Sunday, February 28, 2016

Fireflies & Ati tribe highlight Boboy Labunog’s birthday party

Scene: The State of the Province Address (Sopa) of Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto last Friday. He said, “We reassure every Boholano that we will always remain true, against all odds, to our commitment, to our dear Bohol and her people.”

Vera Villocido Gesite finds time to pose with
 Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto and Vice Gov. Conching Lim 
after the State of the Province Address (Sopa).  
Contributed Photo
Scene: Police clamped a security blanket at the Tagbilaran Airport last week after a crying mother (CM) was screaming that her son who was a victim of nightmare addiction (SWAVNA) would be taken to Manila for rehab. Since CM objected the idea, a powerful woman (PW) arrived at the airport and ordered her bodyguards to handcuff SWAVNA. The airport drama delayed the flight. According to VRS, PW felt deep empathy towards SWAVNA to end CM’s terrible journey because of her SWAVNA. “Life will not be the same,” added VRS. But VRS heard PW said, “I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.”

Scene:  Could it be true that a politician was sulking and left the group?  According to a Very Reliable Source (VRS), he was treated as a “second class citizen” by the Tie the Yellow Ribbon people that he has to shift loyalty. 

Seen: As the election campaign is on, VRS has noticed that this newbie who is running for a higher position is very close to a high official with the power of three (HOWPT)..”I’d noticed that they are very close and it seems the newbie is head over heels for HOWPT,” says VRS. 

*  *  *
Last week, Edward Guyano aka Inday Charity, Jessa Agua-Ylanan (a former senior writer of The Freeman who is now based in Bohol) and I were like gatecrashers when we went to Loay town. 

of Rio Verde Floating Restaurant turns a year wiser.
Leo Udtohan/Chronicle
Loboc-councilor-to be Tessie Labunog-Sumampong invited us for a firefly watching organized by Rio Verde Floating Restaurant (038-538-9196) on Poblacion Ubos in Loay. Rio Verde is owned by her brother Engr. Boboy Labunog. 

Little did we know that we’re joining the group for the birthday celebration of Engr. Boboy. 

Tessie told us that Boboy thought he could get away with letting him 53rd birthday last week (Feb. 21) slip by unnoticed. But his wife Lilian believed he deserved to celebrate it – with a bang.

When the guests arrived at Rio Verde, the three floating restaurants were festooned with foods and music. And when Boboy entered the place, he was greeted by a throng of well-wishers who sang “Happy Birthday” as Lilian brought out the birthday cake.

“Thank you for coming,” he said, touched by the show of affection.

If the secret to a good marriage could be bottled then couple Boboy and Lilia would surely have the recipe. 

Onlookers were left in no doubt about the enduring affection between the charismatic duo as they shared a giggle at his “53rd” birthday party.

Lilia looked fabulous in a Grecian-style dress. 

Their children-Maeleeze, Guada Mae and Rhoodjie described their dad as “perfect, guwapo and generous.” Everyone knows it. 

Among the guests (a mix of politicians and businessmen)  I spotted were close friends, immediate family members, and members of the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP) including  Dr. Gerry Egos, Mayette Gasatan, Fr. Joe Sumampong, Steven Lim,  Tagbilaran city administrator Edi Borja, et al.

FIREFLY WATCHING is one of the exciting experiences
 in Bohol as Rio Verde Floating Restaurant’s new offer.  
And a visit to the Ati village is also a cultural
 learning experience. Leo Udtohan/Chronicle
As the guests shared a hearty dinner, they were treated to Rio Verde’s firefly watching and Ati village tour.

There is a one thing to do at night on Loay, go firefly watching.

Firefly watching is one of the exciting experiences you’d surely enjoy when in Bohol. 

“It is a new adventure in Loay that allows you to get closer to Mother Nature and watch flickering lights,” said Tessie. 

And like magic you see, the wonder of the firefly beetles lighting up the branches like a Christmas tree. They live in colonies so you will come upon several during your round trip on the river.

Along the way, the guide explains the importance of the fireflies and the mangrove forest in our environment. The guide also points out stars and egrets resting on the trees. This is a nice added bonus.

Upon seeing thousands of fireflies, Edward and I were singing, “Kumukutikutitap, bumubusibusilak, ganyan and indak ng mga bumbilya..kikindat-kindat, kukurap-kurap, pinaglalaruan ng inyong mga mata....”

The Ati village is also a learning opportunity to experience their culture and tradition. Boboy has employed some Atis to give entertainment to the guests rather than begging in the streets. The firedance was superb! Music was fantastic!

“The firefly watching is welcoming, heart warming. It’s really nature and wonder about the creation of God,” said Edi Borja. 

“It’s worth visiting; it’s something unique for Bohol. Thank you Boboy and Lilia for the concept,” said Edi’s wife Joey.

Renowned musician Gerry Jumawan and his band set the energy that rose until midnight with flowing wine and beautiful country music.

As the host of the party said in jest, “Happy 23rd birthday!”

Well, Boboy doesn’t look 53 (He’s 23!).

Nobody revealed what the secret is behind his youthful look.

*  *  *
The beauty of Loboc and the tycoon meet in Makati

Speaking of Tessie, she was in Manila together with Bohol Rep. Art Yap to meet tycoon Carlos Chan of Liwayway. 

LOBOC COUNCILOR-to be Tessie Labunog-Sumampong
 (extreme left) meets tycoon Carlos Chan 
of Liwayway together with Bohol Rep. Art Yap (extreme right).  
Contributed Photo
Chan is the chairman emeritus of Liwayway Marketing Corp., maker of the famous snack food brand Oishi. 

From repacking starch – the famous Liwayway gawgaw in the 1946 – Liwayway (meaning “dawn” in Filipino) has grown into an international Filipino brand with 29 factories all over Asia.

Chan started the Oishi brand in 1973 through the shrimp and prawn cracker products Oishi and Kirei. Both are Japanese products (“Oishi” literally means delicious, while “Kirei” means beautiful).

As we all know, Chan has always been a supporter of Bohol. 

After their meeting, Tessie, a Miss Bohol beauty queen, gushed, “Oishi” (with emphasis)!

I asked Tessie what happened after their tete a tete with Chan, and she said, “Secret! Basta for the good of Loboc and Bohol.”

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

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Rex Alba is a gangster in ‘I Am Wrath’ trailer w/ John Travolta

Scene: The 80th birthday celebration of Juanita Cempron Melicor last Feb. 16.

Scene: Thousands of barangay (village) officials here support the move of Liberal Party vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo to extend the term of barangay officials from three to five years during the 2nd Barangay Officials Day of the Liga ng mga Barangay (League of Barangays)-Bohol chapter, in this province, on Saturday (Feb. 20). Robredo, minus her running mate, Mar Roxas, told at least 6,000 barangay officials present that she believes that her “barangay reform bill” will give more opportunities for the barangays to grow and become more self-sufficient to enable them to serve their constituents. She said a three-year term is too short for barangay officials.

*   *   *
Saban Films is apparently releasing I Am Wrath, a vigilante thriller starring John Travolta as a gun-wielding engineer, set to release on April 29.

The newly released movie trailer of I Am Wrath looks intense as hell.

The film centers on Travolta who plays a man out for vigilante justice after a group of corrupt cops are unable to catch his wife’s killer.

I Am Wrath, directed by Chuck Russell, also stars Christopher Meloni, Sam Trammell, Amanda Schull and Rebecca De Mornay.

Not that the movie is aesthetically done, but a Boholano actor, Rex Alba, is in the trailer who has a fight with two-time Oscar nominee Travolta near the end of the trailer. That made the movie more intense! 

The production of the film was in Columbus, Ohio last Spring.

 “It was a blessing that I got this role,” said Alba.

He said there were 5,000 who auditioned in the movie for a Korean gangster role, which eventually went to Alba.

“Chuck Russell was hesitant at first because I am not tall and I am not Korean looking,” he said.

Alba took 20 weeks of acting under John Casablancas Model and Talent Management. He also brought a lot of wardrobe choices fitting for the scene. During the shooting scene, there were at least 100 actors that day.

“A lot of them have previous experience in acting and modeling. I tried to stay calm and look professional,” he shared.

Russell asked him if he had previous experience in film, Alba told him he was part of Kapalaran, a soap opera in the Philippines shown 13 years ago (directed by another fellow Boholano director RD Alba), where he played a hired killer.

“That experience probably helped,” explained Alba.

They were sent to the set to audition in front of other assistant directors, stunt, cinematographer and other crew members. Three had remained including Alba.  After the auditioned, he overheard someone was chosen, a taller white guy for the role.

US-BASED Boholano actor Rex Alba
 appears in action-thriller I Am Wrath which stars John Travolta. 
Contributed Photo
But, to his surprise, Russell came out of the room, pointed at him, "You are my gangster!”

“I was shocked,” he recalled.

He was then introduced to Travolta and Chris Meloni.

“He is the best actor I’ve worked with, he interacts with the background actors and very detailed iya pag act, he counts how many sequence needed,” said Alba.

In the trailer, Alba plays his role so natural yet intense.

“I felt good portraying the role, it was the blessing of God that made it happen,” he said.

Alba said it was his childhood dream to become an actor.  A student leader in high school and college days, Alba was known for his dancing prowess.

“Yes, but nobody believed in me. Even my dad told me, ‘I’m not that tall nor that good looking.’ I didn't believe it gonna happen,” he said.

REX ALBA is in the I Am Wrath trailer who has 
a fight with two-time Oscar nominee Travolta. 
Contributed Photo
Rex, a physical therapist by profession, is also a financial advisor and endurance athlete. He is also the NBA Philippines/PhilBoxing correspondent in the US.

He has also a cameo role in Dog Eat Dog, In Search of Fellini, Tiger, My Blind Brother, 478 and The Land.

*   *   *
Bohol’s oldest man to be buried today

A great great-grand father believed to be Bohol’s oldest man who died at the age of 107 will be interred today (Feb. 21).

Pedro Laquinta Samuya, born in 1908, passed away last Friday (Feb. 12) night. He was seriously ill after an incident last week, his grandchild Katherine Pozon- Laquinta said.

A funeral service for the late Samuya will be held at the St. Isidore Church at 12 noon after which his remains will be interred.

 According to records, Samuya was born on June 17, 1908, the oldest man in Bohol and oldest former government official ever live.

Samuya was a retired Boholano guerrilla warrior, teacher and municipal mayor when he was younger.

Asked about the key to longevity, Samuya was quoted as saying his secret to long life was “simple living, strong faith in God and vegetables.”

Samuya had four children who are still alive: Quirino, 72, a retired elementary teacher; Requillo, 70, a retired teacher and town mayor of San Isidro in Bohol; Liliosa, 67, a retired budget officer; and Cecilia, 66, a retired master teacher.

He had 18 grandchildren, 13 great grand children and 15 great great grand children.

Samuya taught automotive engineering at the Cebu Institute of Technology (CIT) in 1934-1940. He joined the Antequera Bolo movement during the second world war in 1942-1945. He taught elementary at San Isidro Central School in 1946-1966.

RETIRED Boholano guerrilla warrior,
 teacher and municipal mayor 
Pedro Samuya dies at 107.  
File Photo/Leo Udtohan
When barangay Agbun of Antequera (then became barangay of  Catigbian town) was created into San Isidro town in 1969, Samuya was the first appointed mayor. He was also the first elected mayor from 1970-1980. 

In 1977, he was awarded as one of The Outstanding Mayors of the Year from the Philippine Life for “his outstanding local executive who has rendered distinguished and exemplary performance in the New Society.” In 1978, he also received the Defender of Good Government, Outstanding Mayor of the Year and Model Citizen of the New Society from the members of the Executive Development and Research of the Philippines for  his “performance in the field of education, health, peace and  order, social welfare and your effort in bringing up the ideals  of good government closer to the people.”

In 2014, he was conferred with an unusual award as "the centennial man and public official ever live" by the provincial government of Bohol during the 160th Bohol Day.

He also created the San Isidro High School and also founded the senior citizens association in his hometown.

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

Sunday, February 14, 2016

#VRSHugotPaMore on Valentine's Day

Seen: Spotted in Bohol last week was veteran broadcast journalist Jessica Soho.

Scene: The 60th birthday celebration of Junibe Froilan, Sr.

Scene: Tagbilaran City Comelec Officer lawyer Ariel Selma attended the weeklong Executive Training for Trainors for the Vote Count Machines (VCM) in preparation for the May 2016 elections.  Selma was with provincial election supervisor lawyer Eliseo Labaria, Dauis election officer Oliver Chatto Glovasa and Comelec Bohol CVL Technician Rojene Tabanera.

* * *

Do you dread Valentine's Day? Chill out. Here are 10 things to do this February 14th.

1. Hit the beach for sun, sea and sand! Bohol just abounds with gorgeous beaches from north to south, east to west. So, your heart has many choices to wanderlust. 

2. Fill up some of your community service hours. Do some charity works. Spend time with the less fortunate, give love during summer. Share your blessings. (Check the Gov. Celestino Gallares Regional Hospital, Sunshine Home  and Holy Trinity Orphanage Home in Albur town). Visit the Philippine National Red Cross-Bohol chapter if you want to give the safest blood possible to save life.)

3. Play (again and again!) your CDs of old, familiar love songs like Taylor Swift's "Love Story," The Supreme's "Baby Love," Minnie Riperton's "Lovin' You," The Righteous Brother's "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," Madonna's "Justify My Love," Celine Dion's "The Power of Love," Whitney Houston's "Greatest Love of All," and Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is."

TURN YOURSELF confidently beautiful with a heart 
at the Touch of April by Bohol’s first cosmetic surgeon 
Dr. April Lumuthang-Froilan. Leo Udtohan/Chronicle
4. Set a Facebook, Instagram and Twitter day to look for old friends and classmates. Send them personal messages.

5. See Bohol's cosmetic surgeon Dr. April Lumuthang-Froilan of Touch of April General and Cosmetic SurgiCenter (Bohol Medical Center Institute, Dao District, Tagbilaran City; Contact numbers: 09324146871/09283687041) and face the world confidently with a beautiful heart! Doc April’s Touch of April surgicenter offers noselift (rhinoplasty), nosetrim (alarplasty), eyebag removal (lower blepharoplasty),  slit eye ( upper blepharoplasty), cleft chin creation, dimple creation, buttocks augmentation, vaginal repair (vaginoplasty), virginity restoration (hymenoplasty), penile enlargement/lengthening, ear reconstruction (otoplasty), breast augmentation, liposuction, tummy tuck, lip reduction, chin augmentation, warts/mole and keloid removal, botox injection and glutathione injection.

6. Have a food trip at Gustus Reto (M. Torralba Street, Tagbilaran City), Dong Juan (M. Parras cor G. Visarra Street, Tagbilaran City),  Mosia Cupcakes and Cookie Shop (V. Inting Avenue,  Tagbilaran City), Peacock Garden (Baclayon), Swiss Garden Restaurant (Alona Beach, Panglao), Miravilla Resort (Booy, Tagbilaran City), Time Out Resto Bar (BQ Mall), Walk Express (BQ Mall), Gerry's Grill (BQ Mall), Mang Inasal (Gallares, Street, Tagbilaran City), STK (Graham Avenue, Tagbilaran City), Prawn Farm (ICM), Chicken Ati-Atihan (Putong Street, Tagbilaran City), Bohol Bee Farm (Dao, Dauis),  The Buzzz Cafe (Island City Mall, Luisa Galleria and Alona Beach), Rai-Rai Ken (ICM), Payag (CPG Avenue, Tagbilaran City), Cuisina ni Tisay (Chap Complex in Carmen), Linaw Beach Resort Pearl Restaurant (Panglao), Lohob – Tagbilaran Bohol Bar and Restaurant (V.P. Inting St. formerly Burgos in front of Tire Queen Servitek near the Tagbilaran Cathedral), Giuseppe Pizzeria and Sicilian Roast Italian Restaurant (Alona Beach, Panglao), Oops Bar (Alona Beach, Panglao), JJ's Seafood Village (Tagbilaran City),Cion Virge Café and Restaurant (Airport Road, Tagbilaran City), Trudis Place (Alona Beach, Panglao), Garden Café (Tagbilaran City near St. Joseph Cathedral), Persona Mesa  (J.A. Clarin Street, Tagbilaran City), Tarsier Botanika (Tawala, Panglao), Black Forest Hut Restaurant (V.P. Inting Avenue, Tagbilaran City),  Aioli Cafe and Restaurant (717 CG Avenue,  Booy District, Tagbilaran City),  Shiang Ma Nou (j. Borja Street cor C. Gallares Street, Tagbilaran City),  Heritage Crab House Seafood Restaurant (V.P. Inting Street, Mansasa Seaside, Tagbilaran City), Chocoreich (H. Grupo Street, Tagbilaran City) and Frankies (UGF, Island City Mall and Rajah Sikatuna Ave, Dao, Tagbilaran City)

...and have a fill of Boholano bread and pastries at Central Bakery for pan de sal and binangkal, Jojie's Bakeshop's sliced bread, torta, cay-cay, otap; BQ Bread Basket's farmers bread, French bread and bahug-bahug (colored bread); Alturas/Island City Mall Bread Cottage's Spanish bread; Ramirez Cakes and Pastries' cakes; Shopper's Mart's torta; Jojie's Painitang Bol-anon, Pasonangka's special siopao, Empanada Alma's empanada, Park 'n Go's caramel bread, Sunny Angel's Peanut Nuggets, Osang's broa, Tessie Pagdato's broa; and Bohol Bee Farm's camote bread, squash and carrot muffins.

LOVEBIRDS at the K of C Promenade in Tagbilaran City.
 As they watch the romantic sunset, they are reminded that the
 first stab of love is like a sunset, a blaze of color -- oranges, 
pearly pinks, vibrant purples. Leo Udtohan/Chronicle
7. Go on a nature hike, backpacking/camping trip. Don't forget to bring a camera. Have a date at Plaza Rizal, it’s free. If you want to see a romantic sunset, visit K of C and just pay P2 for the entrance!

8. Have a make-over! Change your hair and make-up. Find the perfect dress! Call Tracy Torres Remolador, Jojo and Bebei Tagoctoc, Charlow Arbasto, Jonathan Ucat, Ramil Dolauta, Donna Vitos, Rolly Ingking and Ryan Sines. For the latest collections, see EJ Relampagos, Henry Baron, Omie Auza and Maximiel.

9. Go outside and find different kinds of flowers. Look for the red rose if you can.

10.  Watch the sunrise and sunset.  The sun coming up every day is a love story, while the first stab of love is like a sunset, a blaze of color -- oranges, pearly pinks, vibrant purples.

And while we are it, VRS is celebrating Valentine’s Day with #VRSHugotPaMore, the busiest word online.

“Hugot” is a Filipino word that means “to draw or pull out.” #Hugotlines are sentiments drawn from both the sweet and bitter experiences of love.

Add sugar (or spice) to your feelings with these witty and lovely #Hugotlines:

1. Alam mo ba ang mapait sa pag-ibig? Iyon eh, AMPALAYAin ka.
2.Kung mahal ka talaga niya, dapat hindi ka nya balikan..dahil simula pa lang, dapat hindi ka na niya iniwan.
3.Masakit isipin na yung taong mahal mo may ibang nagpapasaya.
4.Ang pag-ibig natin parang Facebook. Pwedeng i-like, pwede ring magcomment, pero hindi dapat i-share.

5.May taong mabilis mahulog ang loob mo, pero bigla ka nalang iiwan at kung saan nakalimot kana, saka nagpaparadam.
6. Hindi tanga yung taong sobrang nagmahal. Mas tanga yung taong mnahal ng sobra pero naghanap pa ng iba.
7.  Buti pa ang ballpen…  Nahahawakan ang kamay mo.
8. Buti pa ang camera, lagi mong nginingitian.
9. Buti pa ang Leron Leron… May sinta.
10. Kung paglalaruan mo lang pala ako. Sana sinabi mo agad para nakapag P.E. Uniform pa ako.
11 Yung piniga piga mo yung toothpaste tapos mahuhulog lang sa lababo. Tangina pati ba naman toothpaste sa iba na-fall.
12. Ano ba talaga? Hindi ako Yoyo na pag gusto mong ibitaw gagawin mo tapos pag nahila na bibitawan mo ulit. Pinapaikot mo lang ako.

Did we miss anything? Feel free to share  your valetine’s day #HugotPaMore moments thru email:,  FB/Twitter: leoudtohan. 

* * *
Bohol Catholics observe Ash Wednesday

Anacorita Fullido, 71, woke up early to attend the 6:15 a.m. mass at St. Joseph Cathedral in Tagbilaran City in Bohol province last Wednesday.

She was one of the hundreds of Boholano Roman Catholics who flocked to churches to have their foreheads marked with ashes, reminding them that life on earth is ephemeral.

“It is to remind me that I came from dust and from dust I will return,” said Fullido, who said she didn’t miss a single Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday is the start of the 40-day season of Lent.

The priest or a lay minister imposed ashes in the form of a cross on the forehead of each churchgoer, saying, “Repent and believe in the Gospel,” or, “Remember, man, that you are dust and unto dust you shall return.”

FR. CRISOLITO GEANGAN marks the foreheads
 of devotees in the observance of Ash Wednesday
 using the blessed ashes from burned palm leaves.
Leo Udtohan/Chronicle

In his homily, Fr. Crisolito Geangan, of the Diocese of Tagbilaran, reminded the people about their origin and destiny.   He also told the faithful to observe the Lenten Season meaningfully.

“It’s a reflection of our spiritual journey; we must check ourselves that perhaps we have spiritual hemorrhage. If we do, it’s time to embrace the Lord,” Geangan said in local dialect. 

He also said that ashes also symbolize the call for repentance and desire to follow Christ.

The ashes used on Wednesday were the ashes of burnt palms blessed during last year’s Palm Sunday. The ashes were sprinkled with holy water or olive oil and smoked with incense.

Fullido said she missed the old times when Holy Week was observed with utmost reverence.

“When I was small, we observed Holy Week with sobriety.  No music, no work on Thursday and Friday. We stayed at home, very quiet. Now, its’ different,” she said.

“Nostalgic, pero go with the tide. Anyway, it’s the same God,” she said.

She also said she will do visita iglesia in Bohol churches which were damaged by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in 2013. 

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

Sunday, February 7, 2016

‘Pinoy Aquaman’ completes historic swim in Pamilacan

Seen: Spotted in Bohol last Friday was former Ilocos Norte Governor Chavit Singson. According to VRS, Singson visited Anda town for a possible business venture.

Scene:  Feng shui experts encourage everyone to throw away all the old stuff in our house to make room for new blessings for the Chinese New Year (Feb. 8). They also recommend wearing red to attract luck and fortune.

* * *
'Pinoy Aquaman’ Ingemar Patiño Macarine has a goal: To swim the English Channel, Catalina Channel and Marathon Island to promote clean seas, environmental tourism and climate change awareness.

Macarine has been swimming his whole life. Born in a small coastal town of Placer in Surigao del Norte in Mindanao, he spent nearly every day of his childhood swimming.

“I love the seas. Never did I fear swimming in the open water. And I think my life is very connected with water,” Macarine, who is an election officer of Tubigon town in Bohol province, said.

He was eight years old when he first dreamed about the possibility of swimming across the Surigao Strait. 

 ‘I want our children to enjoy the same clean seas and beaches. 
That is my environmental advocacy.’ Contributed Photo
"I learned to swim when I was in Grade 2. My friends and I just enjoyed swimming near the seashores. I told my friends, 'I wonder if anybody could swim over there," Macarine recalled. 

In his college days, he was a varsity swimmer at the Silliman University in Dumaguete City. 

Macarine said he especially wants to connect with and educate young people, the importance of clean seas. He also wants to raise awareness about climate change.  

Open-ocean swimming is among the toughest sporting disciplines in the world, said Macarine.  

His first open water swim was on Dec. 30, 2013. He was the first person to swim successfully from Basul Island to Lipata, Surigao City. 

“My first open water swim was unforgettable because that was my first time to swim against a strong current.  Three of my companions gave up. I was the only one who successfully crossed it,” he said. 

But for Macarine his latest challenge in Pamilacan Island in Bohol province last Jan. 31, was "the hardest and toughest yet".  He completed the gruelling 14-kilometer journey for 5 hours and 59 minutes.

He said strong currents kept pulling him off course so he had to change direction at least 14 times.

“It’s very challenging. This is my toughest swim because of strong current and waves. I had no choice but to use backstroke. The current changed several times and I had really a very hard time swimming against the current,” said Macarine.

The Pamilacan swim was his second in Bohol since he swam the 13.4-km stretch from Balicasag Island to mainland Panglao Island in 2014 during the first anniversary of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake. He did it to immortalize the Boholanos who had perished during the earthquake.

LAWYER  Ingemar Macarine says that his Pamilacan swim was the “hardest and toughest yet.’ 
Contributed Photo
Swimming in the open water is very safe so long as you have an escort boat, he said. 

Macarine said he follows the Marathon Swimming Federation Rules and performs his solo swimming without floating aid or help from any human or sea vessel.

The swim isn't easy.

"You need to be brave," he said. "And focus on what you’re doing."

At one point, he had been stung by jellyfishes. Sometimes, strong currents and big waves would somehow hinder his target.  Through it all, he held his mantra close: "Psalm 23...The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me...” His family-wife Raquel, and children- Lance, 6; and Colyn, 4, are his inspiration.

He said prior to his swim, he took time to read the Bible and pray.

"I read the Bible when I am in doubt, and of course, for the Lord's guidance. And my favorite is Psalm 23,” he said. 

He has since conquered seas in United States and Philippines.

Macarine had done similar feats in the past. He was acknowledged as the first Filipino to swim the 2.7-kilometer from Alcatraz Island Penitentiary to San Francisco City in April 2014.

He was also the first man to conquer the Babuyan Channel by swimming from Palaui Island to Mainland Sta. Ana, Province of Cagayan with a distance of 7.2 km in 2 hours on June 15,  2014.

He was also the first man to swim from Santa Fe in Bantayan Island to San Remigio in mainland Cebu, covering the distance of 19.99 km. He spent seven hours and 45 minutes to reach mainland Cebu.

He was also the first man who attempted to swim from Visayas to  Mindanao by swimming from San Ricardo, Southern Leyte to Surigao City, Northern Mindanao. Although the swim was unsuccessful, he made a personal record of swimming 23 kilometers in five and half hours in May 2014. 

Macarine was selected as one of the three Heroes of the Environment for 2015 by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF). 

“I am so happy that I can inspire more people to care more for the marine environment,'" he said.

At 39, Macarine said he is in good health, and just wants to do his part in bringing about peace and friendship, as well as clean seas.

“I want our children to enjoy the same clean seas and beaches. That is my environmental advocacy,” he said, “Clean seas are very important today for the future generations.”

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