Sunday, October 30, 2016

Meet Pinoy’s supernatural creatures

Seen: The nine contestants of the Scariest Halloween Costume 2016. The contestants dressed in movie-inspired Halloween outfits, like Valang, Medusa and other evil dead characters. (Nicole Khim Smith of Tan Model Agency who dressed as the horror bride: 'I'll bring you to hell!')

Scene: The Philippines’ Kylie Verzosa, a model from Baguio City, is proclaimed Miss International 2016. The green swimsuit of Miss International 2016 was the creation of  Boholano fashion icon Mikee Andrei.

The month of November is always associated with ghouls and spooks since it starts with our observance of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day.

Since Halloween, which dates back to Celtic ritual thousands years ago, is just around the corner, all things related to the occasion have been sprouting up.

Today, Halloween has evolved into a celebration characterized by child- friendly activities, such as costumes, trick-or-treating, et al.

Last Friday, some people started wearing fearsome costumes and masks to scare the spirits away. The Scariest Halloween Costume contest held at the Island City Mall featured mostly foreign supernatural creatures like Valang, Medusa and a horror bride. The gory scenes where the creature attacks victims are truly heart pounding and scary. There are no cheap scare tactics — only inventive and effective products of creativity.

 I’ve missed those years when Pinoy evil and winged creatures roamed around the mall for us to know our own supernatural creatures. 

Our country has no shortage of supernatural creatures in our local folklore. Meet some of them:

Kalag (Ghosts)-  The restless spirit of a dead person. These ghosts are said to be victims of injustice an or those who have unfinished business. A kalag appears as the mere of silhouette of a person.

Strange noises and infamous headless apparitions of priests and nuns are reported to be seen at the Old Capitol Building.  Until now, some guards and employees swear to hearing strange noises and disturbing shouts. It is believed that the headless ghosts and noises are from the priests and prisoners beheaded during World War II.

Thousands of people of various ages flock to the cemeteries as early as Oct. 31 for the traditional yearly visit to tombs, in loving remembrance of the their departed loved ones.  –Leo Udtohan/Chronicle

In Dampas, Tagbilaran City, the tragedy that took place early January where a family died has contributed to its haunted reputation. Strange sights and sounds are reported at the crime scene. 

Ungo (Monsters)-Refer to any harmful supernatural creature that looks horrifying. There are two kinds of monsters:  wakwak (a bird-like creature with the sound of “wak wak wak”) and kikik (a bird-like creature which is the advanced party of the usikan or sorcerer).

Engkanto – The engkantos are usually described as blond, good-looking, taller than ordinary humans, have high-bridged nose and no philtrum or medial cleft.  They live in large trees, abandoned houses and other places.

In 2002, Toting, a videographer of the then MYK Studio went to Dauis to take video of a lot for sale for his boss’ possible client. The place had trees and tall grasses. When they returned to the office to play the video, the place had many small houses and some unidentified people.

Some residents in Barangay Can-omay in Antequera town testified that Tubod Dako is a dwelling place of the engkantos. The large stone is said to be a palace. In Inabanga town, the Macaban City is known as the place of engkantos.

The balite tree in Cogon is also a big house of an engkanto. The heirs of Ingking, Udtohan, Espejo and Pamaong donated the lot for a wet market. When the bulldozer driver had to create a new road, he saw a large house that he had to change direction. That explained why the road on Tabacco Street going to Pamaong Street is not straight.

The Binayran Road in Barangay Dampas is said to be the most haunted road in Tagbilaran City. Drivers have reported everything from strangely dressed wanderers, to ghosts, to phantom vehicles that chase them to its end.

However, there malevolent engkantos who can take control of a human body. Last month, several students in Sagbayan and Ubay were allegedly possessed by the engkantos

White Lady- The white lady is a type of a female ghost dressed in all white reportedly seen in rural areas and associated with some local legend of tragedy.  The poorly lit Mansasa street with huge trees near Mansasa Elem. School has been known to be the home of supernatural beings. A lot of people avoid driving and passing by in this street.  A white lady who hails tricycles in the middle of the night, rides for a short while, and then mysteriously disappears. There are some reported white lady apparitions at Dr. Cecilio Putong National High School, Tagbilaran City Central Elem. School, the old Divine Word College and University of Bohol S&T Building.  The black and red ladies are the less popular version of the white lady.

Agta- The agtas are tree dwelling, cigar smoking giants!  Agta or kapre is normally described as having a strong smell that would attract human attention.  According to folks, there is agta sighting near Barangay Guinobatan before going to Bien Unido. At night time, someone can see a lit cigar at the mahogany tree.

Demons and evils roam around the Island City Mall for this
 year's scariest Halloween costumes.  –Leo Udtohan/Chronicle 
Tikbalang-The tikbalang appears to be the local counterpart of the mythological centaur. Its upper body is that of a horse, its lower body that of man. Tikbalang nests in the forests and caves.  In Bohol, while the candidates of Miss Trinidad 2002 had their pictorial near the Batunghay Cave, a tikbalang appeared to a barangay kagawad and a person with a third eye. The village councilman said he was surprised to see the tikbalang since he heard about them from his grandfather many years ago. He said his lolo told him that someone can tame a tikbalang when you snatch one of its golden hair. Once you get the golden hair, you get to ask anything you want the tikbalang to do.

Duwende- The duwendes are small people who live in small hills, rivers, shrubs, houses and other places. The duwende is probably the cousin of many other creatures such as dwarf, elf and leprechaun. In Antequera town, people often see tudtud (dwarf-like creatures) in rivers, woods and fields.

Tiyanak- The origin of the tiyanak is unclear but some sources said they are aborted fetuses from mother’s womb who took revenge of not giving them birth, or babies who died before receiving baptism.  The tiyanak can also be the offspring of a woman and a demon.

Most tiyanaks are said to live in forests. If they see a human, they transform into what looks like a normal baby. When the person notices the tiyanak and comes near to take a look at it, the tiyanak changes back to its true form and eats its prey.

Residents near the balite tree near Alsa Baso in Mansasa, Tagbilaran, reported of tiyanak sightings.  A few residents also in Dao District near the transmitter of DYTR seen or heard the tiyanak.

The mantiyanak is the mother who died while pregnant, while a tiyanak is the ghost of the unborn child.

Aurelio Romero Gahit, popular known as “Ondoy Kalag” shared his encounter with the mantiyanak in 1993.  The mantiyanak stirred the villages of Taloto and Booy that people heard the mantiyanak singing lullabies to her baby, causing hair-raising chills and making them trembled in fear. 

Ondoy Kalag who was at the Victoria Memorial Park saw the woman floating in the air. He 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.

Manananggal- Is one of the most famous mythical creatures in the Philippines.  Many people believe that this creature transforms only by night, half-bat and half-human, and is afraid of the daylight. They would prey on pregnant women using its elongated tongue to snatch the baby from its mother.

The manananggal transforms with the help of a lana (coconut oil) and chants the oracion (Walay Hesus ug Maria or There is no Jesus and Mary) to severe its upper torso, and leave its lower torso.

Some faith healers said that somewhere in Doljo town, in Panglao town, is the resting place of the manananggals who take a rest from a long flight from Mindanao.

However, contrary to what we heard, manananggal has small wings that flip faster with glowing red eyes, sharp teeth and very long fingernails.

Horror Bride/Leo Udtohan
Angkay, a businessman from Tagbilaran City, said he saw mananangal when he brought some tobacco in Samar. Since the Elf canter was filled with tobacco, Angkay and his two friends had to stay at the top of the vehicle. The driver had tied them to secure them from falling down since the travel would take them three to five hours. When they arrived in a town known for kababalaghan, they saw flying creatures that looked like birds. Upon a closer look, they were manananggals.  Angkay said the manananggal is not exclusively female. When the mananggals had to attack them, his friend said an oracion (prayer) and they bounced back as if there was a protection shield. The manananggals disappeared but they came back with stones to throw at them.

Wuwug-It is a self-segmenting viscera-sucker. It separates at the neck and the wingless head hovers off with its entrails dangling in the air, leaving the body behind. A wuwug produces the sound ‘wooohhh wooohhhh.” Wowie, a resident of Barangay Sal-ing in Balilihan town had a close encounter with a wuwug.
He said he went home after attending a village disco that he heard an unfamiliar sound. And when he looked up at the sky, he saw a head floating. He run and hid in coconut tree.

Sigbin- Whether or not you believe in the sigbin, you probably heard that Panglao Island is home of this mythical creature. These sigbins are said to have bring wealth to their owners, as well as allowed them to possess special knowledge in the mystic arts.  Sigbin eats uling (coal) and squash.  The sigbin walks backward with its head behind its knees; it almost looks like a wallaby or kangaroo. They are believed to be fast runners.

Santelmo- The Santelmo or the St. Elmo's Fire is a small fire and staring the fire it turns into a skull.  Filipinos believe that when a man dies while the rain pours, his spirit will stay where the body has been found and eventually his spirit will turn into the so called Santelmo. We would light a candle when there is a corpse found along the streets to release the spirit from its captivity from the real world.

Tambaluslus- Smaller than the agta, they have wide protruding lips like an ape. The creature’s name is derived from this feature which is referred to as ‘luslus’ which means ‘loose and hanging’. Once his lips touch your forehead, you will be in “mino,” the state of being lost as a result of enhancement. The only way to escape it is to take off your clothes and wear them upside-down.

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

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Some favorite expressions (In Bohol, we don’t say...)

Scene: Dr. Mutya Kismet Tirol-Macuno, MDM, is the new Medical Center Chief II of Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH). She took her oath before Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial.  Leah Tirol-Magno (of Bohol’s Baking Mama), Macuno’s youngest sister shared on Facebook, “We are very proud of you Anang. Carry on the torch of righteousness and continue to share God's love to His people with this new responsibility He entrusted you.”

Scene: The Dalareich Food Products has won the first BPI Sinag Accelerate Challenge 2016. The program aims to empower up-and-coming enterprises with a social mission through an exclusive series of mentorship programs, said the Bank of the Philippine Islands’ social development arm, BPI Foundation. “God really works in mysterious ways,” said Dalareich Polot.

Last week, someone posted on Facebook a list of expressions of Boholanos (In Bohol, we don’t say) which has attracted millennials in the time it was posted and shared on the social media. 

Other Bisdaks who can relate of the expressions have started to make their own by simply changing the name of the province.  They say it is as a way of letting others know how they feel.

Bohol’s chocolate princess Dalareich Polot
 (3rd from left, with her sister Irene and BPI 
Foundation staff) receives the award for the first. 
BPI Sinag Accelerat Challenge 2016. Contributed Photo
Here are some expressions that you might find interesting and amusing making daily conversations more colorful. Read on.

In Bohol, we don't say, "Ang gwapo niya!" Instead we say, "Sheeet kalami niya"

In Bohol we don't say, "Hi kumusta na?" Instead we say, "Buhi pa diay ka buanga ka? "

In Bohol, we don't say, "Awesome!" Instead we say, "Ataya ato gud?!"

In Bohol, we don't say, "Buti nga sayo" Instead we say, "Dah! Merese! Gabaan ang buang"

In Bohol, we don't say, "Weh? Di nga? Instead we say, "Pagsure ba kay magbiko tag Pink"

In Bohol, we don't say, "Dami mong pera Pare!" Instead we say, "Namayot napud ka gabii no?"

In Bohol, we don't say, "Saan kana?" Instead we say, "Piste oy! Dugay pa?"

In Bohol, we don't say, "Pasensya na po" Instead we say, "Strikto lagi ka sa personal oi"

In Bohol, we don't say, "Excuse me" Instead we say, "Padaplin daw bi"

In Bohol, we don't say, "Ulan na naman" Instead we say, "Managhan nasad ta ani"

In Bohol, we don't say, "Where's my pen?" Instead we say, "Animal ang nagkawat sa akong ballpen!
Mayrag mamatay karun dayun."

In Bohol, we don't say, "Tahimik mo naman" Instead we say, "Pakahoy-kahoy ang buang ohh"

In Bohol, we don't say, "Wag mokong idamay" Instead we say, "ay ko amunga ha kay wa raba ko galabot-labot"

In Bohol, we don't say, "Wow sexy" Instead we say, "Hubagang ate oy! Ka salad naba"

In Bohol, we don't say, "Girlfriend mo bro? Congrats!" Instead we say, "Lahi napud na pre?"


Dr. Mutya Kismet Tirol-Macuno, MDM, is the 
new Medical Center Chief II of Gov. Celestino Gallares 
Memorial Hospital (GCGMH). 
Contributed Photo/Leah Tirol-Magno
In Bohol, we don’t say, "Wow nice haircut or hair style." Instead we say, “Dagway sa hinampak ay,wala pa nimo gipadakup ang nag tupi nimo!”

In Bohol, we don’t say, "Nice suit. What's the occasion? Why so dressed up?" Instead we say... "Halaahh ka porma sa hinampak oh! Asa na punerarya nimo nakuha? Asang lubong bro?"

In Bohol, we don’t say, "Ampangit ng boses nya." Instead we say, "Pakantaha nag My Way!"

In Bohol, we don’t say, “Pasumbag kah." Instead we say, "Gusto kag mangehi ug taga bay!”

In Bohol, we don’t say, “I miss you guys.”  Instead we say, “Sum-ola ninyog dagway oi, hug ko beh! "

In Bohol, we don’t say, “Sinungaling ka!” Instead we say, “Estoryaheee!”

In Bohol, we don’t say, “May ubo ka pala?” Instead we say, “Iluwa na kay maka-upaw.”

In Bohol, we don't say.. "Susuntokin kita diyan pag hindi ka tumahimik!" Instead, we say "Daahh maypag pusilon.. Dah hilom lagi kang pisteha ka!"

In Bohol, we don’t say, "Ba't ka nakatingin, ano problema mo?" Instead we say, "Ayaw'g tutok diha buanga ka, lugit ng mata nimu run"

In Bohol, we don't say "Saan kana ngaun nakatira?" Instead we say, "Aha naman ka gibutang sa Ginoo oi!”

In Bohol, we don’t say, "Hi, it’s you again." Instead we say, “Naa nasad ang giatay ay."

in Bohol, we don’t say “Ang landi nito." Instead we say, “Hoy cholera pagtarong ha kay ma torjakan nya ka!”

We're proud Boholanos, aren't we? Kolerang lambay mo!  Ha! Ha! Ha!


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

Sunday, October 16, 2016

3 years feels like ‘33 seconds’ for quake victims

Scene:   Sports enthusiasts were devastated by the passing of sportsman and civic leader Nemi Monton last Oct. 4.  As president of Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (Abap) in Central Visayas, Nemi opened doors wider for Boholano athletes (he discovered Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista, et al).  He will be sadly missed for his energy, great sense of humor and timeless example as discoverer of athletes.

Monsignor Alberto Uy is the new bishop of the
Diocese of Tagbilaran. Courtesy:
From the Facebook page of Msgr. Alberto Uy
Scene: Pope Francis has appointed Monsignor Alberto Uy as the new bishop of the Diocese of Tagbilaran.  He will replace Bishop Leonardo Medroso, 77, whose resignation has been accepted by the pope.  A priest for 23 years, Msgr. Uy is currently the Episcopal Vicar of the Diocese of Talibon and at the same time the pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Jagna town.

Scene: I thank the esteemed judges and organizers of the Globe Media Excellence Award (GMEA) and the Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) for chosen me as one of the finalists of GMEA’s Explanatory Story for “Rice Bowl of Central Visayas is near empty” and CMMA’s Best Investigative Report on the 3-part series on the recovery of Bohol after the Earthquake. Both articles were published in Philippine Daily Inquirer. Thank you, thank you!

It’s been three years since a magnitude 7.2 earthquake brought Bohol province to its knees.

Three years later, change is uneven although industries are bouncing back. The way people see recovery and resiliency would depend on where they are since rehabilitation and rebuilding efforts continue.

After the strong earthquake in 2013, 
Boholanos have developed a powerful 
sense of disaster consciousness.  Inocencia Reyes, 
a grade 1 teacher of Cogon Norte Elem. School in Loon town, 
demonstrates how to use the “kuratong,” 
a bamboo traditionally used to call the community, as
 the school revives it for disaster risk reduction. 
Leo Udtohan/Bohol Chronicle
The earthquake also taught Boholanos to be better prepared for disasters, especially at the community level.

At Cogon Norte Elementary School in Loon town, one of the hardest-hit areas, the school has adopted the use of "kuratong" - a bamboo communication device - to warn students and teachers of possible calamities.

Inocencia Reyes, a Grade 1 teacher, said kuratong is traditionally used to call community members to assemble at village halls for meetings, alert people or call children home.

She said the school revived the use of kuratong as part of disaster risk reduction efforts, especially when earthquakes strike.

"In case of power disconnection, we can use kuratong to alert our students since no one knows when an earthquake will happen," she said, noting teachers and students were trained in using the device.

The school has also a student-based disaster risk reduction (DRR) organized by Save the Children to develop and capacitate student leaders who will serve as advocates in promoting DRR in schools and communities to protect them from any harm cause by natural and human made hazards.

Student leaders were trained in first aid and emergency response, leadership, communication and other life-saving skills. They also conduct seminars to their schoolmates about disaster preparedness inside the DRR kiosk.

Boholanos may have picked up the pieces, but the scar left by earthquake remains.

For Genara Somoro, the Bayong falls in Barangay Katipunan in Sagbayan town, is hard to look at, because this is the place where her two daughters and other three lost their lives.

Three years ago, Somoro’s siblings Jonalyn, 13 and Joellene, 11 and their friends-Jess Marvin Empinado, 10, Meme Jane Empinado, 9, Reynaldo Sipsip, 15, were taking a bath at Bayong Falls in Barangay Katipunan, Sagbayan town.  

They were swimming when the earthquake struck, triggering a landslide that buried the children.

Their bodies were never found making the families in a state of emotional and legal limbo.

 “Naka-recover naman ko after three years pero lisud hikalimtan ang nahitabo makahilak gihapun ko makahiumdum sa akong duha ka mga anak (I have recovered after three years, but I cry when I remember my children),” said Somoro.

Genara Somoro is still thinking of her two daughters
who perished during the earthquake in 2013..
But she learned to accept their fates even closure is elusive.

“Sakit huna-hunahunaun pero dawaton namo kay pagbuot man sa kahitas-an (It is painful but I learned to accept it because it is Heaven’s will),” said Somoro who held the photos of her daughters who vanished without a trace.

“Wala ka namo makita (We never found you)," mother said to her daughters. "Pero kahibaw mi asa mo- naa ka sa Ginoo run (But we know where you are — with our Lord in heaven)."

The Bayong Falls, which was a tourist destination, is now an abandoned place.  It lost its beauty. No one else go there except for the families of the victims who pay homage to the five children every Oct. 15 and Nov. 1 which bring obvious comfort to the bereaved.

Somoro said that although she thinks of Jonalyn and Joellene daily, their death anniversary remains a special day.

Salome Israel, 26, who lost her right arm and has a dislocated pelvic bones resulting from the quake, has found a work at rural health office in Tubigon town after three years.  She said she was denied because of her being handicapped.

 “Time will take care and heal of everything,” Israel said.

The fraught passage of three years feels like “33 seconds” for Clement Paulinel Ingking who lost her mother Linda during the 33-second quake.

“The emptiness can't be filled by anyone... and the grief is always there behind the smiles... we just chose not to move on in order not to forget her and all the memories,” he said.

Full recovery will take still longer.

Panubig festival goes on despite rain

Amid  a downpour, the participants of the 3rd Panubig Festival in Pilar town last Oct. 11 drew cheers as they danced in honor  to Nuestra SeƱora del Pilar or Our Lady of the Pillar, the town’s patroness.

The heavy rains failed to dampen the spirits of the
Pilarnons who had to witness the 3rd Panubig Festival
 in Pilar town. 
Leo Udtohan/Bohol Chronicle
 The rain did not appear to affect the enthusiasm of the dancers (seven from elementary and three from high school) who wore colorful costumes and props as they showcased the tradition and culture of the Pilarnons.

Butch Bernas, Ph.D., the Panubig Creative Team, said it was amazing "come rain or shine."

"It was really pouring rain, but people stayed," Butch told VRS.

Hundreds, many without umbrellas, including students, were drenched barely for three hours, but stayed on, watching and supporting their favorite contingents.

“Panubig literally water! It’s raining! It’s water!” said student Lloyd Quieta.

Giant scarecrows also added attraction to the festival.

 The event was hosted by Inday Rufing of Kiss 102.3 FM.

Take a bow, Butch. Take a bow, Vanessa Cubrado-Unajan, Panubig Festival Executive Chair.

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

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza ‘very sweet’ in Bohol

Scene: Bohol Rep. Aris Aumentado on the passing of former Bohol Gov. Rolando Butalid:  The passing of Gov. Rolando Butalid saw another era of distinguished leaders end. But his legacy of good governance will stand the test of time. Gov. Butalid was profuse with his words of wisdom everytime we meet. His advises will perpetually echo in my mind and heart as I embark on a journey of public service.

Fans Regil Gucor, Leah Sumampong and
Mechelle Maluenda have their dream photo-op
moments with  the Aldub. Contributed Photos
Scene: The family of Vicente and Marissa Garay from the coastal Barangay of Can-upao, Jagna, Bohol won this year’s Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya National Search vesting over 16 regional entries nationwide. The National Search for Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya was launched in 2012 to highlight the role of the Filipino family as the core in support to building stronger foundation of our nation. This also aims to document the impact of the Family Development Sessions (FDS), as one of the unique program conditionalities.

Fans of real-life sweethearts Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza got excited upon knowing that the phenomenal love team were in Bohol Thursday to shoot for a movie they will be part of.

Alden and Maine, collectively known as Aldub, arrived at Tagbilaran Airport on Thursday at around 11:30 a.m. together with comedian Vic Sotto.

They were mobbed by fans waiting for them outside the airport to have a glimpse and dream photo-op moments with them.

They are in Bohol for the taping of "Enteng Kabisote 10, The Abangers,” the Vic Sotto-starrer which is vying a slot at this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival.

Alden had just arrived from a weekend concert in London on Wednesday night but right away joined the rest of the “Enteng Kabisote” cast on their Bohol trip.

Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza are in
Bohol for the shooting of "Enteng Kabisote 10, The Abangers."
Contributed Photo/Boyet Boncales
The whole team led by Director Tony Reyes met Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto in Panglao town for a courtesy call.

Bohol, according to a Very Reliable Source (VRS), was the only pick as the perfect location for the plot of the movie.

Another VRS said, the movie will feature Bohol's famous scenic spots in the movie.

Chatto said he is very excited for Bohol to be featured in a movie blockbuster franchise.

It is not yet known what would be the love team’s roles in the movie. But there are more twists, surprises and ‘kilig’ moments from the love team.

In Bohol, people saw how Maine was “maalaga” to Alden.

“They are very sweet talaga kahit offcam,” said VRS who saw the two strolling on the beach.

During their Loboc River cruise, it was Maine who brought food for Alden.  At Sagbayan Peak, the lovers were mesmerized by the grandeur of the Chocolate Hills.

Aldub, Vic Sotto with the team led by Director Tony Reyes
meet Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto in Panglao town.
Contributed Photo/Leah Sumampong
“Panak yung hawak ni Alden kay Maine, so sweet like the Chocolate Hills,” said VRS.

Other cast members of the "Enteng Kabisote 10” are Pauleen Luna (who arrived on Friday),  Ken Chan, Bea Binene, Ryza Cenon,  Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola and Paolo Ballesteros, among others.

Aldub’s first movie was “My Bebe Love,” top billed by Vic Sotto and Ai-ai delas Alas. This year, they starred in their own film Imagine You and Me.

Alden and Maine became a social media sensation in 2015 when the latter was introduced as a flinty nanny with an amazing talent in dubsmash.  After several twists and turns, their love story rose to stardom until the Kalyeserye sweethearts were officially in a relationship.

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

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Miriam dictionary

Scene: Wincesa Espejo Araoarao, the long- time physical education teacher of Bohol National High School and founder of the Bukang Liwayway Dance Troupe celebrated her 77th birthday last September 28 with her children Fiel Angeli -Jerome John Gabin with Renji and Texas, USA based Reparato Anthony- Gracelyn Shiela Tubal Araoarao and her brother Capt. Abito B. Espejo. The former First Lady of Panglao when her husband Derclo Reparato became mayor of Panglao in 1980 to 1986, one of her greatest achievements is when she was second place for her performance of "Binasuan," a dance of skill, in the Philippine Folk Dance Festival held at Pace University, New York City in September 1990 wherein she was the only (individual) entry from among the group entries.
Wincesa Espejo-Araoarao celebrates 
her 77th birthday with her daughter 
Miss Tagbilaran Fiel Angeli Gabin and 
Engr. Jerome Gabin and visitors (l) Dr. Aleksander Ylanan 
and wife Jessa, yours truly, and Raul Gatal, your Roving Eye.  
Contributed Photo

Scene: The Sinoog Estokada festival in Jagna town last Sept. 29 honoring St. Michael the Archangel. The festival is a native war dance portraying good versus evil through rhythmic marching and movements following the beat of the drums. Seven contingents joined this year’s street-dancing competition.  The performers dressed as either bad or good angels, St. Michael or even Lucifer to show which side they are with. Other performers dressed like Mulawin.

Scene: The opening of the  “Dagohon sa Hoyohoy, Dagohoy the Musical 2016” by the Bohol Theater Network headed by Kasing Sining at Bohol Cultural Center.  History came to life as the show exceptionally told the story and struggle of Bohol’s Dagohoy. The scenes were so intense that it impressed the audience. “When I was watching the original show way back in 1990 I was already amazed. This time, I was totally captivated and hooked up to the show. I was even teary eyed along the way because it was really well performed, the music was well-arranged, all the actors portrayed the roles excellently. In general, the show was excellent,” said Jeycelle Espejo-Inting, a former history teacher at University of Bohol now teaching at Dr. Cecilio Putong National High School.

My first and last encounter with Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago was in 2004 when she was running for senator.  Known for her fiery speeches and sharp quips that the word “feisty” was a favorite adjective that journalists used to describe her,  I eagerly waited for her turn to speak at the campaign rally held at the Plaza Rizal.

MDS was an eloquent speaker. She could grab the listeners’ attention.  Most convention speeches are forgotten almost before they’re finished. But when MDS delivered her political oratory, it was a speech that will be replayed, quoted and anthologized for years.

MDS told Boholanos that the province is precious like gold since there is gold everywhere in Bohol.

The Sinoog Estokada festival is held every 
Sept. 29 in Jagna town. It is a war dance between 
St. Michael the Archangel and Lucifer.  
Photo by Leo Udtohan
She ended her speech, “Hayaan mo ang katarungan ay manaig, sukat man ang langit ay bumagsak.”

She had influenced many lives especially those A students who admired her for being feisty, fierce and fearless. One of them was Meynard who took up law at Holy Name University (HNU) because he was inspired by MDS. The whole class would be amazed when he mimicked MDS. 

There were times when I (including Panglao Mayor Nila Montero who was a councillor then, Clarita Horcerada, Arthur Bagcat, et al) had visited the Senate and dropped by her office where we were entertained by Ms Fortich, her office staff who’s married to his brother.

I am a fan of MDS ever since. She was part of my high school years that when she appeared on TV, I would listen to her words.  De Ers, my amiga para vivir, would act as MDS delivering some unforgettable quotes he heard on TV.  It was obvious that MDS also influenced all his life.

I also received Ulat sa Bayan, her monthly newsletter.   It was a fun learning the “Miriam Dictionary” with her brilliant quotes.  

Francisco Dagohoy (portrayed by Jeffrey Aguilar)
 holds his brother Sagarino, one of the
 heartbreaking scenes of the theatrical and 
musical celebration of “Dagon sa Hoyohoy.” 
Photo by Liza Macalandag
My biggest frustration of being an MDS fan was when I was not able to join her “Summer Sa Senado.”  It was an internship program that student-leaders were dressing up as senators, delivering privilege and sponsorship speeches, criticizing speeches, drafting bills and resolutions.

Chai Cruz, a chef from Alona who is now in New York City, also shared his experience with MDS.

“My very first and last encounter with was during my homecoming from somewhere. I usually do that practice to get fastracted at the Custom Inspection of arriving passengers. To slip some amount in foreign currency to get fast stamped by an officer. To my shame, it was her sitting at the immigration officer's post, that I only realized when I look up to her when she asked while holding my passport with " grease money " and asked me " ANO ITO ? ".... . To my shame, and quick wit, I answered " Oh, I am sorry Ma’am, that is where I put my duty free on air change, that is why I still wonder where it is ." She smirked at me and gave me back my passport and said " Welcome Home ". Thereafter, I never lost my admiration of her. That I always voted for her and of course, laughed out loud whenever I hear, see or read about her in some confrontation, inquiry or hearings at the senate. And her humour on her " hugot lines.  "

He added, “To me, she is, and was one of few women I adored much, second to Mother Theresa and Maggie Thatcher. She will always be the famous #MyMirriam, #OurMirriam, #OurPeople'sMirriam.”

MDS, who died last Thursday (Sept 29.), served the Senate for 3 terms, for a total of 18 years: from 1995 to 2001 and from 2004 until 2016. The Philippine politics will not be the same without MDS.
The political career of MDS has been filled with bombastic words and fiery zingers. She captivated Filipinos with her wit, scathing commentary, and humorous pick-up lines.
"God is neither up above nor out there. Instead, God is found in here. In the human mind, in the human conscience. That is why, you are not only graduating with a bachelor’s degree today, you are graduating to a place nearer where God is. Because God is in here. God is in you."

"Someday, I'll tell my kids a bedtime story about a brave and wise queen who never had a chance to rule her own kingdom."

"The meaning of life is found in the purposes that we pursue as we grow older."

“Mr. President, my high intelligence quotient dictates that I should reconsider and therefore withdraw my motion.”

“I used to eat death threats for breakfast Now as a senator, I eat bullets for lunch. Public service is becoming a test of intestinal powers.”

“The smaller the population of the Senate, the higher the GNP.”

“You can enjoy Summer sa Senado as long as you have an IQ higher than that of a senator.”

“The secret to success if concentration. The secret to genius is excessive concentration. The secret to happiness is forgiveness.”


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