Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bohol killer quake, sorrow & hope in words

Seen: Gremerson Idulsa Aladad of the Bohol Island State University (BISU)-Tagbilaran has topped the Oct. 2014 Mechanical Engineer Licensure Examination.  Aladad got a 93.8 percent rating. According to PRC, there were 2,960 out of 3,841 who passed the exam.

Seen: Miss Bohol 2014 Queenie Melody Fullante is Miss JCI Phiippines 2014.

SceneOctober 15, 2014 is a special non-working holiday in Bohol, by virtue of Proclamation No. 887 signed by President Aquino.

Scene: Holger Horn is elected president of Panglao Scuba Diving Association (PASS). Other elected officers are Henry Hoeppner, vice-president; Laarni Lehtonen, secretary; Kwatz Gomez, treasurer; and Marlon Lamagna, auditor. The association is institutionalized through Municipal Ordinance No. 12, Series of 2013 and therefore fully recognized by the Municipality of Panglao.

Scene: The successful 1st PanubigFestival of Pilar town yesterday. Take a bow, Butch Bernas! Take a bow, Mayor Nita Cubrado!


Day of disaster/I can never forget/tired and thirsty.

This Wednesday, Oct. 15, will mark the one-year anniversary of the horrific earthquake that struck Bohol.
In the year that has passed, much has changed. Mountains of rubble have not been fully cleared. Bohol mourns the deaths of more than 200 people and five missing, one year after.

When an earthquake hit Bohol, Latigo (FT. kidothz), a group of Boholano rappers, wrote these words in Nov. 2013:

Another rap group, Anastazy Pro from Calape town, composed the song Bangon Bohol in Jan. 2014.

Collected here are recent images of those affected by the disaster, 
coping and moving on one year later. -LPU
Nakita sa kadaghan ang atoang katilingban,/ Akip na ang kahimtang ning atong ka igsuonan/daw na wad-an sa pagla-um,/ uban natong igsuon dili pa-ulahi para mobalik ta / ug mobangon sabay sampit sa kahitas-an / dili nato kalimtan ayaw huna-hunaa nga mo duol rata / kung kinahanglan kay wala siyay gi pili / andam siyang mo alagad sa atong palibot /  nga daghan na ang nanga samad.

Another song dedicated to the victims of the earthquake Bangon Bohol written by Ralph Maligro:

Itinayong tahanan gusali't simbahan / naglahong bigla , na parang bula /ang pangkabuhayan ng bawat isa/ 'san na napunta , 'san na kukuha

Bangon Bohol , bangon bol-anon/ Tayo ay sinubok lamang ng panginoon / ano mang hamon sa buhay haharapin/ lahat susuungin , lahat kakayanin

sa likod ng ngiti ay mga luha/ naghihinagpis nangungulila/ buhay'y nasawi , di na maibalik/ hinahanap-hanap , yakap mo't halik

Engr. Soc Saletrero’s Bangon Igsoon (Bohol Sandugo Song Festival 2014 grand winner), reminds us to put our trust in the Lord.  

Pailob lang igsoon sa na-aguman mo’ng katalagman nga ningdangat/ Hinumdumi nga ang tanan pagsulay man sa Kahitas-an.

Rhymathics Featuring Thea’s Bohol We Will Rise tells us that the Lord is our protector and strength.

Much has been said and written about the Oct. 15 quake. Yet, for all these words, the scope of the disaster and the depth of the sorrow have felt unknowable. The good part is we come to understanding/acceptance/moving on.

It’s now safe, /It’s over,/the Lord is on our side.


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

Monday, October 6, 2014

10 contingents to join Pilar’s 1st Panubig Festival ; Kirby Asunto to hold benefit concert for quake victims

•10 contingents to join Pilar’s 1st Panubig Festival
•Kirby Asunto to hold benefit concert for quake victims


Scene: Marina S. Salamanca, Ph.D. is the new assistant schools division superintendent of DepEd, Division of Bohol. Salamanca is a multi-awarded Scout Leader and trainer of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, having received the Silver Usa for her meritorious and outstanding service to scouting.

Seen: Sen. Bongbong Marcos was in Bohol last Friday for the multisectoral dialogue on Infrastructure Development, Climate Change Adaption and Disaster Preparedness.

Scene: Making sure that no one is left behind in all the educational programs available, NYC Commissioner-At-Large Jose Sixto “Dingdong” Dantes III was in Bohol last Monday for the Abot Alam Project. Abot Alam seeks to locate out of school youths (OSYs) and enroll them in program interventions in education, entrepreneurship, and employment. Dantes stressed the collaboration with partners in engaging ordinary citizens to adopt an OSY and ensure that they are enrolled in the Abot-Alam program.

For his part, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell gave books for the OYs through Abot Alam event. He said education is "a critical component of human development which in turn is necessary for economic growth."


Rising Broadway artist Kirby Asunto is spearheading a fund-raising concert billed Gift of Joy to benefit the victims of the Oct. 15, 2014 quake that killed nearly 200 people and displaced thousands of Boholanos.

The show will take place on Dec. 13, 7 p.m. at the Bohol Wisdom Auditorium.

Guests include JM de Guzman, Fr. Jonas Mejares, Loboc Children’s Choir, Penelope, Van and Maki Rickafort of the Singing Bee.

Kirby Asunto is coming to the province for a benefit concert on Dec. 13. 
 Photo grabbed from her official Facebook page.
Asunto got her first shot at fame during the fight between Pacquiao-Bradley fight in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2012. She was personally handpicked by Pacman to sing the Philippine National Anthem during his match against American boxer Timothy Bradley Jr.

The New Jersey Suburban News reported that “Asunto has earned high recognition in the Filipino-American communities in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Washington, D.C. even at her tender age.” As Most Outstanding Filipino in New York, she was the grand champion of the Philippine Fiesta Grand Idol singing competition.

Ticket prices are P200, P 500 and P750. For inquiries, please call 09157572551/0927-564-9047.


Ten contingents will take part in the first-ever Panubig Festival, a socio-religious event in honor of the Our Lady of the Pillar, the most revered saint of Pilar town, on October 11.

“As the center of rice granary in the province of Bohol, “Panubig” is a general term commonly used by the people to irrigate the farm, since water is life,” said Butch Bernas who conceptualized the first Panubig fest.

Pilar, formerly a barrio of Sierra Bullones town, has the Malinao Dam which was constructed to help irrigate the farms of Pilar and nearby towns of San Miguel, part of Ubay and Alicia.

Butch said that the actual feast of Our Lady of the Pillar is celebrated on Oct. 12 with grand nine-day nightly events every year in her honor.

“Panubig festival will commemorate its maiden celebration as thanksgiving and blessing of the people in honor of Our Lady of Pillar for giving a bountiful harvest to the devotees,” said Butch, a member of the Bohol Arts Culture and Heritage Council.
On Oct. 11, the town of Pilar will reverberate to the sound of revelry 
as residents and visitors celebrate the 1st Panubig Festival. 
Courtesy: Butch Bernas

One of the highlights of the festival is the search for the Panubig King and Queen.

“Each contingent has one Panubig Queen and one Panubig King,” said Butch.

“The music to be used is a combination of Pilar Hymn or any religious chants and must be celebratory,” said Butch. “It is of a free rhythm, not patterned from Sinulog or other famous festival in the region.”

“The entire performance shall be divided into street dance and ritual. Each contingent must perform the street dance routine using only progressive movements, no backward steps,” said Butch.


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

Wincie turns 75, shows no signs of slowing down

Scene: Sylvia Dagami-Fortich posted on Facebook about Tindogi Tagbilaran: "If it's not worth fighting for, it's not worth much at all." "Do not be afraid to proceed forward doing that which others object to or doubt will work or imply that you're crazy to even imagine accomplishing. This is an important way to pick up your cross in following Jesus (Matt. 16:24). The only thing to fear is going against God's will by choosing inaction. When we
have to stand up for an idea that we feel inspired by the Holy Spirit to do, we have discovered a cause that will make a significant difference." For the love of our only home city, all of us who consider Tagbilaran our HOME, should stand up to protect her from everything atrocious and dreadful! For many, fighting is a hard and scary thing to do. But when you are fighting right in your own backyard, for your own self and those that you love, fighting becomes much easier! For even if others think Tagbilaran is just "a" place, for us this place is "HOME" and worth fighting for! YOU are a true Tagbilaranon if you stand for it! TINDOGI ang atong TAGBILARAN!

SceneFormer city councilor Anne Mariquit Derikito-Oppus also shared on Facebook her sweet memories of the old Tagbilaran: Now, it can be told. My love story started with a "Can I walk you home"? From a party at Gee Garden"s Hotel, a young officer from the PMA came up to me and asked: "Can I walk you home?" and so we did, with one of my bff's - Grace del Rosario-Lumayag and the late Zacarias Lumayag in tow, and the "Fall in Club" discreetly doing the same. Anyhow, a year or so later, I gave my "YES" near the Causeway along Tagbilaran Bay, and it was when the moon was so bright. All two separate occasions, in the late evening and so peaceful, then. On hindsight, I ask: Can I do the same now? Like, will I be brave enough to walk the streets of my beloved city without fear, or will I even allow my own kids to stay late, out? To many, it’s a resounding "NO"! Thus, I call on all Tagbilaranons to be vigilant, and do our share. Let us, please, ensure we have a Tagbilaran, even safer than when we found it, for our children. Until and unless we have it, then we cannot rest!

Erstwhile Tagbilaran City Councilor Anne Mariquit Derikito-Oppus
 with her hubby B/Gen. Louie Oppus, the director of the Firearms 
and Explosives Office
 (FEO) of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Courtesy: Anne Mariquit Derikito-Oppus
Back then, the students of Bohol National High School (now Dr. Cecilio Putong National High School) called her as the “most terror” teacher in school.  But parents and colleagues put their thumbs up on her as the teacher who disciplined and molded good students and citizens during her time as a teacher.

“She was very passionate on her job as a teacher,” recalled Rowena Jala. “We were well-behaved in school. She didn’t punish students even those who were naughty at school but she taught the students to behave and respect.”

Her students also recalled that she had a remarkable strong voice.  “It was very loud and clear even without a megaphone during a mass playground,” said Arlene Pisquera. “She had a photographic memory. She could memorize all the family names of the students.”

Wincesa “Wincie” Balatero Espejo Araorao has had earned the respect of her students, co-teachers and friends.

Teacher. Mother. Disciplinarian.

Wincie is all that — and more.

Wincie’s four children regard her as a woman who has shown, through her honest and earnest ways, the real essence of hard work, talent, grace, generosity, "integrity," and most of all, faith in God.
Wincie is the eldest child of Hilario Araro Espejo who served as Teniente del Barrio (Barangay Captain) of Cogon in the late1950s and Josefina Mercader Balatero, valedictorian of Saint Joseph Academy (now Holy Spirit School) in the late 1930s, who, when orphaned early, was left to care of her two brothers, and eventually got married to Hilario.

At 75, Wincesa Espejo- Araorao shows no signs of slowing down. 
As the founder of  Bukang Liwayway Dance Troupe, her favorite dance is Binasuan.
Seeing the example of modest, simple living of her parents, Wincesa grew up understanding the value of hard work, persistence and faith in God during the time when life in Tagbilaran was so simple and tranquil.

Graduating from Tagbilaran City Central Elementary School and Bohol High School Class of 1956 while dabbling time between studying, helping her parents with the carenderia at the “Pook Pantalan” and taking care of her six younger siblings, she proceeded to take up Bachelor of Science in Education – Major in Physical Education at the University of Southern Philippines as her fallback from the nursing course which was her original choice that was hindered by financial constraints.

At USP, she was a gymnast, organizer, founder and first president of the USP Banikanhon Dance Troupe and almost made it to the Philippine Swimming Team when she won gold medals for breaststroke and backstroke during the regional elimination, but she opted to be near her family in Bohol rather than go to Manila for the swimming team.

Following college graduation, she taught in Marawi, Mindano, then came back to her home province to teach Physical Education at her Alma Mater, Bohol High School where she was founder, choreographer and adviser of the Bukang Liwayway Dance Troupe (BLDT), celebrating its 35th year this year. The BLDT, sticking to its thrust of being a folkloric group, became the training ground for prospective members of other performing groups in Bohol like Diwanag Dance Theater and the new breed of Physical Education teachers and choreographers.

She became a politician’s wife when her husband, then Philippine Banking Corporation executive Derclo Reparatp Bongoyan Araoarao, won as Mayor of Panglao in the 1980 elections and served as local chief executive till 1986. One of the greatest milestones of the BLDT was becoming the grand champion of the province-wide “Hadla nga Bol-anon” folkdance competition in December 1986 via the “Kuratsa-Kuradang” entry which she choreographed, giving the group a chance to join the regional “Sayawit Festival” in Cebu City representing Bohol Division, where the BLDT performers won the grand prize, besting other contenders from Cebu City and other top-ranking school divisions.

Years earlier, she also trained and coached Bohol male and female gymnasts who figured in the regional level and later, sent to the Palarong Pambansa and made it to the top three finish. In June 1987, she was Summa Cum Laude while earning her Master of Arts degree from the University of Bohol.

By a sudden twist of fate, she was ushered to the land of Uncle Sam to find greener pastures.

The performing artist in her made her join the 2nd Annual Philippine Folk Dance Festival held at Schimmel Center for the Arts, Pace University, New York City with her favorite “Binasuan,” a dance of skill, where she was the only solo performer in the competition. She divided her time between earning a decent living in NYC, spending time with family and serving as Eucharistic Minister at Saint Ignatius of Loyola Church. At 75, she is content with God’s blessings of love of family – her children, Fiel Angeli Gabin, Information Officer of the City Government of Tagbilaran, with Jerome, Cielo and Renji; Reparato Anthony, a nurse at the Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas, with Shiela and Reesie; United States Army Sgt. Ann Claire Young of Raleigh, North Carolina, with Jabron, Jalen, Jayla and Jordy, and Coeli Marie, a web designer in Zephyrhills, Florida, with Alex, Sethie and Chloe.

“The one thing I can’t live without is prayers – communicating with God is the most basic part of my existence,” said Wincie.

Unlike most women, she’s not embarrassed to reveal her age—75 on Sunday, that is today (Sept. 28), 26 years of which have been lived- and how! in educating people- and 25 years living in the United States.

“Am I afraid of growing old?,” asked Wincie. “I am certainly not afraid of growing old. I am ready when the time comes that God calls for me.”

Now 75, Wincie is enjoying her staycation between Tagbilaran and US. She can avail of the privileges (discount in drugstores, restaurants and other places).

Even if she doesn’t look 75, that is.

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