Sunday, March 27, 2016

Blessed Assurance!

Jesus lives! This is the day the Lord has made!

Today’s Homily centers on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It assures us that God has accepted Christ’s sacrifice for our sins; it assures us that there is life after death; and it assures us that Christ is with us in the present and in the eternity future.
As we celebrate Easter Sunday, let us sing together Bill Gaither’s Because He Lives:

God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives;
But greater still the calm assurance:
This child can face uncertain days because He Lives!

Now, let us sing Fanny Crosby’s Blessed Assurance:

Note: Blessed Assurance is one of my favorite hymns written by blind hymnist and Queen of Gospel Song Writers Fanny Crosby. It has touched my heart since my childhood days and even until now I hum this whenever I remember with my heart at peace. Indeed, God has given us a blessed assurance through Christ. 

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long...

Perfect submission, perfect delight!
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest!
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

Let’s move on to the old Jerusalem, the birthplace of Easter!

Note: On this page are pictures at the village of the Compassionate God in Barangay Fatima, Inabanga town.


The Holy Week started with the celebration of the Palm Sunday to commemorate Christ’s passion and death by marking His triumphant entry to Jerusalem.

Several important events for the Christian faith were the Last Supper, the washing of the disciples’ feet, Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, the kiss of Judas, the Calvary, the death of Christ, Deposition and the Burial and Resurrection.

Inside the St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral in Tagbilaran City, a giant scaffolding rose right before the church’s interior.  It has reached to the ceiling of the dome which is being painted.

The painting is expected to finish on or before May 1, the city’s fiesta, church officials said.

The St. Joseph Cathedral the Worker Cathedral is one of the parishes founded by the Jesuit missionaries in 1595.

Although the bamboo scaffolding might be distracting during a worship service, it didn’t hinder hundreds of Boholano Catholics to attend Palm Sunday o Bendita sa Lukay.

Many brought palm fronds to church and re-enacted Christ’s entry to Jerusalem, waving the leaves at the priest as he made the entrance procession to the altar before the start of the Mass.

Bringing palm fronds, Florencia Dacaldacal, 72, was able to attend the 9 a.m. holy Mass officiated by Tagbilaran Bishop Leonardo Medroso of the Diocese of Tagbilaran.

In his Homily, Bishop Medroso reminded the Boholanos  to reflect on the sacrifices of Christ for our salvation and carry the cross of Christ.  He also reminded the people that Christ is the only hope amidst trials and failures in life.

“This Holy Week, we should be like Jesus. We should follow His cross. The Holy Week is also a perfect opportunity for us to be reunited with the Church,” said Bishop Medroso in local dialect.

After the Mass, the faithful waved their palm fronds as the priest blessed them with holy water.  In Catholic belief, the waving of palms symbolizes the discipleship and a sign of the faithful’s desire to follow Christ.

Outside the church, several vendors were selling palm fronds since Saturday night. They sold palm fronds at P10, P20, P30 and P100.

For cotton candy maker Vic Maamo, 64, Palm Sunday was an opportunity to earn a living.

He said he ordered 50 bonds of lukay (young coconut leaves) from Catigbian town, at least 33 km from Tagbilaran. He bought it for P25 per bond.

Maamo said he could earn as much as P5,000 in a day compared to selling cotton candy which earn him only P1,000 on Saturdays and Sundays in front of the church.

“God’s mercy helps my family. We can buy rice and viand. And there is a little left for us to buy clothes for the kids,” he said.

After the Mass, the churchgoers returned home and hanged their blessed palm fronds on their front doors or windows as a sign of welcoming Christ in their homes.

But Dacaldacal believes that hanging the palms can also ward off evil.

“It has power because it was blessed by a priest,” she said.

Other faithful observed that while the St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral has an ongoing painting, the Holy Week was also a perfect time to repainting the Christian faith. 

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Antequera keeps basket weaving tradition alive

At the newly-built Antequera Municipal Hall, the Tourism Information Center looks like another office. It's actually a working art gallery of baskets.

In a community where the livelihood of most families is basket weaving. They wove baskets from native grasses and plants out of necessity since 1911. Before these baskets became art, they were tools.

BASKET WEAVERS in Antequera town keep an -old tradition alive through the 2nd Basket Festival. Basket weaving is one important aspect of native culture for both practical tools and beautiful pieces of art. 
Leo Udtohan/Chronicle
"The people of Antequera have been keeping the tradition alive through a lot of hard work and a love of the process,” said Russel Villas, information officer of Antequera.

He also said that the weavers were not just ordinary weavers.

“All of the basket makers here in Antequera are artists," he said.

Weaving baskets is something Rodel Barace, 29, of barangay Obujan-Tagubaas, has been doing since he was a little boy.

He learned from her mother and grandmother, who used to sell baskets at Antequera and Tagbilaran markets.

He said it's more than a family tradition; it was a way of life, a livelihood.

Barace said that the basket he is weaving reflects his town, known as Bohol’s basket capital.

"This is what I am doing since I was young and I represent a community,” he said.

When the strong earthquake hit the province in 2013, Antequera was one of the severely damaged towns.  However, the quake had not stopped the residents from weaving basket.

The style of weaving is unique to the residents of Antequera. A family in Barangay Bicahan started weaving in 1911 with “ bukag,”  a big basket  as product.   Over the generations, different families have developed their own artistic flair.

“Through the years, we are making different styles and sizes,” said Barace.

THE MAJESTIC, grand and impressive Mag-aso Falls 
in Antequera town is a favorite summer destination. 
Leo Udtohan/Chronicle
Selling baskets and other handicrafts was a way of supporting the families. Before good roads attracted visitors to visit Antequera, residents then walked long distances to sell their family’s baskets. On foot, they travelled to Tagbilaran City, at least 18 km from their hometown.

Almost everyone in the town knows how to weave. You can visit houses and see their quick, skilled hands can pull strips of  “uway” and other native plants into the form of a basket and other native products in just a couple of hours. Bamboo, rattan, nito, buri, wicker, sig-id and other vines can be dyed and woven into native products such as hampers, lampshades, wall decors, furniture, fashion accessories and even animals such as duck, cat and tarsier, in all shapes and sizes.  

Last March 17, the town was celebrating the 2nd Basket Festival honoring the local tradition of basket making.   There was a display of their native products, street-dancing and a dance showdown at the town plaza.

“This is the second year of our celebration. In fact, it boosts the basket revenue of our town considering it has experienced a downfall in production in the market,” said Villas.

He also said that after the 1st Basket Festival, many suppliers contacted the tourism office to have their designs drafted and weaved by the local weavers.

Antequera Mayor Jose Mario Pahang said that the festival was an avenue to showcase their handicrafts to the world.  Councilor Lani Labado, tourism chair, said that the town’s native handicrafts are widely accepted in the world market.

The festival featured a street parade with participants in bright-colored basket themed costumes, dancing to the beat and rhythm of drums, trumpets, and native gongs.

This year, residents have noticed the newly-built town hall.

And weavers who have witnessed the festival were inspired to keep the old tradition alive.

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Incidentally, the dry/summer season has officially begun last Friday. Have you started writing your summer go-to checklist yet?  Why not going local? Bohol is one of the country’s top tourist destinations, after all.

While Antequera retains its glorious native products, it’s grand, impressive, crystal-clear water of Mag-aso Falls remains a favorite summer destination. It was destroyed by the quake in 2013 and typhoon Seniang in 2014 but Mother Nature has carved a new view of the falls. All summer long, Mag-aso falls is hard to beat.  Other interesting places to see are Inambacan Falls and Celing spring and fish spa.

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

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Dolce Amore in Bohol: ‘Kilig pa’ more!

Scene: The Department of Education (DepEd), in cooperation with the provincial government  of Bohol,  Australian Embassy and  Asia Foundation Partnership in the Philippines conducted the "Eskwela Agrikultura" Agri Senior High School Summit last March 9. It brought together agriculture and tourism industry stakeholders to discuss the development goals of the province senior high school opportunities in tourism.

Scene: Fans remembered the 6th anniversary of Rebecca del Rio’s death last Friday. Rebecca Del Rio (Ma. Lourdes Buslon in real life) was the 1st Filipina to win Asia's Best Supporting Actress in the 1958 Asian Film Festival. A native of Sierra-Bullones town, Del Rio hit her peak in the ’50s and she made numerous movies under Sampaguita Pictures. She was touted as the “most glamorous kontrabida” of her time. Rebecca del Rio may be a darling to baby boomers but perhaps a bit of a "stranger" to the new generation of movie lovers.

ABS-CBN’s Dolce Amore has been keeping Filipinos glued to their TV sets. Last week, many Boholano followers could not get over to the kilig serye’s episode on Bohol, trending on social media and unwittingly disrupting the diurnal of Boholanos.

‘KILIG PA’ MORE. Dolce Amore which shows the beauty of Bohol last week has been keeping televiewers glued to their TV sets with so much ‘kilig’Courtesy: Star Creatives

“I did watch the episode. It was not only kilig but it showed the beauty of our province,” said Karen Digal-Asoy who personally met LizQuen during their taping in Sevilla town.

“I can’t get over the much love and kilig,” said Anita Dacaldacal.

The Bohol episode shows Tenten (Enrique Gil) finally agreed to join Serena (Liza Soberano) in her trip to Bohol.

They immediately headed to Nanay Melds (Frenchie Dy)'s community with a friendly guide (Buboy Villar) who helped them find the way. They crossed two streams (unverified locations) and Sipatan hanging bridges in Sevilla town, and had a long walk on a forest road of Loboc and Bilar.

When they reached the community, they were greeted by a marching band and a group of residents who made them feel like VIPs. Serena finally got the chance to hug her Nanay Melds once more.

DR. DOLOREICH DUMALUAN and his wife Malou 
meet LizQueen at Dumaluan Beach Resort in Panglao town 
where the breathtaking beach scene of Dolce Amore’s Bohol 
episode is shot here. Contributed Photo/Roldan Cuevas
Serena and Tenten excitedly explored the beauty of Bohol with Nanay Melds and Tatay Cardo (Rommel Padilla). Nany Melds told them that she was working at the floating restaurants.

They went to Loboc River cruise.  There was Lobocanon singer Sam Varquez who was singing “Welcome to Bohol...” while they were enjoying the ambiance of the river. They also joined the local folks to dance tinikling.

After the cruise, the group headed to Chocolate Hills. The place was a perfect setting to discuss love and destiny.

Quote and unquote: "Ang pag-ibig nila ay hindi dahil bumagal ang ikot ng mundo o kumanta ang mga ibon o biglang lumiwanag ang madilim na paligid. Ang pag-ibig nila ay nagsimula sa gutom lamang. Isipin mo yun... Ang happily ever after, hindi ibig sabihin na happy-happy ka lang lagiAng ibig sabihin ng happily ever after ay dahil pinili mong maging happy sa taong kasama mo at mahal mo at kahit ano'ng mangyari, paninindigan mo yun dahil mahal mo yun eBumagal man ang ikot ng mundo, umawit man ang ibon o hindi, magliwanag o dumilim man ang mundo, magmamahal ka dahil pinili mong magmahal."

There was a scene at Dumaluan Beach Resort where Tenten enjoyed his morning swim and Serena defended him from the three women who made fun of him because of his lisp problem.

Dolce Amore’s Bohol episode, according to data from Kantar Media, registered a national TV rating of 37.5 percent.

Kilig much!

Willy Ramasola’s post on Grace Poe goes viral

JP Maslog is rubbing elbows with LizQueen during
 the loveteam’s recent visit to Bohol. Contributed Photo
Willy Ramasola’s Facebook post on presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe goes viral.

His post in full read: "To my FB friends who support Grace Poe, please explain to me why people should vote for her.

"Her own husband is a natural born American and he cannot even vote for his own wife this coming May. Her children according to her will remain American citizens. As senator, the number of bills she filed which became law is none. Big fat zero. Her other public service experience was at MTRCB which consisted of watching movies and classifying them as PG or GP or R.

"So tell me why people should vote for Grace? Give me a very good reason aside from her being the adopted daughter of FPJ. Thanks."

Well, Willy has a point.

Unexpectedly, his post caught the attention of many personalities, including singer Gab Valenciano, son of Gary V.

Valenciano said, "Dear Willy Ramasola, I do not know who you are so I cannot comment based on your character and personality, instead, I will comment based on your post."

Gab also reminded everyone that dual citizenship exists and that her family’s own American citizenship should not be taken against her.

“Sen. Grace is my friend above anything. And I defend my friends. So what if her husband is an American citizen. So what if her kids are keeping their American citizenship. Get with the times. There is something called dual citizenship. People who are well travelled and have spent time away from their hometown could have gained more insight, could have gained an understanding of what it means to advance any kind of system beyond the ‘Filipino way,’” he said.

Valenciano also blasted the existing double standards in the Filipino political system which have served as hindrances to someone like Poe who just wants to serve her country.

“Our political system is rotten to its core, and the whole world knows this. A true Filipino is Filipino by blood, not by paper. People move countries to expand their way of life, not relinquish their homeland. She purely and sincerely wants what’s best for our country and will do anything and everything to serve with the best of her ability, no strings or bs attached. That’s what I admire most about her. We Filipinos are so freaking fickle. We lambast and rebuke her yet have the balls to support someone who goes against a Filipino’s moral code. It’s an outrageous double standard that is so hypocritical, it’s sickening. Let’s disqualify the “inexperienced” candidate who doesn’t meet the requirements of residency and continue glorifying the corrupt, unscrupulous and indecent,” he said; adding he wasn’t paid to endorse but would just like to defend his friend from the hate he believes she doesn’t deserve.

“My issue here isn’t about who you want to vote for. Vote for who YOU personally believe in. That’s fine. But do not use these technicalities to question someone’s ability or inability to lead,” he said.

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

Sunday, March 6, 2016

LizQuen enjoys shooting ‘Dolce Amore’ in Bohol

As you must have heard, yes, Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano, collectively known as LizQuen, were in Bohol recently for ABS-CBN’s hit television series “Dolce Amore (Sweet Love).”
LizQuen and other cast members of “Dolce Amore” stayed in Bohol for three days to shoot some scenes.

LIZQUEN’S on-screen chemistry
has attracted many fans. 
Contributed Photo
“Dolce Amore” is a story of two young wandering souls, both in search of who they really are, who will be brought together by destiny and feel an infallible connection with each other, ABS-CBN said.
On “Dolce Amore,” Liza plays Serena, a young girl raised in Italy by her adoptive parents who yearns to live a simple life. She is set to have an arranged marriage with the character played by Matteo Guidicelli. Her leading man (Enrique Gil) plays Tenten, an ordinary boy from Manila who works hard to provide for his family including working as a callboy. Others in the cast are Cherie Gil and Frenchie Dy.
The show explored the province’s scenic spots like the white sandy beaches on Panglao Island, Sevilla Hanging Bridge, Loboc River, man-made forest and the Chocolate Hills.  The program manager of the soap considered the Bohol scenes as important elements in the program.
Hopefully, Bohol would become character in the story.

While here, LizQuen was mobbed by fans.
and Liza Soberano  are not just
in love with Bohol’s scenic spots
but also the Boholano hospitality,
says Roldan Cuevas (with Gil),
senior supervisor of Dumaluan Beach Resort
in Panglao town.
Contributed Photo
Roldan Cuevas, senior supervisor of Dumaluan Beach Resort (owned by Dr. Doloreich Dumaluan) in Panglao where LizQuen and production staff were staying, said fans went to the resort to see a glimpse of their favorite loveteam.
“LizQuen’s stay here was making fans abuzz,” said Roldan.  He also added that LizQuen loves the beauty of Bohol and they plan to visit again.
Another fan Karen Digal-Asoy didn’t fail to catch the duo in Sevilla town.
“LizQuen, from your journey in Forevermore, you never failed to amaze me with your stellar performances,” said Karen who met the couple at Sevilla Hanging Bridge.
We would never have guessed that Miss Tagbilaran 1987 Fiel Angeli Arao-arao-Gabin is a big fan of LizQuen. Fiel tagged her daughter, Cielo, to Tagbilaran airport for photo ops with LizQuen, which was described as last-ditch effort before take-off.
Viewers can watch the Bohol scenes this week.
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