Sunday, November 29, 2015

Ima Cleofe: The good daughter

Scene: Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has finally filed his COC for president in Friday under PDP-Laban in substitution of Martin Dino who earlier filed and withdrew his COC for Duterte.

Scene: Today ends the People’s Pilgrimage for Climate Change. Some 20 Boholano environmental activists took the 99-kilometer journey on foot, from Tagbilaran City to Anda town in Bohol on November 27-29, to call for 100 percent Clean Energy and walk in solidarity with the People's Pilgrimage to the Paris climate talks.

Scene: Many people in the Philippines have HIV. So you might know someone who is living with this virus. Since the most common ways to get the virus are through unprotected sex or drug use, teens who have HIV may feel embarrassed and want to keep the issue very private. People also can be born with the virus or get infected through a blood transfusion in another country. To understand more about the HIV-Aids, the World Aids Day Run in Tagbilaran is on Dec. 5. For inquiries, contact Dr. Wilnilia Causing, MD; Eduardo Gabud Jr and Bon Ryan Bongato at 09287958201.

Grandma Betty: A stitch in time

The feast of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception in Baclayon town is just a few days away.

Alberta "Betty" Real-Brua, 89, (with Miss Tagbilaran 1987 
Fiel Angeli Araoarao-Gabin and son Renji) is 
content with the fact that she is able to share her talent, 
creativity and activity while she savors quality time with her family. 
Contributed Photo
As the town prides itself of its centuries-old church that is still teeming with both international and domestic tourists even when the 7.2 magnitude earthquake ravaged its facade and belfry, it has a skilled person who has proven her craft for almost a quarter of a century now.

At 89, Alberta "Betty" Real-Brua doesn't look her age. She actually looks younger. According to her son, she still sews gowns herself or does direct supervision on her workers, though at times, she uses her eyeglasses or asks someone to assist her to put the thread inside the eye of the needle. She was 18 years old when she started sewing wedding gowns for the "alta sociedad" and the prominent in the province, among them, erstwhile Bohol First Lady Amalia Reyes - Tirol and the other gracious ladies in the Tirol clan, long before Boholano Luciano "Shannon" Pamaong founded the Fashion Institute of the Philippines (FIP) and the younger generation of couturiers, Maximiel Tallo and EJ Relampagos, started to make names for themselves.

In her younger years, she was a beauty queen at the Rafael Palma College (University of Bohol), as attested by Wincesa Espejo Araoarao, Bohol National High School Physical teacher and Bukang Liwayway Dance founder.

From her wealth of experiences, she is content with the fact that she is able to share her talent, creativity and activity while she savors quality time with her family.

Beauty queen Imaculada Cleofe Leopardas hasn’t declared her independence yet.

Imaculada Cleofe Leopardas: ‘I believe that if you 
want a positive life, then one should have a 
positive mind. In the end, it's all in the mind.” 
Contributed Photo
“I haven’t moved out yet,” she clarified. “Actually, I am living with my mother because my father is on abroad (The last time she saw his father was when she was in grade six. Now, Ima is a graduating college student taking up BS Industrial Psychology at the Bohol Island State University Main Campus-LPU). I'm still living with my mother because I'm still 20 and I am still studying and maybe because I think I am not ready to be independent because I grew up with my mother who is always by my side. In fact, she has been very supportive to me, like on every pageant that I have joined, she's always there and she's just a dream mother that every child wanted to have.”

Her friends and neighbors have described Ima a good daughter.

She said, “I guess the best way to answer this question is by letting the whole world know that I am more than proud to have a very good mother. She is my inspiration and I love her so much, that I will do whatever it takes to make her happy and be proud of me. I have this thought in my mind wherein I've been thinking about my mother when she was at my age. And so, she might have been dreaming for an ideal daughter. And for the past 20 years, I have been secretly living that "dream daughter" my mother may have been wishing for. Everytime I win on a beauty pageant, believe me or not, I give all the money to her and everytime I surprise her, I always make her cry. Tears of joy. Wow!”

Her own love life is, as she put it, going great.  She describes herself very optimistic.

“Yes. Yes, because I should be. Yes, because I have to. I have dreams for my family and I figured that the only way to turn that dream is to be optimistic, “ said Ima, a Sagittarius (Nov. 24). “Sometimes, it's hard to understand life especially when I haven't seen my father for eight years. Life is unfair, yes, that is true, but it should not stop us from motivating ourselves to be better, to do better and to live the life you have imagined. I have been through a lot of darkest and downest moments in life but in the end, I always think positive. I believe that if you want a positive life, then one should have a positive mind. In the end, it's all in the mind.”

Regal at 5’8”, 130 lbs., Ima likes to join beauty pageants.

 “I learned that winning isn't always about winning the crown. It is learning with all of your heart those many life lessons because to me, the real pageant is life, itself. I learned to wear my self confidence and drop the fear, and whatever that fear is, I would always choose to face my fears and drop the insecurities,” stressed Ima. “I learned to accept myself and then let the real me shine. I learned that a beauty queen is not just concerned on how her figure looks and on what's going on with herself, because a true beauty inspires people to be the best possible version of themselves and that makes her even more beautiful. And lastly, I learned that beauty queens come and go but what will truly matter in the end is who you are a person, and so, I just live my life to the fullest, I make each day count and I take risks in life because I want to make my family proud.”

Ima on joining beauty pageants: ‘I learned that
 winning isn't always about winning the crown. It is
 learning with all of your heart those many life lessons 
because to me, the real pageant is life, itself.’ 
Contributed Photo
Lately, in preparation for Miss Carcar Cebu 2015, Ima has been exerting extra effort to keep trim by eating healthy, a routine that she decided to be a regular part of her life.

Incidentally, Ima and other OMG ( models will join the OMG Outreach program “Apples for kids an souvenirs” in Pilar town on Dec. 6. It is supported by US-based lawyer and philanthropist Sandy Roxas and OMG friends in America.

“It feels like home because it's where I feel like I belong. I am really comfortable with my responsibility as an OMG model because this makes me happy and seeing those children smile makes me happier,” she said.

She also said that she is excited to make kids happy.

 “I can't wait to make that day a memorable one. I like being with those children because when I was young, I was inspired by a beauty queen whom I looked up to, even if I don't even know her name. Now, I believe it's time to inspire those children that dreams do come true.”


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

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Apec hotties and World Aids Run in Tagbi

Mexican President Enrique Nieto
and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
From the Internet
Thank God! The Apec has ended. 

Complaints of heavy traffic in Manila were suddenly replaced by excitement and swooning when Mexican President Enrique Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were in the country for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit last week.

Netizens came up with an online survey to lighten up the mood amid the busy Apec week.

Using the hash tags #APEChottie andf #APECbae, netizens shared their two cents on who between Nieto and Trudeau should be named Mr. Apec 2015. The hash tags immediately became an instant hot topic in the social media. 

The barong tagalog worn by world leaders during the Apec was handwoven  using the finest pina fiber from Aklan.  Mayad ayad gid ja!

Beauty queen and model Imaculada Cleofe Leopardas shared on Facebook:“It is truly amazing how the leaders from all over the world unite for an urgent  cooperation in  the fight against terrorism. Mabuhay kayo. P.S. And I love the Canadian Bae. He’s so hot! Please marry me. (Just kidding. Or not) He’s too good to be true. Hoooo.”

Police officer Melinda Mendez-Basalo of the Tagbilaran Airport  posted on Facebook: “They look more gorgeous and oozing with sex appeal! Hope we could have a more appealing and gorgeous President next year whether a Man or a Woman.”

The World Aids Day Run in Tagbilaran City is on Dec. 5.

Bon Ryan Bongato, RN, the organizer of the event has to say:

The World Aids Day Run Bohol on Dec. 5 (Saturday) is for HIV awareness, a run for a cause big event happening here in Tagbilaran City. Organized by Cebu Plus and ABS-CBN Cebu, it will be simultaneously held in the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Cebu and Dumaguete. The assembly time is 4 a.m. at Island City Mall (infront of Bo’s Coffee – facing Dao terminal). 

This year’s theme is “Getting to zero, Zero new HIV infections, Zero stigma and discriminations, Zero AIDS related deaths.”

Different categories to choose from: 3k (P300.00), 6k (P350.00), 12k (P400.00) and P250.00 for all students who can present their valid school ID upon registering. Each category also separated from male and female runners. Singlets for all runners are available with different colors such as blue, green, orange and pink in neon colors with different sizes to choose. With the prints: Awareness is power, know your status, and zero stigma and discrimination” which you can also choose from.  

You can register at the Island City Mall (ICM) lower floor entrance near the activity area, the City Health Office near the City Hall in Dao, Tagbilaran City and also at Gov. Celestino Gallares Regional Memorial Hospital. 

The event includes continuous Zumba while the run is being held and HIV testing and counseling booth is always available for individuals who want to know their status. Prizes are awarded after the event. 

World Aids Day, a celebration every December 1 is for HIV awareness and proper education. It was first encountered in Congo in the early 1950s, and has spread from country to country and people with HIV (Human Immuno-deficiency Virus) numbers have grown multiple of times over the years. 

The Philippines is one of the top countries who have an alarming increase of people who have acquired it. Individuals who have this virus doesn’t have any symptoms (asymptomatic) and becomes the carriers unsuspectingly after acquiring it. HIV attacks our body by entering the white blood cells (our natural body defenses against diseases) making it unable to function as a defender of the body and immune system. The virus can take over the entire immune system about 7 to 10 years becoming into AIDS (Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome) a series of diseases that the immune system is defending us from. It cannot be acquired through sweat, saliva, urine, hand contact, or even blood droppings from a person with the virus; these are all myths. It needs an open wound from the receiver to be able to enter without being exposed to air to survive. Stop the Stigma and discrimination.

Western Blot Test is the initial laboratory examination of the blood to detect the virus and then confirmed by the ELISA test to be able to determine if you have acquired the virus, more tests are developed to be able to get the results within seconds. The virus would be undetectable by other tests making you unaware of being the carrier and for those years you may spread it unknowingly. Blood transfusion, mother with virus to child (through child birth or by being breastfed), sharing of syringe (injection), and sexual (penetrative) intercourse are the only ways of spreading the virus or the mode of transmission. Getting an HIV test doesn’t mean you acquired it; it means that you valued your health. We encourage you to get tested and know your status. 

This event is supported by the Department of Health (DOH), Provincial Health Office (PHO), City Health Office (CHO), Tagbilaran Mayor John Geesnel “Baba” Yap II and Gov. Edgar Chatto. Initial main sponsors are Island City Mall, Fairfield Diagnostic and Urgent Care, Heritage Crab House Seafood Restaurant and Drink Me Liquors.  Interested companies and associations who would like to become sponsors are still welcome. We also accept volunteers for the event. 

For questions and inquiries, you may contact the coordinators: Dr. Wilnilia R. Causing, MD; Eduardo G. Gabud Jr. or Bon Ryan A. Bongato at 09287958201.

You can also join our group for updates and may post with the #WADBoholRun on Facebook. 

Run for a cause. Awareness is power.

Thanks for your letters, all be answered. E-mail, follow leoudtohan at Twitter/Facebook. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Mar Roxas: ‘I courted Korina here!’

Heavy rains didn’t dampen the spirits of an estimated 1,300 supporters who gathered at Trinidad Gymnasium in Bohol province on Wednesday to meet and greet Liberal Party (LP) presidentiable bet Mar Roxas.

According to the event host, there were at least 200 local officials who are running in 2016 under LP from all over Bohol attended the event dubbed “Daghang Salamat Mar Roxas; Padayon Bohol” (Thank you Mar Roxas; Continue Bohol).

Councilor- to beTessie Labunog-Sumampong, who is running for Loboc
councilor under LP, meets Presidentiable Mar Roxas.  Courtesy: Ric Obedencio
The venue was literally filled with people, mostly students from Trinidad Municipal College, wearing yellow shirts, the official color of LP.

Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto said Roxas’ was instrumental for helping Bohol’s rehabilitation and recovery after a strong earthquake in 2013 that devastated the province.  A total of P2.3 billion check was given to Bohol through the Bohol Earthquake Assistance (BEA) when he was interior secretary.

In his message, Roxas told the crowd that Bohol is special to his heart.

He said Trinidad town (with a population of at least 30,000) was named after Roxas’ grandmother Trinidad de Leon-Roxas.

Trinidad Mayor Judith Cajes said that Roxas’ visit was “Indeed a historical and unforgettable happening that is taking place in the town. Historic that in a  sense, for the first time, the grandson of the late Pres. Manuel Roxas the very place which his lolo was founded 68 years ago thru his Exec. No. 18 signed on Aug. 14, 1947.” Trinidad was formerly known barangay Ipil of Talibon town, birthplace of the late Pres. Carlos P. Garcia, before it became independent.

Roxas also told the crowd about his Bohol connection which he said was his secret.

“Nakalimutan mo sabihin na si Mar Roxas,  anak ng Bohol. Kaya ganun nalang ang aking pagtingin sa Bohol, sa Bol-anon, sa inyong lahat, ang liderato, at mga kababayan natin dito dahil sikreto sa inyo, feel kausa ako sa inyo.. dahil dito ko niligawan ang aking misis na si Korina,” he said. Although he didn’t elaborate when he courted the veteran broadcaster but it elicited applause and yells from the crowd.

Roxas also added that his visit was to know more of the local candidates.

“Kumbinsido na ba kayo? Sa palakpak ninyo kumbinsido na kayo. Gusto ko kilalanin ang mga kandidto,” he said.

A member of the LP Party, who asked for anonymity, said that Roxas’ visit to Bohol was a “loyalty check.”

An LP official said that a “close- in meeting” was conducted by Roxas with local LP key players prior to his departure to Cebu City.

Roxas challenged the local candidates to support the “Daang matuwid” campaign of the Aquino administration.

“Magiging kasangkapan tayo sa pag-unlad ng ating pamayanan.... para sa ating mahal na Bohol,” Roxas said.

Cancelled flights due to Apec
Rudyard Japhet Josol, 28, of Calape town has changed the date of his trip to Manila . Instead on Nov. 17, he decided to reschedule his trip last week of the month.

Josol and other Boholano travelers, including incoming tourists will be affected once the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit opens in Manila on Monday, Nov. 16.

Various airlines have announced the cancellation of domestic and international flights.

Josol should be in Manila for a job interview at Abojeb Manpower Solutions, Inc.

“I just informed the agency that I can’t come because of no flight,” said Josol.

“Hasol gyud kay daghan importante lakaw ma pending tungod ana pero unsaon wala tay mahimo kita nalang ang mo-adjust (The flight disruption is inconvenient, most especially that you have an important thing to do. But we can’t do anything so we just adjust our trip), ” he said.

Ludine Dano of IJea Travel and Tours in Tagbilaran told her clients two weeks ago about the cancellation of flights due to Apec.

“I told my clients about the unavailability of flights on the said dates,” said Dano.

Miraflor Lawangon of Wow Bohol Travel and Tours also said that some of her clients had rescheduled their trips to Bohol last week of November. “Others have moved their tours in December,” she said.

The closure of runways to give time to the arrival and departure of world leaders have Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific, Cebu Pacific-Tiger Air (CebGo), and Air Asia Philippines canceled flights from Nov. 15 to 20.

PAL said passengers with confirmed flights can rebook prior to or within 30 days from their original flight date, with rebooking and penalty charges waived.

Affected Cebu Pacific and Air Asia passengers also have the options to either rebook their flights for travel within 30 days from the original departure date or get a refund.

Twenty flights from Manila and back are confirmed cancelled as of yesterday while more cancellations are expected in the succeeding bulletins coming from Philippine Airlines, Air Asia and Cebu Pacific.

The cancelled flights in the Manila-Tagbilaran-Manila route are:

For PAL, flight PR 2777/2778 is cancelled on Nov. 17.

For Air Asia, fights Z2 352 and Z2 353, Z2 354 and Z2 355 are cancelled on Nov. 17;  flights Z2 354 and Z2 355, Z2 350 and Z2 351 on Nov. 18; Z2 352 and Z2 353 on Nov. 19.

For Cebu Pacific, flights 5J621/622 is cancelled on Nov. 16; 5J621/622, Nov. 17; 5J621/622, Nov. 19; and 5J617/618, Nov. 20.

‘Suicide Squad’ star Margot Robbie visits Bohol 
Hollywood actress Margot Robbie
 at the Chocolate Hills in Bohol.
Courtesy: Margot Robbie Fans Instagram Page
While you and I were sleeping, the star of the highly anticipated DC movie “Suicide Squad” Margot Robbie had visited the Philippines, including our Bohol.

She shared a short video of her ziplining across a river. She simply captioned the video with #bohol #philippines.  Netizens identified the place-Bohol’s famed Loboc River (where councilor- to be Tessie Labunog-Sumampong hails from), one of the major tourist destinations in the country.

The Hollywood actress even asked her 1.3 million followers on Instagram to visit the Philippines or donate to the foundation.

“Suicide Squad” will be on theaters in August 2016. Robbie will star in the film along other A-list celebrities like Will Smith, Viola Davis, Jared Leto and Cara Delevingne.

In a post on her Instagram account, she said found her “heaven” in the country.

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

Sunday, November 8, 2015

How to avoid falling prey to 'laglag bala' scheme

Seen: Benjie Oliva on CPG: President Carlos P. Garcia (CPG) has been my inspiration in pursuing my career in government with utmost integrity, excellence and performance starting as a casual employee of the provincial government of Bohol to National Youth Commission (NYC) Commissioner and currently as Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) Administrator. His virtues and brand of leadership has been my guide that honed me as a better public servant and a better Boholano. His principle and his being a nationalist has been my direction in d formulation of policies and development programs. How I wish I could follow his footsteps in politics.

Scene:  World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), the world’s largest conservation organization, named lawyer Ingemar Macarine aka Pinoy Aquaman as one of its three environmental “heroes” this year for “pioneering solo channel swimming in the Philippines to promote marine conservation.”

Scene: Ramon Einstein Acuña on the ‘”no show” of  James Reid and Nadine Lustre  (JaDine) in Bohol: Inuulit ko pong humihingi ako ng kapatawaran sa Viva, sa Vantage International Bohol, kina James Reid at Nadine Lustre, sa mga taga suporta ng 'JaDine' at sa lahat ng taong naloko ko sa ginawa kong panlilinlang. Lahat ng bumili ng tikets para sa 'big event' ay bibigyan ko po ng refund.

Benjie Oliva with Rep. Leni Robredo at the Tagbilaran
 Airport. Robredo was the guest of
 honor during the 119
th birth anniversary
 of Pres. Carlos P. Garcia on Nov. 4. 
Contributed Photo
Scene:  Bohol police were able to execute 26 search warrants, nabbed 53 personalities, recovered two high powered firearms and seized 355 grams of shabu with an estimated street value of about P4.2 million in its “One-Time-Big-Time Anti-Criminality Campaign (OTBT),” a provincewide operations against drug personalities, syndicated criminal gangs and wanted criminals on Nov. 5-6. To capture 50 personalities was also the “gift” of police chiefs to PSSupt. Dennis Agustin who celebrated his 50th birthday on Nov. 5, said Supt. Nicomedes Olaivar, head of the provincial Public Safety Company.

Bohol-Buhol at Artologist Gallery

The Artologist Gallery will present an art exhibit entitled “Bohol-Buhol” on Nov. 10.

Featured artists include Boggs Castro, Rhants Anunciado, Eric Catot, Edgar Cornito, Jhacky Curambao, Roi Ferre, Irish Glori Galon, Joey Labrador, Glenn Lumantao, Henri Cainglet, Sam Penaso, Rico Tompong, Jeff Sisican, Melbourne Aquino, Chrisylli ibaya, Daisy Daqs, Elvin Vitor, Gay Bernaldez, Geovanni Abing, Gladys Bojo, Glems Barte, Josefino Montano, Joselito Alipala, Joseph ingking, Lloyd Lusica, Lucell Larawan, Milagros Fullido, Polo Joeven, Sandra dela Serna, She Lee, Vida Tirol- de Juan and Vincent Omar Daydayan. 

The artists are a vibrant mix of established and emerging artists who are natives of Bohol, some of whom are still based in their hometown and some based in Manila. Their works showcase the wealth of Boholano artistry spanning a healthy breadth of genres from realist works that stress the island’s natural wonders, to abstractions that have challenged the works of contemporary artists in the country and around the world.

The Artologist Gallery is located at 81 Xavier St. Xavier residences Unit 203, Greenhills San Juan (across Xavier School).

Bohol-Buhol  will run from Nov. 10, ( 6 p.m.) to  Nov. 20.

For details, contact 5460169/ 09178403585.


The recent incidents of “laglag  bala” (bullet dropping) or "tanim bala" ( bullet planting) scheme at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) is quite alarming.

Cynthia Velasquez, 52, sealed her luggage with a packaging tape at her home in Anda town before she went to Tagbilaran Airport.

Cynthia Velasquez/Leo Udtohan
“This is 100 percent safe,” she said, gesturing toward her luggage, visibly secured by packaging tape on the outside.

“They are indiscriminate in choosing their victims,” said Velasquez, referring to the tanim-bala extortion ring. “Better safe than sorry,” she said.

But according to the PNP-Aviation Security Group, there is no reported “laglag-bala” incident in Tagbilaran Airport.

Tagbilaran City is the main gateway to the province.

Maria Glendale Ramos, Intel Officer III, Civil Aviation Security Bureau in Tagbilaran said that screener officers were also subject for a check-up before entering the airport.

“Our screeners undergo a pat down and secondary screening to make it sure they don’t bring anything,” said Ramos.

The “no touch policy” at the Tagbilaran Airport was also strengthened to prevent such incident. Screeners are not allowed to handle or touch baggage to prevent any incident of so-called planting of contraband or other illegal items on passengers’ belongings.

Aside from these, Ramos said that lists of prohibited items are posted inside and outside the airport to warn passengers.

Closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs) were installed in departure and arrival areas, airport lounges, screening areas, and other key places in the passengers terminal, according to Ramos.

No lag-lag bala at Tagbilaran Airport/Leo Udtohan
Ramos said if anything suspicious appears on the X-ray machine, police and a witness would be called and the passenger would be the one to open his or her bag for checking.

If a bullet, or any banned substance, is found, a police officer would conduct an investigation and determine probable cause to file a case.

However, she said that although there were no reported incidents of “laglag bala” at Tagbilaran Airport, but there were cases of passengers found with bullets.

“Passenger carrying a bullet is not a new case,” she said.

She said, however, most of these bullets were amulets or anting-anting. “Many people believed that a bullet can be an amulet, that it has the power to protect its owner from danger or harm,” she said. 

In 2012, a passenger was arrested for carrying bullets at the Tagbilaran Airport.  Seven live cartridges were found neatly packed and kept in the passenger’s bag when screening officers found it on x-tray. The passenger could not offer a satisfactory explanation or the necessary documents for carrying the bullets. Passenger was immediately apprehended. A case was filed against the passenger.

Carrying ammunition on a plane is prohibited by law.

The incidence of bullets being “planted” in the luggage of travelers is very scary and I am sure, you don’t want to happen to you.

Tagbilaran Airport/Leo Udtohan
Here are five tips to avoid the tanim-bala racket: keep a close eye on luggage and never allow strangers to handle these; close all zippers, pockets of luggage and seal these; keep an eye on the luggage as it passes through X-ray machines and metal detectors; quickly retrieve bags in the X-ray machines; and never accept luggage from strangers.

Do not accept packages (padala/pasalubong) from anyone. If you accept any padala/pasalubong, check thoroughly its content even if it came from your relative and friends.

In a Facebook post, the Philippine Expats/OFW Blog Awards gave four tips on what to do when an airport personnel accused a traveller of having a bullet in his or her luggage.

1. Don't agree to have your baggage opened. Ask for the airport police or a relative who can immediately call a lawyer for you. Don't also agree when airport personnel ask you to open the luggage yourself.

2. When airport police are present, ask them to open the bag and retrieve the bullet. If the bullet found in the luggage is not really yours, it won't have your fingerprint.

3. After the bullet is retrieved by authorities, ask them to do a fingerprint test.

4. If the result shows that no traces of your fingerprints were found in the bullet then you can file a case against the airport personnel including damages for lost time and inconvenience.

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

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Meet Aurelio Gahit aka ‘Ondoy Gamay Kalag’

Aurelio Romero Gahit, popular known as “Ondoy Gamay Kalag (The boy with little soul)”, 64, spends most of his life at Victoria Memorial Park (ViMPark) in Tagbilaran City.

He is famous for his “graveside etiquette”-being a gentleman of tact, respect, and sensitivity at the occasion of someone’s burial. He shows us how to behave during a graveside service with the same attitude of respect and courtesy.

 is being a gentleman of tact, respect, and sensitivity at the occasion of someone’s burial.
Photo by Leo Udtohan/Bohol Chronicle
“Ako si Ondoy Gamay Kalag muhangyo sa iyong malumoy nga kasing-kasing nga maghiluman kitang tanan para respetuhon nato atong igsuon nga mingpanaw,” he said.

(I am Ondoy Gamay Kalag, I am asking your kind hearts to please keep silent to respect our departed brother/sister.)

Onday Kalag said he started working for the late Doña Basilisa “Basing” Casas- Lim when he was a teen.

THE BEAUTIFUL and iconic mausoleums or tombs at Victoria Memorial Park.
Photos by Leo Udtohan/Bohol Chronicle
“Doña Basing owned the Sweet Lines,” he said.

When ViMPark was opened to the public on Sept. 15, 1972, he was appointed park coordinator.

However, it was only in 1975 when someone was laid to rest at ViMPark.

Today, VimPark houses the 5,000 remains- from ordinary to famous personalities- including the late Bohol Gov. Erico Aumentado, lawyer and educator Will Tirol, Lim Poh, Doña Basilisa “Basing” Casas- Lim, provincial board member Socorro Buslon-Tallo, businessman Antonio Ong Guat, Grace Christian Church pastor-teacher Nelson Rio, JJ’s Obdulio Caturza, Sr and wife Juana, Peanut Kisses matriarch Carolina Alvarez, et al.

Boy Kalag, who has a mind as sharp as a steel trap, admitted he could not recall the 5,000.

“Not at all,” he said. “However, I can assure you that they rest here forever.” Although he worried that some letters that were originally chiselled on some gravestones have since faded.

“I offer prayers for them,” he said, “And I pray that their loved ones can visit them.”

The ViMPark is divided into four phases- the gardens of Hope, Grace, Promise and Faith –named after the ships owned by Doña Basing.

Ondoy Kalag also said that at ViMPark, love is forever. He said he could not forget a man who spent over 10 years holding vigil by his wife’s grave every day, arriving when the cemetery opened and heading home when it closed,  before he fell ill.

“When his wife died, part of him died, too,” he said, “That was real love. Tinuod nga naay forever.”

He said he feels more comfortable living with the dead. Except for one horrific incident in 1993  when a mantiyanak (a woman who died in labor) appeared and stirred the neighborhood. Many people heard her singing lullabies to her baby, causing hair-raising chills and making them trembled in fear.

Onday Kalag lost his nerve at the sight of the mantiyanak.

“She appeared to me,” he said. He went to see a Catholic priest and he was told to pray at the grave of the person. After praying, the spirit was gone.

Boy Kalag has retired two years ago, but he keeps going to VimPark to assist his son, Victor, 34, who took over his job. His wife, Teofista “Itang”, 58, son Roland, 32; daughters-Abeta, 30; and Bella, 26, are there to support him.

Living all his life at the ViMPark, Ondoy Kalag said wo/man has a soul.

“Naa jud kalag ang tawo. The body, being finite, does die. Yet the soul, the essence of our loved one, is eternal,” he said.

He said visiting the cemetery on All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day is remembering our loved ones.

“That they’re gone but not forgotten. Our connection lives on and will never die,” he said.

For the celebration of  Kalag-Kalag, he urged the visitors to show respect to their departed love ones by keeping the cemetery’s premises clean all the time.

He said the VimPark administration has been preparing for this annual observance since last week, in close coordination with the City police station.

He also said he had deployed numerous signages located at the cemetery’s strategic locations to keep people abreast of VimPark’s dos and don’ts.

“Definitely, loud music is not allowed in the cemetery during Kalag-kalag because we visit the cemetery to pray for our departed loved ones and not to disco,” he said.

Through history, societies have commemorated their dead in various ways.

Ondoy Kalag named the beautiful and iconic mausoleums or tombs (elsewhere in this page), that reflect people's need to immortalize the important figures of their time, or their own selves.

Provincial director Superintendent Dennis Agustin said that deployment of police officers at police assistance desks (PADs) on cemeteries was strictly implemented to ensure the safety of Boholanos during the celebration of Kalag-Kalag.

“We’re full alert on Oct. 30,” said Agustin.

He also urged the public to refrain from bringing firearms, deadly weapons and liquor while visiting their departed loved ones.

According to Agustin, they would not only secure cemeteries, but also places frequented by the public like the Dao Bus Terminal, airport, seaports, churches and other areas.

He also said patrol cars and ambulances from the Department of Health (DOH) or local government units (LGUs) would complement the PADs for quick response during emergencies.

Meanwhile, the prices of flowers tripled in Tagbilaran’s flower markets on Friday two days before All Saints' Day weekend.

Vendors sell flowers along C. Marapao Street corner H. Grupo Street, which underwent an extensive repair. They said they were not allowed to sell at the Tagbilaran City Square to avoid heavy traffic.

The prices of Malaysian mums went up from P180 to P350 per dozen, P35 per piece; Chrysanthemum from P70 to P120 per dozen, P20 per piece; Baby’s breath from P60 to P150 per dozen; roses- P300 to P350 per dozen, P30 to P35 per piece; and orchids from P300 to P500 per dozen, P40 to P50 per piece.

Small potted flowers, which normally cost just P50, is now at P100 to P300 each. Flower baskets now cost P150 to P300 from the usual P100 to P250. Elaborate flower arrangements are pegged at P800 to P2,000 or almost tripled the price off-season. Bouquet ranges from P300 to P1,500; while flowers arranged in stands are sold at P600 to P10,000 already.

Vendor Olive Betonio said there are enough flowers for the said tradition. She, however, said that prices of flowers are a bit more expensive this year.

Florist Eddie Dahunog said that there is enough supply of flowers but the price tripled this year because supplies of flowers are from Cebu, Baguio and Cagayan de Oro City.

“First, our flower supply was damaged by typhoon Lando. Second, the cost of transportation is higher. We buy flowers at high price,” said Dahunog.

He, however, said that he would not increase the price because the flowers are already expensive.

“They can ask for discount,” he said.

Residents who bought flowers significantly increase as the stalls opened on Friday. Most of them said that they bought earlier to avoid discomfort of overcrowding.

Flower vendors said the stalls are open 24 hours on Friday until the night of Nov. 2.

However, the prices for candles are still low and fair.

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