Monday, November 4, 2013

Charice wants to live in Bohol! Inabanga's odd case of tourism

• Inabanga’s odd case of tourism
Charice wants to live in Bohol!

Scene: The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) recommends immediate relocation and evacuation of residents with houses near the newly developed sinkhole in Purok 7, Barangay Poblacion 1, Tagbilaran City. The landslide susceptibility rating is very high. Barangay Captain Arlene Karaan conducted an emergency general assembly to inform the residents of the findings of MGB. The sinkhole in Poblacion 1 is one of the 50 sinkholes in Tagbilaran City which emerged after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol last Oct. 15.

Madonna and Child appears in Calape, Bohol Photo by Leo Udtohan
Scene: An image of the “Madonna and Child” reportedly appeared on the floor of the multi-purpose hall at Calape Central Elementary School in barangay Sta. Cruz in Calape town. The multi-purpose hall is used as an evacuation center. People from neighboring towns have started to flock to the school to get a glimpse and pray before the image. Rev. Fr. Aurelio Luzon, Jr., parish priest of St. Vincent Ferrer, clarified that it will take a while before they can verify if the image is indeed an apparition. “People visit the place because of curiosity,” said Fr. Luzon. “Let's keep praying. There's nothing wrong with the floor or the apparition, what matter is our faith."

Scene: LGU Loboc banned Loboc Riverwatch from taking off  and barred guests from riding the floating resto of Tessie Labunog-Sumampong last Oct. 25. “Kita mo naguba among docking port so duha lang nag-operate, so si Miss Tessie nakahibaw na siya nga karun nga paagi turno-turno pa. Wala man siya mo-coordinate sa LGU. So ako siya giingnan nga it’s an order nga dili ka makaoperate ogma para walay gubot unya imong mga bisita dili mauwawan,”  Loboc Mayor Helen Alaba told reporters. However, Tessie denied that she received a suspension order from the Mayor. “Walay order. Wala mi kadawat order or advice, wala man. As usual lang among operation pero nananghid gihapun mi.”  The mayor’s brother, ex-Mayor Leon Calipusan, was there at the Complex to drive away tourists. One tourist Rachel Acedo complained saying, “This is our choice, you can’t dictate the guests where we want to eat ...ginamit ang issue ng earthquake na kesyo nasira ang docking area...dapat take turns. Why allowed us to get inside the boat and we have our lunch and we will wait for our turn to cruise?”

Scene: Bangon Bohol posted on Facebook that a network of local artists, musicians, photographers/videographers, writers, is currently doing a video documentary and a music album and a new Awit sa Bohol music video. Bb. Pilipinas 2006 Anna Maris Igpit also shared that their group “SugBohol” is planning an all-star "Balik sa Bohol" music video to promote Bohol tourism.

Down-trodden by the tragedy, singing sensation Charice Pempengco will hold a benefit concert for the earthquake victims and survivors in Bohol. Dubbed as "One Voice," the said event will be held on November 5 (Tuesday) at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts World Manila.

Charice and her Bohol connection: Her “One Voice” benefit concert for Bohol quake victims is on Nov. 5.  Courtesy: Charice
When asked why she considers Bohol as the beneficiary, Charice told reporters in a presscon last Tuesday that she had developed a connection with the place.

Charice and her girlfriend Alyssa Quijano visited Bohol one week before the earthquake for their first anniversary.

“First time ko po sa Bohol nu’n. Three days po kami ro’n and then, naging espesyal siya sa akin kasi pinaka-touched talaga ako sa mga tao.” Charice told reporters.

She said unlike other places, Boholanos never judged her gender preference and accepted her with open arms.

“Kasi, sorry to say, pero alam naman natin na may mga tao, like sa Manila, na medyo tagilid ang mga ugali. Pero doon, sobrang totoo sila, alam n’yo po ’yun? Sobrang friendly and marespeto. Grabe po talaga. First night ko pa lang, nagustuhan ko na talaga sila. Na-touch ako the way they treated me. Hindi ko sila kakilala pero sobrang parang close ko na agad sila,” added Charice.

“Doon ko po na-realize na gusto kong tumira sa Bohol, maski na nagkaroon ng earthquake, e, mauudlot ang plano ko. Kaya ko po gagawin ang concert na ito kasi gusto ko pong makatulong para mapabilis ‘yung pag-recovery nila,” said Charice.

Charice said that she wanted to live in Bohol than to settle down in the United States.

Inabanga has been garnering major media mileage as the home of the “faultline.” It was Gerwin Yudelmo, a youth leader of Inabanga, who informed me about the five kilometer ground rupture in barangay Anonang.

The surface rupture (faultline) which appeared after the killer quake in barangay Anonang, Inabanga town invites tourists to explore nature.  Courtesy: Gerwin Yudelmo
“It’s now a tourist attraction,” said Gerwin. “From a disaster to a blessing!”

Last Wednesday, Liza Macalandag, Jocelyn Pilayre, and yours truly, decided to visit the place after we visited barangay Maitum, Catigbian town for a stress debriefing

The entry point to Anonang is Bogtong Market. Along the way, we delved into the tastes of the place as we experienced Anonang with its breathtaking rolling hills and foliage.

“The place is enchanting,” gushed Jocelyn, who like us, visited the place for the first time.

After the killer quake, there are new discoveries in Bohol. Watch for it!

Here’s “Is There Still A Way Out?” from Ana Liza Abao of Loboc who is sharing VRS readers her thoughts on the quake which hit Bohol and Someone who’s mighty up there. Here it is:

A week after the 7.2 trembling earthquake hit Bohol, I found myself alone in a room of my aunt’s home in Burgos St. Tagbilaran City trying to exercise total silence and contemplation, bringing my head down to my knees as I used to, hoping that it can prevent me from any distraction. I started to reflect why these have had to happen. Bohol – the heart of the islands is now bleeding and even the deafening silence of the hills from town to town cried out to the wilderness. For a moment, Boholano senses have refused to believe that it had happened in just a click.

Yes it was. October 15 had been a day to remember, an unimaginable disaster ever realized by every Boholano and other neighboring inhabitants in the region as well. Each has his or her own story to tell.

As I wanted to look back across that terrifying day, I was awakened at almost 8:00 in the morning trying to be obedient to the call of nature but decided to roll back in bed as it was the first week of semestral break in one of the universities in Cebu City.

My co-boarders most of whom are Bol-anons were still in bed trying to enjoy the two week vacation. Putting my head set on, as my way of making myself back to sleep and off to wonderland, I closed my two round eyes and started to listen to the song “Ikaw ang among Gabayan” by Sheryn Regis when in an instant my bed shook and my senses told me that it’s an earthquake. I didn’t move at once in the hope that it will eventually stop.

Alas, to my disbelief it continued to shake like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour and I could hear the audible running steps from my co-boarders and joining them, we run as fast as we could outside from the three-storey building we rented in. While running, I wondered why it lasted for several seconds and my feeble mind told me that woe to us as it was God’s wrath. Mighty goodness, God wanted His presence felt at that moment.

As my fourth time to experience an earthquake, the mental prayer taught by my late mother who passed away 2 months ago on the same date had been my instant refuge and uttering the words “Yes Lord You Exist”, it halted for a moment. Only did I realize that I went out barefooted.
My sister who lives in Inabanga with her family called me at once and to my surprise that tremor hit Bohol and Cebu at the same time.

My co-boarders who are residents of Loon, Carmen and Batuan were also busy with their phones trying to connect with their beloved families. And the rest were followed by various destructions of homes and heritage churches including my home town’s St. Peter’s Parish Church in Loboc.

Two days after, my co-boarder and I went home to quake-torn Bohol and it was a heartbreaking scene before my very eyes. Bohol bleeds.

I went to my hometown Loboc and the church where I was baptized was no longer the same two weeks before the tremor occurred when I went there capturing different views and angles inside the beautiful and famous Loboc church hoping that I can use those photos for my photojournalism class.

 I supposed that I was the last Lobocanon who had different shots from its ceiling to the ground including the museum before that destructive quake happened and forever will it be saved in my file much more to my memory.

Had it not been on a non-working day, it would be a different story. Had it been on a Sunday, it would be Bohol’s most fatal day.

In an instant our lives are threatened that seems dark ahead but God in His supreme greatness still spared us from His mighty wrath. Just as God’s ways are beyond imagination and His reasons are not ours to complain, we have to face it in faith that we are indeed blessed in some way or another.

This passing life is a labyrinth of darkness and uncertainty and how many of us have ever asked if there is still a way out.

The deafening ‘bang-bang’ of guns in Zamboanga faction, the never-ending bloody and floody areas in Metro Manila, the pork barrel sequel, violence, name it, we all have it.

Rich and poor alike we can never escape from these human and natural disasters while we are still on this earthly journey.

Like a river that flows ever onward toward the sea truly it is certain that the current of daily life moves ever onward the Day of Judgment.

Knowing that most of us are all united in prayers before the living God, I unite myself to God’s holy angels in deep adoration before the throne of the Highest. May the praise that is sung in heaven resound in the heart of every Boholano particularly those who are deeply affected.

I came out of that prayer time knowing that God loved us so much amidst our human frailties. It was an hour of total silence. No asking. No intercessions. No habitual prayer. Absolutely nothing. Just silence.

Now that my ears are closer to my chest I can feel the shaking of the bed that surely confirms that another aftershock occurs. And there is no way out.

Truly, God wanted His Presence felt. Anytime. Anywhere. “Yes Lord, You Exist”!
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