Wednesday, May 21, 2014

60 things people should know about Grenie Aumentado; Sevilla has a new Mayor

60 things people should know about Grenie Aumentado
Finally, Ernesita “Nene” Digal is new Sevilla mayor

Scene:  Blind hymnist and lyricist Onecimo “Onie” Oclarit needs our help. Onie, who suffers from chronic kidney ailment, has to undergo dialysis. “Gamay nalang nahibilin sa akong kinabuhi, nagsuway ako sa paghangyo kaninyo og diyutay nga hinabang,” he said in a video posted on Facebook. To help Onie, contact his daughter Alma at 09354989726. He has given much to the Church and to the beautiful musical culture of our province. Onie composed the songs Carlos P. Garcia: Bantugang Bol-anon and  Balik sa Bohol (popularized by Loboc singers at the floating restaurants). His composition "Señor San Jose" is sung anywhere in the world where there are Visayan devotees of Saint Joseph.

Scene: The successful book launching of Nestor Maniebo Pestelos’ Old Warrior and Other Poems last Wednesday, May 14 at the BQ Atrium.  Thanks to Sir Marianito Luspo (who emceed the event) for the invitation to the special and meaningful book launching. It was special because the book charts the life and experiences of Mr. Pestelos, and meaningful because the net proceeds of the book will be donated to the Bohol Quake Assistance Fund Drive of Bohol Local Development Foundation, Inc and partner agencies to help provide shelter and livelihood assistance to the victims of the killer quake. Visit or

Comelec sits new mayor in Sevilla town

After one year of waiting, former Sevilla Mayor Ernesita “Nene” Digal was finally proclaimed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec)-Manila as the new mayor last Wednesday, May 14.

Mayor Ernesita Digal took her oath as the new mayor of Sevilla before Judge Sisinio Virtudazo with witnesses Marie Karen Digal-Asoy, Doxson Asoy and Atty.Theodoro Lagang. Photo By: Leo Udtohan

After Digal’s proclamation, she went home and took her oath before Judge Sisinio Virtudazo on the same day. The oath-taking was witnessed by former SK leaders-couple Marie Karen Digal-Asoy and Doxson Asoy and lawyer Theodoro Lagang.

“I thank the Lord! Nagpasalamat ko sa Ginoo nga minggawas ang resulta sa kaso nga sayo,” said Mayor Digal. “Ug akong panawagan sa katawhan sa Sevilla nga magmalinawun, makighiusa ug matinabangay para sa kaayuhan ug kauswagan sa mahal nga lungsod sa Sevilla.”

VRS sought Mayor Juliet Dano for comments but it was Sevilla municipal administrator Pat Dano who answered on her behalf.  

He said Mayor Dano has not yet receive a copy of the proclamation. He also added, “As of now, business as usual walay interruption.”

Sixty years ago, The Bohol Chronicle was born. This newspaper fought for freedom of the press.

The Bohol Chronicle’s anniversary (the 16th on Friday, May 16) coincides with the birthday of Peregrina “Grenie” Aumentado (her 73rd) who should be, according to Fatima Mapesos, addressed as “Maam Grenie”, described as “the best first lady of Bohol.”

What many people perhaps didn’t know is that her husband the late Rep. Erico Aumentado (who’s celebrating his 74th birthday today, May 18) was a columnist of this paper.

In keeping with The Bohol Chronicle’s 60th year, VRS asked Jiselle Rae “Jamie” Aumentado Villamor to do a list of the 60 things about her Lola Grenie.

1. She is our model of simplicity. Simple, in the very strict sense of the word and in all angles. She likes less complicated things.
2. She is comfortable in her own skin, in her own beauty and what she got as a person. To me, it is a mark of a truly beautiful person, inside and out. 
3. She smiles at simple things in life. A simple greeting. A simple gathering. A simple present. Give her that and she finds joy in it.
4. She is feisty. She knows how to get her ideas across.
5. She never let anything hold her down.
6. She is independent.
7. She finds ways on her own to get out of a difficult situation.
8. She turns difficult and hard situation into fun and amusing experience.
9. She thinks ahead of the situation. She anticipates and readies herself with anything that might happen.
10. She is one tough lady to hold her own in certain situations.
11. She lets go of the bad days and move forward to better ones.
12. She does what needs to be done “period.”
13. She is fearless with anything, except with God.
14. She was always there behind Lolo Rico’s 45 years of public service- supporting, inspiring and helping out the best way she could.
15. “She loves to be held and kissed every time I go out from the house”, according to Lolo Rico.
16. She is smart and wise.
17. She gives the most practical advice on marriage and how to deal with your husband. Yes, I am still single but I am lucky enough to have heard and listened to my Lola’s advice on men.
18. She lives not to impress but to be her own.
19. She prefers not to live in someone’s expectation.
20. She does not expect everyone to understand her journey because she knows we have not been exactly where she is going.
21. She is a very down to earth woman.
22. She never demands.
23. She settles on what is available, and she does not want to cause people hard time only for her convenience. What is convenient for all is convenient for her.
24. She is bold and original. 
25. She always refuses to be in the limelight.
26. She prefers lightness and elegance than lavish and glamor.
27. She stood for the family and is still standing for her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
28. She always reminds us to live within our means.
29. She always reminds us that power and material things are temporary in this world.
Jiselle Rae with her Lola Grenie
30. I don’t ever remember her baking cookies or cooking a dish- she is not that kind of grandmother- but I do remember her making her own version of hot pot dish ‘shabu-shabu’ and she proudly, exclusively and specially served it to only one person, Lolo Rico who delightfully and ‘carefully’ chose his words to describe the dish Lola Grenie made only for him.
31. She has a green thumb, a real farm and garden lady. She likes to stay and work in her garden or farm for hours and not go anywhere. It is either of vegetables, fruits or flowers. I could not think of any person I know who has excellent gardening skills than her.
32. She has the skill to take what is available and turn it into something very useful and special. She’d turn an empty tea jar to a nice pen holder, a used and torn sarong to beautiful handkerchiefs. Nothing goes to waste.
33.  She does not spend money unless necessary.
34. When she does spend money, she sees to it that she spends for the most reasonable price.
35. She likes to write and post it on walls. I am not talking about FB or Twitter kind of posts, but literally, she writes on a paper with a marker and posts it on everywhere she thinks visible- kitchen walls so the girls get reminded of her instructions, on the bathroom wall so she and Lolo Rico would be reminded of important dates and tasks.
36. She also writes her sentiments and post to a strategic place where the person the message is intended for can read.
37. She is a very generous woman. Often times, one would not leave her house empty handed because she gives even the little things she can offer.
38. She thinks of the welfare of everyone first before her own. She’d rather give out the money intended for her own to people who need it more than her. For her, nothing is too insignificant when it comes to lending a hand to someone else.
39. She never runs out of stories to tell. One of the best things about her. We could talk for hours and we always love that.
40. She is naturally funny and cool. Yes, that’s because we can talk about anything to her and laugh about it.
41. She is adorable in so many ways like the way she talks, her facial expressions and gestures. Get close to her once and you will know what I mean.
42. She still plays around with her great grandchildren.
43. She does not overthink. She worries less and she thinks for better solution.
44. She pays close attention to the people whom her loved ones find so important in their lives.
45. She believes that in order to serve your purpose in this world, you have to remove toxic people in your lives.
46. She is a very strong willed woman.
47. She takes responsibility of her actions.
48. She gives credit and gratitude to the one who deserves it.
49. She speaks in truth even when her voice shakes or even when you don’t like what you hear.
50. She tells you what she wants and really means it.
51. She always reminds us the power of prayer and how God is faithful to His promises to us. I remember one time, I was sick and became anxious over something. Lola Grenie said “Pray and call upon Jesus. He helps and will never leave you.” In situations like that, I always hear my Lola’s voice reminding me to pray and it comforts me every time.
52. She teaches us the value of loyalty and that none of us are perfect, but we all have the ability to be loyal to those we love, such as family and true friends.
53. She may at times forget your name but she doesn’t forget how you were to her. I personally had this experience with Lola when she couldn’t remember the name of the person we met at a grocery store but she did tell me how that person in a way touched her life.
54. She is not afraid to step outside of the box and out from her comfort zone.
55. She loves and she fights, depending on what is needed.
56. She is one of the few people I think of when I am caught in doubting situations and I ask myself what she could have done if she were on my shoes.
57. She has always been the rock, a stronghold in the family.
58. She is one woman who constantly showed me to never compromise myself, to trust my instincts, and to stand for my convictions.
59. She is someone I could not thank enough for what I have become now.
60. She is the definition of love, beauty and simplicity.

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

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Chandrina & Abdul Wallace welcome a girl

Baby Abrianna Isabelle is here!
Chandrina & Abdul Wallace welcome a girl

Tessie with Isabel Granada and Whitney Tyson 
Scene: Prof. Jose Marianito Luspo posted on Facebook: Preparations are under way for the launching of “Old Warrior and Other Poems” a book of poetry penned by Nestor Maniebo Pestelos, a long-time resident of Bohol who has been known more for his various community development involvement both here and outside the province. The launch is slated to be at the Atrium of BQ Mall at 3 p.m.  on May 14 (Wednesday). “Old Warrior and Other Poems” consists of 33 poems written by the author in the past several years that reflect his poetic insights into issues and concerns of a life well lived. Its lead poem, “Old Warrior” is expressive of the burning ideals, frustrations, weariness and continued commitment to a cause he has dedicated himself to since his youth – the betterment of humanity and the transformation of communities.

SceneCoffee? Food? Books? Music? Arts? Wifi? Visit Tambahayan Cafe along Ma. Clara Street, Tagbilaran City beside Cristal E-College, basement of 5 by 5 Convenience Store. Tambay na on May 14 for the soft-opening. The cafe is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Scene: In a sudden turn of events, a town where there is a bamboo bridge will have a new mayor this week. “It gonna rock the town,” says VRS.

Seen: Spotted in Bohol last week were veteran actress Isabel Granada, comedienne Whitney Tyson and Inquirer entertainment columnist Dolly Anne Carvajal at Cuisina ni Tisay (owned by Tessie Labunog-Sumampong) at the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park in Carmen town. Also spotted in Panglao Island last week was Miss Philippines-Tourism 2014 Parul Shah.

Beauty queen Chandrina Elluiska Schreurs-Wallace gave birth to her first child last Tuesday, May 6 at exactly 10 p.m. at the Holy Name University Medical Center, Tagbilaran City.

Chandrina, who is married to Abdul Wallace, said her first child weighed 7.6 pounds and measured 50 centimeters.

Hello World! Meet Abrianna Isabelle Schreurs-Wallace.

The beauty queen said she named her Abrianna Isabelle.

Chandrina said that Abrianna Isabelle is her “ultimate treasure.”

News of the birth attracted a small crowd of friends stopping by to pay a visit.

"The father is having one of the happiest moments of his life, like any father, especially when they have the joy of having their first child from such a wonderful wife as Chandrina,"  shared VRS.

"Chan Chan is doing fine. She is smiling a lot. She is as happy as the father," VRS said.

On Tuesday, Abdul’s sister Miss Bohol Sandugo 2000 Mellanie Wallace (based in New York, USA where she works as a nurse) took to Facebook to comment the arrival of her niece.  “Our little angel, Abrianna Wallace! 7.6 lbs , 50 cm. Look at those legs!! Grandma Vicky is the happiest!! I'm a happy Auntie!” she wrote. “ Awww, Mom's finally a granny,” she later added.

Today is Mother’s Day! Since I can’t find the best words to express how precious our mothers, nanaynana, mommy, mom, inangina, Mama, et al, here are some stories shared to us by Cecile Abuyabor (of Tagbilaran City) to remind us why our mothers are the best.

Flowers for Mother

A man stopped at a flower shop to order some flowers to be wired to his mother who lived two hundred miles away.

As he got out of his car he noticed a young girl sitting on the curb sobbing.

He asked her what was wrong and she replied, "I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother.

But I only have seventy-five cents, and a rose costs two dollars."

The man smiled and said, "Come on in with me. I'll buy you a rose."

He bought the little girl her rose and ordered his own mother's flowers.

As they were leaving he offered the girl a ride home.

She said, "Yes, please! You can take me to my mother."

She directed him to a cemetery, where she placed the rose on a freshly dug grave.

The man returned to the flower shop, canceled the wire order, picked up a bouquet and drove the two hundred miles to his mother's house.

And here’s another (inspirational) story...

My Mom Only Had One Eye

My mom only had one eye. I hated her… She was such an embarrassment. She cooked for students and teachers to support the family.

There was this one day during elementary school where my mom came to say hello to me. I was so embarrassed.

How could she do this to me? I ignored her, threw her a hateful look and ran out. The next day at school one of my classmates said, ‘EEEE, your mom only has one eye!’

I wanted to bury myself. I also wanted my mom to just disappear. I confronted her that day and said, ‘ If you’re only gonna make me a laughing stock, why don’t you just die?’

My mom did not respond… I didn’t even stop to think for a second about what I had said, because I was full of anger. I was oblivious to her feelings.

I wanted out of that house, and have nothing to do with her. So I studied real hard, got a chance to go abroad to study.

Pestelos’  poetry book, Old Warrior and Other Poems.
Then, I got married. I bought a house of my own. I had kids of my own. I was happy with my life, my kids and the comforts. Then one day, my Mother came to visit me. She hadn’t seen me in years and she didn’t even meet her grandchildren.

When she stood by the door, my children laughed at her, and I yelled at her for coming over uninvited. I screamed at her, ‘How dare you come to my house and scare my children!’ GET OUT OF HERE! NOW!!!’
And to this, my mother quietly answered, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry. I may have gotten the wrong address,’ and she disappeared out of sight.

One day, a letter regarding a school reunion came to my house. So I lied to my wife that I was going on a business trip. After the reunion, I went to the old shack just out of curiosity.

My neighbors said that she died. I did not shed a single tear. They handed me a letter that she had wanted me to have.

‘My dearest son,

I think of you all the time. I’m sorry that I came to your house and scared your children.

I was so glad when I heard you were coming for the reunion. But I may not be able to even get out of bed to see you. I’m sorry that I was a constant embarrassment to you when you were growing up.

You see……..when you were very little, you got into an accident, and lost your eye. As a mother, I couldn’t stand watching you having to grow up with one eye. So I gave you mine.

I was so proud of my son who was seeing a whole new world for me, in my place, with that eye.

With all my love to you,

Your mother.’


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

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Mutya sa Tagbilaran 2014 and Saulog sa Tagbilaran 2014

Geraldine Topsnik: Mutya sa Tagbi 2014
• Performers fascinate Saulog crowd

Was the right woman crowned?

Fifteen of the city’s loveliest ladies assembled in Tagbilaran City last Monday (April 28) for the come-back of Mutya sa Tagbilaran (formerly Miss Teen Tagbilaran, Miss Young Tagbilaran and Miss Tagbilaran) competition of beauty, brains — and, of course, bikinis (provided by Hanz Coquilla)!

Miss Dampas Geraldine Topsnik wear the Mutya crown -- er, tiara -- atop her perfectly coiffed head. Courtesy: Ric Obedencio (RO)
There were top five... and then it came down to Miss Poblacion 2 Rizalee Rose  Razo (who became first runner-up and  Miss Talent and Best in Evening Wear) and Miss Cabawan Karen Rossana Llorente (who was second-runner-up and Best in Production Number and Best in Swimsuit) and Miss Dampas  Geraldine Topsnik who ended up taking home the crown!

The 17-year-old Topsnik, a half-German half-Filipino, describes herself as a “full Filipina and a true Boholana” and aspires to become a successful businesswoman.

Topsnik (wearing another crown)  with her runners-up during the Saulog Parade. RO

In her Mutya official video on Youtube, Topsnick said she loves pansit. “My favorite food is pansit.  Because I believe that pansit is one of the simple dishes that is present in every family.  Come to think of it, when you think of pansit it is very simple. I think it’s complexity and the simplicity of pansit truly describes Filipina beauty and taste.”

“Success is having a goal in life,” said Topsnik. “As long as you tried your best to achieve your goal, and no matter what happen you are contented of what you have.”

It was a night of thrills and surprises.  Beauty watchers who watched Topsnik during the pageant night said that it was her overall aura and stage presence made her a winner.

“She was also great in her early interview,” said VRS who likes beauty pageant.

Miss Bohol Sandugo 2005 and Bb. Pilipinas –World 2006 Anna Maris Igpit (who also trained the ladies how to walk) was on hand to host the big event with TV host and eventologist Tim Yap. 

The judge's panel included Bohol’s first lady Pureza Chatto, 2014 Miss Tourism International Angeli Dione Gomez, GMA-7 Network talent center head Ida Henares, ABS-CBN entertainment anchor, TV host and fashion/commercial model Phoemela Baranda, actress, model and music video director Bianca King Bianca King, Mister International 2013 4th runner-up Gil Wagas, fashion designers Cary Santiago and Charina Sarte and pageant designer Mark Tenchavez.

Meanwhile, the roving VRS (who is also a veteran beauty pageant watcher) also shared the sidelights and highlights of this year’s Mutya sa Tagbilaran:

It was a star-studded event with TV personalities. The stage design and decoration was bongga to the highest level.

The official color of the night was green, also Mayor Baba Yap’s official party color during the campaign period.  I and other watchers are not buying the explanation that green was for St. Joseph and the environment.

The ladies were gorgeous women in bikinis designed by Hanz Coquilla. Daniel Matsunaga made the girls and pa-girls “kilig” as he shared his singing skill to the big event serenading the girls.

While the contestant was walking on the stage, the entire screen projected the face and name of the  gown designer. I wonder why fashion designer Maximiel Tallo didn’t participate to design a gown for a contestant in this year’s search?

Speaking of the trophies and awards, the face of the beloved Mayor was plastered on the plaques. It occupies one-fourth of the green plaque.  It would be better if the face of the girl is on her own plaque to remind her that she was once a Mutya contestant. It’s like having Donald Trump’s face on the Miss USA and Miss Universe trophies.

And another one, the committee chairman and Tagbilaran first lady Jane Censoria Cajes-Yap should have refrained from being the one-woman panel for the closed door interview.  She could invite media people or panel of interviewers to select the darling of the press or the best in interview.

For the second time, the Saulog festival last Wednesday was a blast. It colored the street as it was smooth--the weather was cooperative and perfect.

The Festival King and Queen lead dancers during the Saulog dance parade. -LPU

Along with me on the streets were my friend Emerson Pinos and my nephew Jerwin Jala to witness the performances of the 14 contingents.

Julia Park, a 30-year-old Korean visitor, said she was amazed to watch the Saulog because it was vibrant and colorful.

“The performers beautifully arranged their dance,” she said.

Dancers paying homage to St. Joseph the Worker.- LPU
“Saulog Tagbilaran is our artistic expression of paying homage to our patron saint, Saint Joseph the worker,” said Fiel Angeli Araoarao-Gabin, the city information officer. “It is our way as Boholanos and Tagbilaranons to move on despite the calamity that had struck us in 2013. This is big reason to have a big celebration hence it is called Saulog Tagbilaran.”

Unlike last year’s celebration, the contingents didn’t perform a dance ritual in front of the St. Joseph Cathedral. They just proceeded to perform in two stations (City Square-BQ and Wregent Hotel).

The flow of the crowd worsened, particularly at the City Square-BQ Mall, one of the judging stations of the street dancing.  It was the same last year that there was no crowd control and it didn’t bar people from spilling to the streets where the contingents performed.  Photographers swarm like locusts in every contingent winding toward the CPG Sports Complex. My poor Jerwin and other people (including yours truly) could not watch the performance of the dancers because the photographers barred us from watching the performances with their SLR cameras and bazooka of lenses. But in the end, I shrugged off the idea.  I’d joined the other photographers to take pictures. After all, I wasn't really there for the contest.

Colorful costumes -LPU
The crowd cheered for their favorite contingents. Only two contingents carried an effigy of San Jose during the street-dancing. There was no float to add attraction.

This year, the Saulog committee also introduced the Festival King and Queen who were lead dancers of the contingents/baragays they were representing. They were spectacles on the streets plunged in vibrant costumes meticulously ornamented. There were Poseidon, Batman and mermaids. Unlike the festival queen in Sinulog in Cebu, the festival kings and queens (Fiel, I like to call them Rajah ug Hara sa Saulog), I’d noticed they were not holding a small statue of St. Joseph while dancing.

I like this year's Saulog, but contingents need to draw inspiration from our roots and traditions instead of from foreign concepts.

A Festival Queen candidate during the dance parade. LPU
Celebrities from tinseltown added glitz to the Saulog as GMA talents Mark Herras and Yasemin Kurdi joined the event at the CPG Sports Complex.
The event ended with colorful fireworks. After all, the essence of the Saulog is celebrating and thanksgiving to Señor San Jose.

(Winners: 1st- Ubujan, 2nd –Taloto, 3rd –Manga. Ubujan also won seven awards: best colorful group, festival queen first runner-up, best in musicality, best in choreographer, best in production design, best in costume and best in field performance. Festival Queen: Poblacion 3; Festival King: Poblacion 2)

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