Monday, April 29, 2013

Tessie’s sumptuous feast of traditional Boholano cuisine

Scene: The 14 contingents for the 2nd Cobra International Dragon Boat Competition in Dauis, Bohol.
Seen: Spotted in Bohol last week was Journey’s lead singer Arnel Pineda. Now sporting short hair, Arnel was mobbed by fans at the Loboc River.
Scene: From Fiel Angeli Araoarao-Gabin, City Information Officer, on Saulog festival: The City Government of Tagbilaran and the Cathedral Parish of Saint Joseph the Worker are embarking on collaborative efforts for this year’s celebration of the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker on May 1 dubbed “Pit Senor San Jose! Viva San Jose! Viva Tagbilaran!” Starting last Monday, April 22 with the daily novena at 4:30 p.m., followed by a holy mass at 5:30 p.m.  at the Cathedral and the nightly activities at 7:30 p.m. at the Tagbilaran Port, the activities are aimed at reviving, preserving and promoting the city’s significant tradition and unique cultural heritage, in cognizance with Executive Order No. 2 Series of 2013 which created the City Council for Culture and the Arts.
On April 29, from 2 to 6 p.m., the statues of Saint Joseph, Mother Mary and Santo Nino comprising the Holy Family will be featured during the fluvial procession from Manga Port to Sitio Ubos, Poblacion I.
On April 30, the first-ever “Saulog Tagbilaran,” a religion-based cultural activity, bringing to the fore the life of Saint Joseph, the City’s patron saint, as a loving father and devoted worker and the local devotees’ way of paying homage and thanksgiving. The streetdancing also intends to drumbeat the 250th anniversary of the Cathedral Parish of Saint Joseph the Worker in 2017. The 9 contingents - Bool, Booy, Cabawan, Cogon, Manga, Mansasa, Poblacion I, Poblacion 2 and Ubujan - shall assemble along the Old City Hall at 12 noon. The streetdancing shall kick off at 1:00 p.m., turning left at C. Gallares Street, turning right at B. Inting Street, proceeding right to CPG Avenue along City Square, turning right at J.S. Torralba near Plaza Rizal, making a left turn at E. Sarmiento fronting the Cathedral, turning left at J. A. Clarin Street leading towards the Tagbilaran City Hall Compound.
Hapit na jud ang fiesta sa Tagbilaran (May 1), the opening salvo of the month-long fiesta season of Bohol.
Scene: From erstwhile Tubigon’s Queen of All Media Raymund Delgado: Anyag 2008 Clarice Radoc has a very huge chance of winning the crown however her tight schedule couldnt warrant the requirements and demands of joining a provincial pageant. As of Anyag 2011 Lori Geisha Cabrera , we are still subjecting her to some further enhancing trainings that would further bring out the best in her and mold her to become more competitive in the provincial level. Since the previous year when I was connected with the University of San Jose Recoletos as a full time professor , I only focus on handling one committee in Anyag and that is the Committee on Seminars, Trainings and Workshops to bring out the best in all our candidates and reserve beauty queens and I do see the value of a good education as a foundation for success in any endeavors. Even, Miss Teen Bohol 2012 Thea Rizaldo was molded by the A-List Beauty and Personality Academy, which is the basic education arm of the Anyag sa Tubigon.
Until this present moment in time, we at Anyag envisions of producing globally competitive and empowered beauty queens which would not only excel in the municipal level but also at the national and international levels. Though I’m no longer connected with the Local Government Unit of Tubigon I still take an active role and part in the committee since I do see that this is my way of giving back to the community who gave me my identity as a Tubignon.
(Note: The Anyag sa Tubigon 2013 is on May 10 with special guest Daniel Padilla. Tickets are at Php300 (Blue), Php500 (Orange) and Php 1,000 (Fuschia). Visit or call Tubigon Tourism Office at (038) 508-8496.)
The flamboyant chef and food connoisseur Anthony Bourdain of No Reservations food tripping in America made me relish in my head those gustatory adventures I went through vacationing in the US.
Like music, food does bring people together. My bonding moments with friends in the US revolve around anything edible-- that there are plenty to eat and thank God for-- and you can’t feel the economy is down.
Here’s the tip: To enjoy your stay in the land of milk and honey that is America, never convert. I stopped whining about how I have to shell out $2 for a bottle of cranberry juice or Hershey’s chocolate when I can get it here for a reasonable price.
Food tripping in the US. Yours truly with (clockwise) Lorenzo and Richel Galaura, Mikey and his Thai friend Kevin and Alot and Babat Bagotchay.
The King’s Buffet in Hollywood was the first restaurant I had bonding moment with a Boholano family. Lorenzo Galaura (from Jagna town), his wife Richel and daughter Loraine invited me for a dinner. Lorenzo is a nurse and a tennis enthusiast. At 13, Loraine, who stands 5”5”, is an A+ student in a private school in LA and a potential beauty queen in the future. After dinner, the Galaura family brought me to The Grove for another bonding moment.
My real bonding with US-based Boholano socialite Mikey Gatal was the Thai (Thai Restaurant in Hollywood) and Korean (Haus of Desserts) cuisines. Since Mikey has a Thai friend, he loves to introduce Thai food that when TV/concert-producer Amy Almirol had to see us, we ended at the Thai restaurant in downtown LA).
My bonding with RN and make-up artist Rey Reformina was the Chinese cuisine. He brought me to Regent Chinese restaurant near the famous Union Station.
My bonding food with Jocelyn Oppus, Babat Malacay and Jinky Jane Labrador were Burger King, Jollibee, McDonalds and The Pantry. When hunger strikes you on the road, turn to Jollibee Drive Thru.
The send-off dinner with Miss BodyShots International 2013 Janelle Logrono, Lorenzo and Richel Galaura, Alot and Babat Bagotchay, Mikey and Rey was held at the at the Ganda Thai Restaurant.
After my vacation, I’m gaining weight. I need to go on a diet…so I thought…   
As promised, we showed up with “empty stomachs” early Tuesday noon at Loboc Riverwatch (the “Floating Resto to the Stars,” you will know why when you will visit their booth at the Loboc River Complex) of Tessie Labunog-Sumampong. “We” included Liza Macalandag of Lifestyle Bohol, my nephew Jhelmar Jala and yours truly.
The next time you visit the famous Loboc River (the River of Life), you can indulge yourself in authentic Boholano cuisine at the Loboc Riverwatch. It is the only floating restaurant which offers a wide array of mouth-watering traditional Boholano cuisine.  
As most people must know by now, years ago Tessie was hired to manage a floating restaurant. When she was given the opportunity to run her own floating restaurant, Tessie’s imagination was activated. Voila, a few weeks later she put up her own floating restaurant, the Loboc Riverwatch.
Tessie and her Loboc Riverwatch team cooked “borrowed” foods. They served the same menu with other floating restaurants. So, Tessie gave it a try last April when guests started asking for Boholano cuisine and it has been doing good business since then.
Tessie Labunog-Sumampong
“Most of the restaurants here do not serve the Boholano cuisine, it's time to show to them what we have,” said Tessie. “I am not afraid of change. I make it sure I am always open to new challenges and ready for discoveries.”
On Tessie’s menu: Pancit bisaya, piniritong manok, humbang baboy, kusahos,  lauja, manok hinalang, humbang nangka, ensaladang talong, guso salad, spicy crab, escabeche, inon-on, shrimps and crabs, puto cheese,  manga with uyap, native kakanin, cathy’s cuchinta, bibingka’s special, fruits in season and dol-dol.
And the visitors embraced her Bol-anon cuisine with gusto.
The classic Filipino pork dish, the humba (Visayan answer to adobo from the North) and the kusahos  de Loboc (sun dried carabeef strips) are the best sellers.
 “Whether cooking food or managing the floating restaurant, everything should be done with love and passion,” said Tessie.
Tessie’s Boholano cuisine at the floating restaurant is at P350 per person (just add 50 pesos for the municipal fee) and it is “eat all you can.” The price is worth it because she never scrimps on ingredients.
Try to imagine: They serve a buffet lunch. The musician is very entertaining. The river cruise is relaxing.
Riding at Loboc Riverwatch will also double as charity work for you since she helps public schools in Loboc (Bartolome Doria Elem. School and Tambis Elem. School in Calunasan Norte).
And so how do I rate that Boholano cuisine of Tessie’s Loboc Riverwatch? It’s, burp, filling.
The mouth-watering traditional Boholano cuisine at the Loboc Riverwatch Floating Restaurant, the Floating Resto to the Stars.  
(Note: Loboc Riverwatch: Tel. No: (038) - 537–9460, (038) -537–9460; Mobile: +63918 - 510 – 4032/ +63917- 306–0010/+63917-382–2254; Email:
Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at, follow leoudtohan at Twitter /Facebook.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Daniel Padilla to heat up Anyag 2013

Scene: Summer Gimik in Bohol: Anda, the beautiful.  When it comes to beautiful, breath-taking beaches, the town of Anda offers some of the most beautiful shores on earth. The Anda beaches boast miles upon miles of pristine, white, sandy shores and the gentle waters lap at your feet in a veritable kaleidoscope of electric blues and sparkling jades. Anda has also cave pools like Cabugnaw and Tibao. A trivia: Anda has appeared on ABS-CBN’s Panday in 2006.
A beach on paradise island in Anda, Bohol, Philippines
Scene: Months before the height of election campaign, this lady councilor's (who is seeking higher position) poll numbers routinely hovered in the stratosphere. Last week, with LC basking in the glow of victory in a short, her rating suddenly appeared very low. "Imagine Kuya Leo, wala jud siya ming-attend sa ilang pangampanya pila ka days. She was frustrated jud," says VRS. "She was thinking that head of the group junked her unya naay lain gidala. Pero giam-aman intawon siya." LC had to withdraw her candidacy but was advised not to make such “desperate” move.
Seen: Dr. Mary Grace Ochavillo-Uy (of J&N Dental Clinic, 2nd floor, City Pharmacy- CPG Avenue, Tagbilaran City, Tel. No: (038) 411-5317) and her family in South Korea for a holiday. They visited Nami Island, Chungju Lake, Everland, Korea Folk Village and other famous landmarks of South Korea.
Dra. Mary Grace Ochavillo-Uy and her family at the Land of the Morning Calm.
Scene: The 12 candidates who will compete in Bohol Queen International 2013 (back to back with a summer disco) on April 27 at Clarin Cultural and Sports Complex. The pageant is presented by LGBT Clarin. For ticket reservation, call 09103396686.
Daniel Padilla will be the guest of honor in the 6th edition of Anyag sa Tubigon on May 10.
This was confirmed by lawyer Julius Gregory Delgado who facilitated and arranged the contract signing in Manila. 
Considered as the hottest male teen star today on ABS-CBN, 17-year-old Daniel Padilla will serenade the 12 candidates of Anyag 2013.
Kapamilya star Daniel Padilla

Touted the “Justin Bieber of the Philippines,” Daniel will celebrate his 18th birthday (which actually falls on April 26) with an upcoming concert on April 30 at the Big Dome.
Daniel started out in the industry roughly four years only, but 2012 proved to be his breakthrough year. He had a hit teleserye Princess & I which gave birth to his love team with Kathryn Bernardo, a multi-platinum debut album, and just recently, the movie Must Be...Love with Kathryn and a chart-topping single Nasa ‘Yo Na Ang Lahat which he interpreted for the Himig Handog P-Pop Love Songs 2013 competition.
(Note: For tickets to Anyag sa Tubigon, call Tubigon Tourism Office at Tel. No. 508-8496.)
Here’s an interesting contribution from my Cebuano doctor-friend about the newly Pope Francis which she found on Facebook:
Recently, when he left his apartment at Domus Marta and went out into the hall, the Pope found a Swiss Guard standing at attention outside his door.

He asked him, “And what are you doing here? Were you awake all night?

“Yes,” the guard answered respectfully.


“One of my colleagues gave me a break.”

“And you’re not tired?”

“It’s my duty Your Holiness, for Your safety.”

The Pope looked at him with kindness. He went back into his apartment and, after a few minutes, returned with a chair in his hand: “At least sit down and rest.”

Shocked, the Swiss Guard replied, “Forgive me, but I can’t! The rules don’t allow it.”

“The rules?”

“My captain, Your Holiness.”

“Oh, is that so? Well, I’m the Pope and I am asking you to sit down.”

So, between the rules and the Pope, the Swiss Guard, complete with his halberd, chose the chair. And then the Pope brought him some bread and jam for a snack, saying, “Buon appetito, brother.”
Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at, follow leoudtohan at Twitter /Facebook.

Preparations for Anyag 2013 and Summer Dance Break

• Race to Anyag sa Tubigon begins
• Dancing the Summer Away in Albur

Scene: Summer Gimik in Bohol: If you are looking for a little bit more this summer, something new, something exciting, a true adventure, perhaps something you have never done before. Then, try Firefly Kayaking at Abatan River in Maribojoc with KayakAsia Philippines.
It is truly magical to see an entire tree, glowing with thousands of fireflies, like a Christmas tree.
“By using kayaks you have saved thousands of fireflies from being affected by noise and smoke emitted from motor-boats. KayakAsia Philippines is trying very hard to preserve the natural environment of the fireflies in the Abatan River and for choosing us, you have helped our cause. The river thanks you. The fireflies thank you,” said Rey Donaire, KayakAsia Philippines manager.
More from Rey: Kayaking for us is more than just a trip. It is not just another tour. It is our advocacy also. An ecologically friendly way to see the sights and sounds of our island, Bohol from a different perspective. And through this you have helped us give belief to the locals who live along the river that doing ecologically-sustainable tourism can not only help better the environment but also their lives as well.
As the song goes, “Kumukutikutitap, bumubusibusilak, ganyan ang indak ng mga bumbilya, kikindat - kindat, kukurap–kurap, pinaglalaruan ng inyong mga mata…”
(Email:, visit or text/call +63932-855-2928).
Scene: The first Saulog sa Tagbilaran, a religion-based cultural activity spearheaded by the City Government through the City Council for Culture and Arts (CCCA) and the Diocese of Tagbilaran, is on April 30. It will showcase the fluvial procession of the Holy Family and a street dancing portraying the life of Saint Joseph as a worker, a loving father and husband.

Scene: Stephen Montealto on her Mom's 79th birthday (as posted on Facebook):  To My Beloved Mama Rose,A Mother's LOVE is instinctual, unconditional, and forever, She's a magic in any language, She's the bank where we deposit all our hurts and worries. And for me God sees us through our Mother's eyes and rewards us for our virtues. I couldn't have the chance to tour around the world without the love from a mother, You guided me and gave me your boundless love. On your birthday I wish you much peace, joy, love, good health, a heart that knows love, a soul that knows joy, a spirit that knows giving. Thank You for being everything a son could ever want. HAPPY 79th BIRTHDAY MAMA ROSE, You know how much I LOVE YOU!

Scene: Ten ladies will compete for the title Miss Carmen 2013, May 11, 7 p.m.  at the Carmen gymnasium.

Scene: Fashion icon EJ Relampagos on originality and integrity: Some people are asking if my collections during the Reveal fashion show were really original creations by me and if there were some pieces I "borrowed" from my Cebu designer friends... First of all, I want to take it as a compliment because I consider Cebu designers as the best in our land... Another point is, I trust in my own ability and capability... Me and my staff worked hard to realize my visions, we've spent sleepless nights to finish everything in time for the show... I just want to make it clear that every piece showcased on my segment during the Reveal show is originally designed by me and created in my shop. Thank you! :)

Scene: If you've been wondering why this ultimo eventologist haven't organized anything lately it's because he has been swept up by the need to finish the projects. He is just hibernating; he will hog the limelight (again) as a contract star of a giant network. Yes, he is in Manila for some "enhancements." According to VRS, he will have one commercial, one indie film and two teleseryes. He will be included in the movie Darna for Metro Manila Film Festival 2013. Revealing the identity of this future star from Bohol in this section and on social media is verboten. Guess that's why he's staying anonymous!

Dancing the Summer Away in Albur

“Giving back!” is the theme of Jay Anthony “Tonjie” Requilme Mangao’s message at the culmination program of the Alburquerque Summer Dance Workshop. Produced by the Office of Alburquerque Mayor Efren Tungol and the Culture and Arts Coordinator, the dance workshop ran from April 2 to 12 at the Alburquerque Training Center. 

Mangao, who recently graduated as major in dance from the prestigious Philippine High School for the Arts at Mt. Makiling in Los Banos, Laguña, heads the Alburquerque Performing Arts Group (APAG) and was the trainor of this summer’s dance workshop.

“It is my way of giving back what I have learned in school to the people of Alburquerque who have supported me all these years," said Mangao. "I hope more young people will join the next year’s summer workshop, instead of just idling the summer away."
Twenty members of APAG trained, including original members from last year’s dance and theater workshops, as well as new members who went through an audition on April 2. A total of 21 workshop sessions were conducted for 10 days on basic ballet movements and basic fundamentals of dance. These include footwork and hand movements such as releve, extension, plie, battements, passé, arabesque, tendu, jete, coupe, etc.

During the culmination program, Tonjie demonstrated his skill in choreography when the APAG members performed an invocatory dance, the “Mask Dance”, and a contemporary pop “Drive By.”

It was attended by LGU officials and employees, as well as representatives of the Center for Culture and Arts Development (GO CCAD) Vida Tirol-de Juan, Butch de Juan and Mitzi Ibaya. 

The video presentation of APAG says it all: “Dance is a silent poetry” and “Take more chances, dance more dances.”

Preparation underway for Anyag 2013
Anyag sa Tubigon 2012 Mariecris Batula Evardo was totally fabulous, gorgeous, poised and eloquent. She faced the camera with utmost fluency, nor did she get daunted when she had to mingle with huge crowds. She wasn't so strict on herself when it comes to her diet, and she always comes back to being in great shape.
But when she failed to get the crown (she was first runner-up in Miss Bohol Sandugo in 2012 to Idy Caseñas Cagas of Jagna town), she got a run-down of her flaws and told there was work to do.

This was, after all, Tubigon.

Anyag 2013 candidates
After winning the Miss Bohol Sandugo in 2010, beauty is now a serious business in Tubigon just like in Venezuela (girls as young as four attending beauty schools to set them on the road to stardom).

The annual Anyag sa Tubigon which is held in May brings the town of Tubigon to a halt – the talk of the town. As of lately, many Tubignon girls grow up dreaming of being a “Miss” or a beauty queen.
Tubigon expects – and, has come to be expected – to win in Miss Bohol Sandugo and other pageants in the province like Miss BACS Personality or at the very least, place among the top runners-up. 

In Miss Bohol Sandugo, the province’s oldest beauty pageant, Tubigon has produced two winners: Amir Sol (Miss Bohol Sandugo 2000) and Farrah Maye Mian (Miss Bohol Sandugo 2011), not yet enough to snatch the title as “Beauty Capital of Bohol” from Jagna town which produced Tiffany Yap (1990), Ma. Recelle Adlaon (1991), Celevel Ranoco (1992), Fatima Liora Lloren Rana (2003) and Idy Cagas (2012).
There’s so much work to do.
As early as March, the Anyag sa Tubigon committee headed by chairman emeritus Gertrude Cabrera-Abarquez are busy for Anyag as they want to make it an electrifying and memorable pageant.

You see, Tubigon is the only town in Bohol which gives proper training for the girls who would represent their town. Anyag contestants train like beauty queens. In every sense, the girls are conditioned – physically and mentally. The people who run Anyag want to have the ultimate contestant, the whole package.

Training and coaching are key elements. It is the goal of Anyag not only to create a beauty queen, but best beauty ambassador to represent the town.

When the Anyag committee members find out the Anyag has no chance of winning, they will look for another girl. Take for instance, Anyag 2010 Clarice Elaine Falcon Radoc and Anyag 2011 Lori Geisha Cabrera were supposed to represent Tubigon in Miss Bohol Sandugo but were replaced because there was low chance of winning the crown.

Last week, the candidates underwent intense lessons in how to apply make-up and do her hair and proper manners with the beauty army at the camp which includes hair stylists, makeup artists, physical trainers, speech and acting coaches, catwalk instructors and dieticians.
Anyag fanpage on Facebook says, "As a way of connecting to the community and doing their share in various socio-civic oriented causes, the candidates are taking their time in gracing countless sponsor visits, courtesy calls, guestings, photo and location shoots and many more. Truly, an Anyag is someone who rises above the ranks and exhibits grace under pressure despite the hectic and rigorous schedules."

Will another Anyag grab the Miss Bohol Sandugo title in July?

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

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Birthday parties and Siquijor Island

• Memorable birthday parties in California
Exploring the mystic island of Siquijor
Scene: Again, there is no Miss Tagbilaran 2013. “Miss Tagbi will not be staged this year,” reports a Very Reliable Source (VRS). “Then, there will be no Miss Teen Tagbilaran 2013. The City failed to stage the pageant in 1987, 1995, 2011 and 2012, one of the major activities leading to the fiesta celebration. In 2012, the Miss Tagbi was replaced by Miss Teen Tagbilaran. Trivia: Zosita Caliao Clarin was the first Miss Tagbilaran in April 1986. Twenty years after, her daughter Margo Adelaiz Clarin Manigque became Miss Tagbilaran 2006. Miss Tagbilaran beauties who won the Miss Bohol Sandugo title were Vanessa Joyce Matuod Evardone in 1994, Socorro d'Marie Tallo Inting in 1997 and Daisy Jean Quilicot in 2009.
Seen: Spotted in Bohol last Friday was Asia’s Pop Idol Christian Bautista. His last visit to Bohol was in April 2012.Also spotted in Bohol last Holy Week were Kim Chiu and Xian Lim.

Scene: It's goodbye time for Lion and media colleague Priscilla Richards who is finally leaving for US this week. Priscilla will go back to US (for good?) with daughter Cathy. Priscilla will be surely — and sorely — missed by her friends.
Scene: The short film Bells Ring, Mr. King (BRMK) directed by Ted Ramasola is included in the 2013 The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. BRMK is one of the three films representing the Philippines. There are 140 films from all over the Asia Pacific region. “It is an honor to represent not only our country but our province, Bohol. I hope this will inspire our young film makers back home to pursue their dreams,” said Ted.
Scene: A daughter of a high ranking official in town was immediately rushed to the hospital. According to VRS, the daughter, who is the rose of the family, was broken hearted. “Her labidab left her and the strain was too much for her,” revealed VRS. “She attempted suicide by slashing her wrists and was rushed to a nearby hospital where she soon recovered.”  
Come in formal attire.
That was the “strict” reminder from Boholano socialite Mikey Gatal when we would attend birthday parties during my recent trip to California.
It’s the Boholano unity in the foreign land. Even if they live miles away, our paisanos still have time to celebrate or remember important milestones in life.  

In America, they like to celebrate, and rarely more so than on their birthdays. “Expect cake, balloons and presents at any birthday party you attend in America,” said Mikey. “More fun if they have hit a significant milestone in their lives.”
Cases in point:
Dr. Yvonne Tutor-Uy celebrated the golden year of her life with a big bang at the famous Golf Mountain Meadows Golf Course in Pomona, California.
The function room of the Golf Mountain Meadows was decked with more than just the usual American birthday decor; it was literally turned into a floral paradise, with tables nicely set up just outside the social hall deemed too small to accommodate the well-wishers.
“Turning 50 is overwhelming for some people but not for Yvonne Tutor Uy for it was the most glamorous thing I've ever seen on this eventful party and right on a course,” said Mikey Gatal.  “If you were there, you'd swear you were on candid camera.”
Mikey added: Kind of nostalgic by taking a walk down memory lane. Created a quiet dinner party and gathered friends who took pictures of her and at times, more sparks of gladness when the music played at the right time and place where host Poca Rafael entertained the guests and the performance of Divo Mayer capped the birthday bash with high remarks on his performance.  Played music from the teenage years and it brought some memory lane.
“She celebrated her 50th birthday with special gifts and giveaways for family and friends. The food was just right for everyone don't want to be filled up for everyone was expected to line dance all night and we did!” said Mikey.
On the other hand, Dindo Tallo, the eldest son of Dr. Prisco Tallo and the late provincial board member Dra. Socorro Buslon-Tallo celebrated his birthday on March 9 at Dancetime in Carson City, California with family and friends.
When the birthday boy arrived at the venue, what greeted him were blinding flashbulbs and the singing of “Happy Birthday” punctuated by applause.
As the guests (a mix of Filipinos and Americans) shared a hearty buffet dinner, Dindo’s wife, Rose (Miss Tagbilaran 1987 first runner-up) prepared a short film clips of photos showing Dindo from little boy to teenager to a fulfilled husband were flashed on the monitor, eliciting applause and affectionate laughter.
Rose thanked the people who attended the party and she even narrated their love story. What made the night so meaningful when she sang “Through the Years” to Dindo.  That’s when the Cry Baby in Dindo came out, forcing a smile and vainly trying to hold back tears, he watched obviously thrilled, like the whole house, as his wife dedicated the song for him. And what a show it was!
Dindo’s eldest son Dale rendered a song, while Josh showed his dance prowess.
Also spotted in the crowed were Dindo’s sister Dr. Aida Tallo and ex-PBA star Bernard Fabiosa.
Mikey Gatal set the energy that rose until midnight when the show was capped by a line dancing marathon participated in by the guests and Tallo kids.
We had so much fun, the food was overflowing, had a special bartender from Las Vegas who had the best mixes of alcohol, wine and even some non alcoholic beverages and surprise numbers.
As birthday boy Dindo moved around the venue greeting his overflowing well-wishers, I asked him about his birthday wish.
“Good health and long life,” said Dindo.
Then, another memorable birthday party was of Rey "Bodo" Reformina who celebrated his birthday on February 3 in West Hollywood. 
The tummy-filling goodies served for Rey’s guests were prepared by his friends.
Everyone had so much fun and many familiar faces came to attend his special day.
Rey is a registered nurse and a certified make-up artist in New York before moving to LA last year.
His friends took some time for some photo shoot, they have supermodel skills especially the catwalk, cobra walk, fish and tsunami walk.
Well, Rey doesn’t look 50.
Nobody revealed what the secret is behind his youthful look.
Can you guess what?
If turning 50 is as painlessly celebratory as Yvonne, Dindo and Rey did, everybody must welcome their half-century mark with an open heart.
As the invitation said, “Nifty at 50!”
Whether it be for internalizing spirituality by fulfilling Lenten religious practices, observing folk healing activities, and simply communing with nature in one whole package, Holy Week is still the best time to go to Siquijor.
When passengers jampacked the ticketing booths for tickets to other destinations to spend Holy Week, we’re thankful for the help of Edgar Gineta and Ann Cajilog for facilitating us at the Lite Shipping office so that we could cross the island.

Engr. Jerome Gabin, almost 15 years as Saint Peter and apostle since 1983, with Fiel, Cielo and Renji after the Easter Sunday mass...and (left to right) Butch, Edward and myself with two matriarchs – Mommy Lou Gabin and Ma’am Wincie Araoarao.
For almost seven years already, I have gone to Siquijor at this time of the year and stayed at the house of Mrs. Laura Jumawan Gabin (former Department of Education Supervisor), together with daughters Lanih Lei Flores and Monette May Burgon and their families. Her son, Engr. Jerome John Gabin (married to Fiel Angeli Araoarao), now based in Bohol, would go home to dutifully attend to his “tinuig nga tulumanon” as apostle of the Saint Francis of Assisi Parish since he was 13 (as passed on by his father, Engelberto). Now, he has been serving as Saint Peter for almost 15 years.

For my travel to the “Isla del Fuego” or “Mystic Island” this year, Butch Bernas (Tagbilaran City Science High School MAPEH teacher), Edward Guyano aka Inday Charity (my Bohol Tri-Media Association colleague) and Jhelmar Jala (my nephew) joined me. We were together in the boat with Mrs. Wincesa Araoarao (retired Bohol National High School PE teacher and Bukang Liwayway Dance Troupe founder) for her first Holy Week observance in the island, who was with her daughter, Fiel, and grandchildren, Cielo and Renji.
On Maundy Thursday, we went to the church for the traditional washing of the feet of the Apostles re-enacted by Msgr. Candelario “Larry” Catubig, followed by the last supper at the Assisi High School stage, an activity fully supported by parishioners who bring food to be blessed by the priest and shared with the Apostles. The locals keep the bones of the fish, chicken, pig or cow and hide it atop the “abuhan” in the kitchen with the belief that one will never run out of food for guests in any gathering in one’s house.

As early as 4 a.m. of Good Friday, the five (5) - kilometer via crucis started, participated in by a thousand devotees. Before 12 noon, we dipped ourselves in the sea, as we were told that we will be spared from evil spirit if we did that. In the afternoon, we witnessed the veneration of the cross.
While waiting for the procession arrive, we chanced on former Siquijor Mayor Ling Avanzado and his son, Dingdong with his wife, Jessa Zaragosa, at their residence just across the church. After the photo opportunity, we did an interview with Dingdong, a vice-gubernatorial candidate, who bared his plans on how to better promote the island’s tourism industry.
The next day, Black Saturday, our goal was to trek to Camp Bandilaan and the house of Juan Ponce in San Antonio, Siquijor to let Butch, Edward and Mawmaw see for themselves the ritual of mixing exotic herbs and rather “unusual” ingredients to come up with a potent love potion (“lumay”) or “tambal” for illnesses.

Cambugahay Falls in the town of Lazi is one of the famous Siquijor’s tourist attractions.
We then proceeded to Capilay Spring Park (San Juan), Saint Isidore Parish and biggest convent in Asia and Cambugahay Falls (Lazi), then visited a friend’s house in Larena and Salagdoong Beach (Maria). Of the six municipalities of Siquijor, we failed to make a stopover in Enrique Villanueva (Talingting) because we had to go back to Tagbilaran taking the 7 p.m. Sunday trip from Larena.
Anyway, there’s always a next time - next year – and, maybe, with new people.
Though it would still be the same mystic island, but, hopefully, another sight to behold, another Holy Week experience to capture. But, while Bohol’s little neighbor has been maligned with things associated with black magic or “barang,” the fact remains that the people there are friendly, hospitable and above all, have strong faith in God.
I warn you: There are no witches but beautiful beaches!