empty shell.  Maximo threw the shell back to the sea but the shell was once again in his fishnet. He brought it home and put it in one corner of his nipa hut. Once in a while, he would use it as container of feeds for the chickens. 
One night, however, Maximo dreamed he was being asked by someone to make a nine-day novena to the Virgin de los Remedios.  Being religious and devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, he made the novena together with his wife. Strangely enough, after the novena ended, people from neighboring towns of Jetafe and Inabanga went to see the parish priest of St. Vincent Ferrer Church of Calape, asking him on the whereabouts of the Lady in a Miraculous Shell. They claimed that they were asked in a dream to go to the barrio of Bentig, where they will find the miraculous shell.  Maximo, unaware that his shell was a miraculous one, showed it to his neighbors and they were the first to discover that there was a strange growth in the once empty Antuwang shell. Maximo then cleaned the shell and kept it inside his baul (old chest). Meantime, people started flocking to his place and donated small amounts of money, which Maximo used in reconstructing his nipa hut.
Time went by and people later on noticed that the growth in the shell had become transformed into an image of a very beautiful and radiant lady. The shell looks like ivory and the miraculous lady seems to be made of ivory. She wears a white long robe, her eyes are beautiful and gentle and even her cheeks and lips are somewhat reddish.  Almost every five years, the Virgin would add some trimmings to her robe and mantle, like for instance; she is now wearing a white robe with gold trimmings whereas before, it was not visible to the naked eye. Until today, the image of the Lady, which is about seven inches tall, is still very much attached to the shell.
 Devotees of the Birhen sa Kalooy come from as far as Mindanao and Luzon.The chapel, which used to be of wood, is now a concrete edifice built through donations and offerings to the image. Pilgrims continue to come from far and wide to worship the Blessed Mother of Jesus.  Up to this day the heirs of Maximo Dumayac take turns in keeping watch over the image enthroned in a more decent home.

Virgin Mary seen in tree stump

Have you heard about the Virgin Mary spotted in a mangrove tree trunk in Riverside, Dauis town? Marian devotees said the appearance of Mary in tree stump is a divine “blessing.”
The image, which resembles the mother of Jesus in her traditional prayer pose, has reportedly been causing local residents to shake and cry in wonder.
Until now, people come see the likeness of Virgin Mary. They offer flowers and candles.
There have been hundreds of "sightings" of the Virgin Mary down the centuries, but recent years have seen her appearing in ever more unusual places.
The earliest known claim was from St. James the Greater who saw the Virgin Mary while he was in preaching on the banks of the Ebro River in Saragossa, Spain in 40 A.D.
The most famous apparitions have been those reported in Guadalupe, Mexico (1531), Rue du Bac, France (1830), Lourdes, France (1858), Fatima, Portugal (1917), and Medjugorje, Bosnia-Hercegovina (1984). The most recently Vatican approved apparitions are those from Le Laus, France (1664) which were approved in 2008. The most recently occurring apparitions with full Vatican approval are those from Kibeho, Rwanda which ended in 1989.
Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at, follow leoudtohan at Twitter/ Facebook.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Shamcey Supsup: It’s more fun in Bohol!

As I said, I liked the way Miss Universe 2011 third runner-up Shamcey Gurrea Supsup delivered her message during the 142nd commencement exercises of the University of Bohol. She said it with so much fervor that nobody could say she didn’t say it from the heart.
The hills are alive… with Shamcey Supsup at the top of the highest hill in Carmen. Photo Courtesy: Elcid Tirol
Having the Miss Universe beauty and board topnotcher as speaker was a history in the making. It was Shamcey’s first time to speak in a graduation ceremony. Everyone who attended the event was inspired. And a big thanks to UB Registrar Leah Tirol-Magno, the graduation chair, for making it happened.
Before that Shamcey did a “whirlwind” countryside tour. Wearing a sundress, Shamcey flashed her winning smile to her Boholano fans, who either shrieked in admiration or were too dumbfounded to say anything. She’s really beautiful. She’s mobbed by fans wherever she went.
“It’s my second time here in Bohol. Matagal ko nang gustong pumunta. I didn’t have the time. Yung first time ko dito sa Bohol, hindi ako nakapagtour, so ngayon ko lang nakita ang Bohol. Mas maganda dito,” Shamcey told Bared.
Shamcey visited Loboc River, the river of joy. She was welcomed by Tessie Labunog-Sumampong of Loboc Riverwatch.  “This is better than river cruising in Bangkok, Thailand,” she quipped.
At the world famous Chocolate Hills in Carmen, Shamcey climbed the 214 concrete steps to reach the highest hill. She said that viewing the chocolate hills is a never-ending amazement. The guides (composed of Angeli Uy of Lab Tours and Travels, Melanie Tirol, Desiree Roxas, Liza Macalandag, Elcid Tirol, Charlito Andam and Gyn Mark Cajote) and Bb. Pilipinas Charities, Inc. coordinator Ms. Liliana Soriano joined her watching the grandeur of the thousand hills—so beautifully formed in the central part of Bohol.
And a visit to the tarsier sanctuary in Corella town allowed Shamcey to see the natural habitat of the tarsier with ‘tarsierman’ Lito Pizarras as guide.
Miss Universe 2011 third runner-up Shamcey Supsup at the Loboc river, the river of joy.  Photo Courtesy: Elcid Tirol
 “Sana mapreserve ang natural beauty ng Bohol. Once na nasira yun mahirap na ibalik. It’s more fun in Bohol,” Shamcey said.  
Anyway, to give everyone a chance to reminisce Shamcey’s graduation message (not only for UB graduates but for all the graduates there), here’s a copy of her message. Read on.
Good afternoon to all of you. First of all, thank you for inviting me to grace this most meaningful occasion.
Many people have asked me if I have change since April 10 when I won the Binibining Pilipinas that eventually brought me to the road to Sau Paulo  Brazil for the Miss Universe Pageant. Yes and no. I have changed in ways that amaze even myself. From someone who didn’t know the first thing about wearing high heels, putting on makeup or fixing my hair, I transformed into someone who could enhance whatever  God-given countenance I was given. From a person who was very shy, I learned how to speak to large audiences and flash my brightest  smile. And from  someone who was always within the comfort  zone of family  and friends, I learned how to interact with people from all walks of life.
Yes, I have change. But then again, I haven’t.
Last year, I was veritable probinsiyana. I grew up in my parents’ farm in GenSan. I rode “carabaos” and ran around the farm. There is simplicity and tranquility in my GenSan life that I miss. It is simplicity that makes up my core. In truth, even if a lot of me have changed, I am still very much a probinsyana at heart.     
Today, there are 725 of you who are probinsyanos and probinsyanas at heart who will graduate. Your parents have toiled hard to get you where you are. Some of you will venture to go out to the city, even out to the world. Some of you will opt to stay in Bohol. But all of you will pursue your dreams.
In pursuing your dreams, I urge to continue being a probinsyano. Dream big, but live simply. Learn to recognize the real and important from the mere trappings of glory. In my reign as Ms. Universe Philippines, I got caught in the whirlwind of several social and high profile activities. While I recognize the significance of each activity, somehow, it was in the low profile and simple activities where I found real joy.
Don’t get me wrong. Being simple does not mean being second best. It simply means discerning and being focused on the things that matter most. In your own simple ways, aim to be first, the best .The founders of your esteemed university did just that. Your school was the first university in the province. It is the home of several alumni whose names are synonymous with excellence. When I decided to give in to my mother’s wish for me to become a beauty queen, I took everything to heart. I took everything
seriously. I studied the moves, perfected my walk, and honed myself so I could bring honor to my country. At first, it was just an obedient daughter following her mom’s wishes .But as the competition progressed, I knew that I should push myself to be the best I could. Eventually, it boiled down to how I could be the best for my country.
From simple goals and the pursuit of excellence, I implore you young graduates to conquer the whole new worlds that lay on your feet not only with youthful fervor, but also with integrity. It is not enough that you reach your dreams. It is not enough that you be the best. It is most important if you do everything with dignity and respect. Never compromise your values and ideals. Never give up the beliefs that make you who you are in exchange for favors and rewards that are just material and transitory. This is exactly what was in my mind, when in a heartbeat ,I answered the question posed to  me during  the Miss  Universe pageant .Some say that I should  have stretched my answer to make it sound  more diplomatic. Some say that I should have asked for an interpreter. For me, however, the answer was so clear that I did not need a translator to say what was in my heart. There simply was no gray area in need of “stretching”. These are the values that were ingrained in me by my parents that are not negotiable at all.
Finally, I enjoin you to pay it forward. A lot of you will reach great heights in their endeavors. But always look back and pay it forward. There is a reason why you have been showered this blessing of education. Find a way for these blessings to multiply a hundred fold by giving back –to your family, to school, to province, to your country, and most of all to God. Paying it forward is the best way to show your gratitude. It is gratitude that manifests and multiplies itself in generosity.
Be simple. Be excellent. Be honest. Be generous in your gratitude. Be all these and you will be the best graduates of University of Bohol.
Thank you very much and congratulations to all.
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