Monday, March 24, 2014

Former Boholana beauty queen battling the Big C

Scene: The biggest winner during the opening of the 1st Bohol International Choir Festival on March 18 was no other than the Bohol Queen of All Media Ardy Araneta Batoy. I'd enjoyed watching the show with her expertise on emceeing the event! No need to say more! Salute!

Scene: How to raise an eyebrow? This factotum on special services (FSS) in the Highest Kingdom of Choco (HKC) is now suffering from hydrocephalous. “FSS was very down to earth when FSS was new,” said HKC’s the intruding cupbearer-VRS. “Now FSS feels like the king in HKC. In fact, FSS has PSG even inside the mall. Nakatungtong ra gani sa buko-buko sa kabaw Hahahaha

Tagbilaran Woman's Club members
Scene: Catch the Teen Idol 2014 Artista Search in your school: March 21 (Friday), 3 p.m.-6 p.m. at Dr. Cecilio Putong National High School gym and March 22 (Saturday), 1 p.m.- 3p.m. at PMI College Main Campus gym.

Scene: A strong call from Tagbilaranan Woman’s Club: We call on everyone to support the campaign to observe Wednesday as" no plastic bag day" and hopefully to eventually expand to everyday of the week. This initiative will enhance the earth's carrying capacity against pollution. We are enjoining all Tagbilaranons to hang the 2x2 ft. tarp as seen in this car in front of their residences so people can be reminded that for a start, let us make Wednesday, a plastic bag free day. It is only 60 pesos. You can order and get tarp yourself at EBA Printers: Tel no 4123502 or 0918 6029804. Look for Vicvic. Please. Help in the info drive. Our dumping site in Dampas cannot take anymore of the plastics. Thank you Tagbilaranons.

Atty. Victoriano B. Tirol, Jr., one of Bohol’s great educators, dies
Former DepEd-Western Visayas regional director and University of Bohol President Atty. Victoriano B. Tirol, Jr.  died Friday, March 21, at St. Luke’s Hospital, according to his family and relatives. His sudden death has left many in the academe nearly too stunned to speak. They are mourning the loss of a great educator and leader.

Atty. Victoriano B. Tirol, Jr.
As a lawyer and educator by profession, Atty. Tirol Jr. served as national president of the Philippine Public School Teacher, Employees Association (PPSTEA) and initiated the Magna Carta for Public Schools.

In July 2009, Atty. Tirol Jr. was awarded as one of The Outstanding Boholanos around the World (Tobaw) in the field of education. In his desire to open more avenues for educational advancement, he founded Cristal e College in Panglao, Information Computer Institute Bohol and Galeria, a computer school in Quezon City.

Atty. Tirol Jr. was a practicing lawyer with three Doctoral Degrees in Philosophy major in English, Education and Administration. He has also earned six masteral degrees. He also graduated Master of Arts in Theology, Doctor of Ministry and Doctor of Divinity. The Confederation of Evangelical Ministries Association of Bohol Inc. ordained him Evangelical Bishop. 

Having known friends who are fighting the Big C, I can feel what US-based socialite Mikey Gatal and his family are going through when he shares about the condition of his sister, the 1983 Miss Young Bohol Marcel Gatal-Diego, who battles the Big C.

“Any journey down that road is not easy for a family,” says Mikey, holding back tears.

Marcel is suffering from breast cancer stage 3, the same one singer-songwriter Anastacia is a survivor of.

The American Cancer Society says, “Stage 3 breast cancer is more advanced than Stage 2, but it is not considered metastatic. For this diagnosis, cancer has not spread from the breast to organs or other distant sites in the body, but cancer cells will have traveled to nearby underarm (axillary) lymph nodes, or lodged in lymph nodes beneath your breastbone (sternum) or even under your collarbone.”

Marcel Gatal-Diego (Courtesy: Raul Gatal)
“She’s in high spirits,” adds Mikey, who will visit Marcel this summer.

VRS is requesting its readers to pray for Marcel’s speedy recovery. Remember, as poet Alfred Tennyson said, more things are wrought by prayers than this world dreams of. Prayer can move mountains.   

The news first appeared on Bohol’s seasoned host Raul Gatal’s blog ( Yes, what’s in the blog is true.

My Ate Marcel Battles the Big C

I have been trying to keep this to myself but I realized that by sharing our pain, people would get to be more cognizant of breast cancer and how it affects and devastates the families of its victims

It was only last December 2013 when I visited Ate Marcel and her family in Manila that I found out about the Big C. The biopsy results confirmed what she had dreaded ever since she felt a lump in her chest. The diagnosis was breast cancer stage 3b.  

I remember going to the toilet right after we talked. It was there at that very private area where I tore up and really cried. After regaining my composure, I went back to the living room where Ate Marcel, Kuya
Tony and their kids were gathered.

I remember going out with the whole family and with younger brother Junjun for some bonding moments. It was supposed to be a happy occasion for Christmas was approaching and yet there was that dark cloud of gloom that hovered over us.

.. with daughter Katrina after a chemotherapy session.
That was one sad Christmas reminiscent of the one that we had the year Papa Rogie passed away.
Yes, my dear Ate Marcel is facing the biggest battle of her life and we need the power of a Prayer Brigade as she continues her treatment regimens

Ate Marcel’s last visit to Bohol was only last January. She insisted in coming home to pay her last respects to our late uncle “Papa Rey Gatal” before he was to be buried last January 3. It was a heart-wrenching reunion for Ate Marcel and cousins Ate Roni and Manoy Rocky who practically grew up together since our respective houses in Gallares St. were right beside each other.

I couldn’t help but shed a tear when Ate Marcel was sobbing on Manoy Rocky’s shoulders. Manoy Rocky, then Tagbilaran City’s Kabataang Barangay Chairman was the one who insisted that Ate Marcel accept the offer to represent the city in the 1983 Miss Young Bohol Pageant. She followed his advice and the rest is history.

Cancer is such a treacherous disease. Once it latches onto the cancer patient’s system, it is irreversible unless there is medical intervention. The malignant tumour results from the abnormal and uncontrolled division of affected cells

Right now Ate Marcel has lost her hair as a result of her ongoing chemotherapy. Ate Marcel has always been a survivor and been a veteran of life’s battles and wars. She has always been a strong, opinionated and determined woman who never been known to back out from trials and challenges.

But Ate Marcel can never do this alone. Let’s rally behind her as she faces the biggest battle of her life. Give her some words of encouragement and please offer a prayer for her

Making this public has been a very difficult decision for us. We could just keep quiet about this but it would be unfair for family, friends and classmates.

We want to share this so that everyone would realize that cancer is very real and can happen to anyone including your loved ones.   

(Note: The American Cancer Society (ACS) stresses the importance of finding breast cancer early.  The goal of screening exams for early breast cancer detection is to find cancers before they start to cause symptoms.
“Most doctors feel that early detection tests for breast cancer save thousands of lives each year,” says ACS’ website. If you have sore, red and itchy nipples, upper back pain, a change in nipple appearance or size, change in breast size and pain, lumps or swelling in the armpits, it is advisable that you contact a doctor as early as possible.)

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

Another feather in Marc Batoy’s decorated cap

Seen: Spotted in the US is Bohol's most popular emcee par excellence Gloria Leodivica Araneta. Araneta was spotted in Palto Alto, CA inside the Standford Shopping Center.

Scene: The “mother of the school” (MOTS) is in hot water as parents and residents of the barangay have petition for her removal as MOTS. The petition says “this MOTS has proven on numerous occasions that unfit to perform the position that has been assigned and is paid to do.” The parents also ask the “Mother Colony” (MC) to find a place where MOTS’ toxic attitude is acceptable. A high-ranking official in MC said, “Ay nothing is new! MOTS is our regular client!” Clue: Where is it? South or North?

Scene: The son of a famous businessman has been seen unkempt and wandering around, begging for transportation money. Nothing was heard about this son until lately when unsavory stories started cropping up in the circle making intrigeras tsk-tsking and saying “Sige pa, suyop pa.”  The son’s friends who delivered the goodies are now hiding...

Scene: The First Bohol International Choir Festival is on March 18-22. It will bring together international choir groups from all over the world showcasing each country-participant’s style and showmanship.

Summer Gimik 2014: Can-uba Beach attracts visitors

Can-uba Beach
Who needs a holiday this summer when the country will be basking in a heatwave? There's only one place we want to be when the sun breaks through---  the beach!

The sand is definitely one of the first elements that come to mind when people think about beaches in Bohol. But is sand really necessary to call a place a beach?

Searching for summer destinations in Bohol for GMA News, my roadtrip has led me discovering Can-uba Beach in Jagna town. It’s a hidden gem in Bohol which is now gaining attention as a summer-getaway.

Well maintained by the residents of barangay Can-uba, this beach is absolutely clean and safe, perfect place for swimming. It doesn’t have sand but have the famous pebbles or marbles (lag-it) so smooth you could triple-skip them across the water’s surface.

Beachgoers can walk along an entire coastline covered in pebbles. Can-uba beach is one of the few beaches in the eastern side of Bohol that are completely made of pebbles or marbles.

Can-uba Beach is a living proof that sand definitely doesn’t make a beach.

Distance: 51 minutes (63 kms) from Tagbilaran City
Location: Barangay Can-uba, Jagna, Bohol
Entrance: Free
Amenity: Cottage available for Php 50
Pasalubong to buy: Calamay

Students of Bohol Island State University-Main Campus have witnessed a new page in the school’s history following the successful completion of the school’s first automated Supreme Student Government (SSG) elections last Friday, March 14. 

A part-time model and student, Marc Joseph Batoy is considered a heartthrob. So, what’s in a woman that turns him on?  I could find a woman sexy if she walks confidently and has a sense of humor. Courtesy: Marc Joseph Batoy

The automated election was part of the school’s system strategic plan. “Providing an Automated Enrollment Service and Online Payment Gateways to its students/clients has already been proposed as part of Bohol Island State University's Information System Strategic Plan for the period 2014-2016,” said the official BISU page on Facebook.

 “We are both nervous and excited,” said Marc Joseph Batoy, a part-time model and incoming 4th year Electrical Engineering student.

“Nervous because you really don’t know what to expect, who will win or lose; excited because this is it. We are looking forward to this day,” he added.

Incidentally, Marc Joseph Batoy was running for senator under the Council of Envisioned Students Towards Progress (CESTP).

The partial and unofficial results (as of Friday):

For President: Alvin Alleluya has 2,475 votes against Francis Bukid who has 1,268 votes and Roland Nino Baldo’s 1,031 votes.

For Vice-President, Ian Ray Oclarit has 2,116 votes against Immaculada Leopardas with 1, 478 votes and Cristuto Lagura’s 1,074 votes.

From 15 senators who run, 12 will be chosen, and luckily, Marc is on top 5 with 2, 129 votes.

How was the campaign trail? “It’s okay, worth it ang kakapoy,” Marc revealed. 

What were the girls’ reactions seeing a handsome young man campaigning for senator?

“Not sure, but think nothing!” he said blushing. (How about those eyes and kilig factor?- Bjosh)

Marc is considered a heartthrob. He is a devoted son. He has been so devoted to his studies  that he must have forgotten to attend to his love life, never mind if women of all shapes and sizes from all levels of the social ladder are ready, willing and able to wait and meet him.

Marc shared to VRS that he will make important laws for the studentry. 

“I’m happy because not all are being given this kind of trust to serve my fellow students,” said Marc.

Winning the senatorial race will be another feather to Marc’s decorated cap. He was Mr. Olive-C Bohol 2012-2nd runner up, Mr. Teen-Bohol 2012- 1st runner up, Mr. BISU Main Campus 2012,  Mr. BISU (whole BISU system) 2012, Mr. Regional SCUAA (State Colleges and Universities Athletic Association) 2012 and Mr. National SCUAA 2013-2nd runner up.

A Pisces (March 1), Marc stands 5’9”; weighs 136 lbs.; and wears medium-size shirt and size-9 shoes.

He gives VRS readers an idea of what stuff he’s made of.

What is your favorite subject? Electrical circuits. (Wikipedia says electrical circuit is a network consisting of a closed loop, giving a return path for the current.-Bjosh)

Why do you think education is important? Education is the best investment of life. It opens up dozens of opportunities, provides security, gives better understanding and teaches the lesson of humanity. Education will never leave a person empty-handed.

What is your favorite quote?  Paulo Coelho’s "To live is to experience things, not sitting around pondering the meaning of life."

How do you manage your time in modeling and studying? Studies are really my priority. If there are competitions, shows and practices I see to it that I never leave my studies behind. So, I spare time to finish my tasks in school before going to an event or show or do it right after.

What is sexy to you? Confidence is sexy. Intelligence. Heart and Humor. That goes for man or woman.

What part of your body do you find sexiest? My smile!

What do you find sexy in a woman? I could find a woman sexy if she walks confidently and has a sense of humor.

Status? Single.

What qualities do you want in a girl? Intelligent, family-oriented, sweet and would always makes me smile.

What do you want to achieve? I want just want to be a licensed Engineer.

I hate people…That are not true to their words.

I avoid people….that are insensitive and closed-minded.

My greatest pleasure is...being able to represent region 7 in a national competition.

My worst moment is…when I was betrayed.

My biggest fear is...Failure.

I pray for…my family's safety, my studies and for those people who are affected by the calamities.

The most important person in my life Mother!

 If I were to be reincarnated as an animal I would be…a dog.

My most traumatic experience was...honestly, nothing!

Am I afraid of growing old?... No, growing old is inevitable, I would love to experience diff. things through my years. I'd rather be afraid of not growing up than growing old.

My favorite memory verse is... Matthew 6:33. It says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

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

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bitcoin: The Currency Of The Future?

I have a bitcoin but I don’t spend it for three reasons:
1. It is unacceptable in the Philippines. They don’t accept bitcoin.
2. They don’t know about bitcoin.
3. My friend who gave me bitcoin told me to “save” it like in a stock market. (But  it's only a small amount of BTC.)

Courtesy: PerfectHue
For the past months, I am posting my bitcoin address on Facebook  for others to know (perhaps donate),  but I got queries and a lot of people don’t know what is bitcoin and how it works. 

What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a new currency that was created in 2009 by an unknown person using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. Transactions are made with no middle men – meaning, no banks! There are no transaction fees and no need to give your real name. More merchants are beginning to accept them: You can buy webhosting services, pizza or even manicures.

Why Bitcoins?
Bitcoins can be used to buy merchandise anonymously. In addition, international payments are easy and cheap because bitcoins are not tied to any country or subject to regulation. Small businesses may like them because there are no credit card fees. Some people just buy bitcoins as an investment, hoping that they’ll go up in value.

Acquiring Bitcoins

My Bitcoin Address (Kindly donate)
Buy on an Exchange- Several marketplaces called “bitcoin exchanges” allow people to buy or sell bitcoins using different currencies. Mt. Gox is the largest bitcoin exchange.

Transfers- People can send bitcoins to each other using mobile apps or their computers. It’s similar to sending cash digitally.

Mining- People compete to “mine” bitcoins using computers to solve complex math puzzles. This is how bitcoins are created. Currently, a winner is rewarded with 25 bitcoins roughly every 10 minutes.

For Bitcoin free wallet, click here 
For free bitcoins, click here

Owning Bitcoins
Bitcoins are stored in a “digital wallet,” which exists either in the cloud or on a user’s computer. The wallet is a kind of virtual bank account that allows users to send or receive bitcoins, pay for goods or save their money. Unlike bank accounts, bitcoin wallets are not insured by the FDIC.

Courtesy: Forbes
Though each bitcoin transaction is recorded in a public log, names of buyers and sellers are never revealed – only their wallet IDs. While that keeps bitcoin users’ transactions private, it also lets them buy or sell anything without easily tracing it back to them. That’s why it has become the currency of choice for people online buying drugs or other illicit activities.

Future in question
No one knows what will become of bitcoin. It is mostly unregulated, but that could change. Governments are concerned about taxation and their lack of control over the currency.

Source: CNN

Delicious Recipes from the Congressional Wives

Scene: Runway Icons, a modeling agency owned and managed by eventologist Mizken Tirol Andan, MBA, Ph.D., is looking for 25 artista aspirants for the Teen Idol 2014. Exposure shows and workshops will be held this summer.  Currently, Runway Icons is merging with Viva Entertainment Inc.  and ABS-CBN.  For inquiries, text or call 09199132119.

Piolo Pascual
Scene: The (re)launching of the Sandugo Toastmasters Club was held yesterday, March, 8 sponsored by Toastmasters International (TI), in partnership with the Sinulog Toastmasters Club and the Queen City Toastmasters Club.

Seen: Spotted in Bohol last week was Kapamilya actor Piolo Pascual.  Now on its 4th super mega blockbuster week,  Starting Over Again, starring Piolo Pascual and Toni Gonzaga, grosses P375 million.

Scene: News about a lawmaker filed a bill today seeking to declare Piolo Pascual as the Philippines’ “National Ultimate Heartthrob” is a hoax.  There is no Bohol Seventh District Rep. Wally Magwa Mabuti.  The satirical news appeared on Twitter and Facebook after Bohol 1st district Rep. Rene Relampagos filed a bill to declare abodo as national food.

Scene: At least 30 journalists from Cebu, Bohol and Tacloban attended the Peer Trauma Seminar conducted by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP). The Bohol journos who attended the seminar were Edward Guyano, Angeline Valencia, Leo Udtohan, Aida Tangal, Jun Gutierrez, Roger Balamad, Felix Cempron, Ric Obedencio, Mike Ligalig and Rey Anthony Chiu.

Contrary to popular belief, the wives of our Bohol congressmen love to cook!

Last week, Imee Adiong-Relampagos, wife of 1st district Rep. Rene Relampagos; Vanessa Cadorna-Aumentado, wife of 2nd district Rep. Aris Aumentado; and Carol Gow-Yap, wife of 3rd district Rep. Art Yap, shared their favorite recipes on the forthcoming cookbook of the Congressional Spouses Foundation, Inc. (CSFI).

The spouses of the Bohol congressional representatives (l-r) Imee Adiong-Relampagos, Carol Gow-Yap and Vanessa Cadorna-Aumentado share some of their favorite recipes for the Congressional Club Cook Book which will be released in August.  Courtesy: CSFI
The CSFI is an organization composed of the spouses of lawmakers. They conduct outreach programs and other socio-civic projects, Evangeline Pastor, officer in charge of the CSFI said.

The Congressional Club Cook Book (available in August 2014) will have a new and unique collection of recipes to represent the diverse ethnic backgrounds, regional customs, and family traditions of the members and their spouses. The cookbook will be a symbol of a collection of friendships that the members cherish.

Publishing the Congressional Club Cook Book has been one of the CSFI’s most important projects. It supports the variety of activities that the CSFI has offered over the years. Each year, revenue generated from cookbook sales also helps support monetary contributions made by the CSFI to a variety of local charities.

They brought their ingredients and cooked their own recipes. They even shared their kitchen tips-cooking secrets to the media who covered the pictorial and cooking session.

Here are the yummiest recipes from the wives of our Bohol Congressmen for you to try out.

From Mrs. Relampagos’ takla special to Mrs. Aumentado’s hinalang na manok and to Mrs. Yap’s radish salad....why not give these recipes a whirl in your own kitchen?

Bon appetit…

Bohol’s Tuba-marinated Takla Delight!
Imee Relampagos

The snapping shrimp, locally known as takla, has the world's record as the loudest animal in the world. It produces 4000dB sound level when it snaps its powerful pincher that produces a bubble hot enough to stun its prey.

In Calape, and other parts of Bohol, takla makes a good delicacy. Just like shrimps they also have good meat even better due to its fat content.

1 cup tuba
½ kilo takla (shrimp)
1 pc. onion
1 tbsp. garlic
1 tbsp. ginger
¼ cup butter

Marinate the takla in tuba for 15 minutes. Set aside. In a separate pan, sauté garlic, onion, and ginger in butter. When the garlic turns golden brown, add the marinated takla. The dish is ready to serve when the takla turns from blackish to red.

Hinalang na Bisayang Manok
Vanessa Aumentado

A Bohol specialty is the hinalang na manok. Hinalang means “pinaanghang” or “made hot or spicy.” The chicken is cooked in onion, ginger, peppercorn, chilli and coconut milk.

Courtesy: Panlasang Pinoy
1 whole native chicken, cut into serving pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium size ginger, sliced
1/2 tsp peppercorn
3 red hot chilis (labuyo)
2 cans coconut milk
1/2 cup water
salt to taste (optional)
1 bundle lemongrass (tanglad)

Place native chicken and lemongrass in a saucepan, add water, and bring to a boil. Add the cup coconut milk and combine all ingredients. Put chopped onion, ginger, pepper and  garlic. Boil the native chicken for about 30-60 minutes or until done it depends on how old your native chicken. Add salt to taste and red hot chili then simmer for 5 minutes. Serve hot with lots of rice.

Radish Salad
Carol Yap

Courtesy: Food Network
4 cups radishes, washed and sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
1 cup diced fresh tomato
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Fresh chopped parsley for garnish

Directions: Combine sliced radishes, onion, and tomato. Whisk together the salt, garlic, pepper, basil or mint, lemon juice, and vegetable oil. Toss with salad then garnish with parsley.

Oscars 2014: Stars’ best quotes
Undoubtedly, the people who took home the Oscars on March 2 had an incredible night. Ellen DeGeneres was the most fun Oscar host we’ve seen a long time. It was an amazing evening between the pizza, the selfie and the subtle digs.

12 Years a Slave won the best picture. Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) won best actress.

Matthew McConaughey, who won best actor for the movie Dallas Buyers Club, was one of the few stars to thank God in Oscar acceptance speech.

"First off, I want to thank God, because that's who I look up to. He's graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or any other human hand. He has shown me that it's a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates."

Lupita Nyong’o, who won best supporting actress for 12 Years a Slave gave an absolutely stirring acceptance of her first Oscar: “No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.”

The toughest Oscar race this year was for best actor. Right until the awards began the race was almost certainly down to Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave and Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club. McConaughey was the eventual winner. Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t win (possibly any time soon).  Leo, cool guys don’t win Oscars!

By the way, Hollywood journos reported that Ellen used Samsang Galaxy (sponsor of the Oscars) for the “selfie of the year” which broke Twitter, but she was seen using Iphone at the backstage. The pizza’s partner was Coca-Cola and the Oscar’s sponsor was Pepsi. Come on!

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