Sunday, November 26, 2017

Miss UB's Isabel turns 18

“When I was born into this world, I was like an unlit candle
Whose wick is time’s fickle friend in itself.
As I grew up, I learned to treasure beautiful moments in life
My family, loved ones and most of all, God are my sources of light
 and because of them, the fire inside me continues to burn bright
This is my 18th lap around the sun.”
Isabel Iris Tirol Garsuta

 “Is this the little girl I carried?
I don't remember growing older,
When did she?
When did she get to be a beauty?
Wasn't it yesterday when she was small?
Sunrise sunset, sunrise, sunset,
Swiftly flow the days,
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers,
Blossoming even as they gaze...
Sunrise sunset…”
Marissa Tirol-Garsuta

A lady of talent and lustre, and she's just 18.

Growing up in an amazing household, like what one of her friends called it, Isabel Iris Tirol Garsuta is someone who is young, eloquent, lovely and admirable. Not surprising for the young lady who was obviously raised well by her parents- Lt.  Col. Lino and Marissa Garsuta.

Isa, short for Isabel Iris, had a coming-out party when she turned 18 recently. Gold was the theme of the night.

Isabel Iris Tirol Garsuta, who started in the singing industry at four years old, 
now turns 18 and hopes for the best things that life can offer. Courtesy: TJ Medrana Photography
Isabel’s mother was hands-on in the preparation of “Isa at 18” — from the theme, invitation, giveaways to other details — to ensure that it will create special moments and unforgettable memories for her and the people who will be part it.

The party went well as planned.

Isabel sauntered into the ballroom of the Metro Centre Hotel without any tinge of stress or tension typical of most debutantes. She was radiant in her gown which fit her image and status as a teen queen creation by Kim Villamor.

Isabel is apparently a well-loved friend, relative 
and family member. She was the star that night 
and her parents  Lino and Marissa, brother 
Dr. Lemuel and sister Sofia— simply took
 the sidelines, allowing  Isabel to shine more.
   Courtesy: TJ Medrana Photography
Instead of table hopping for the posterity shots, Isabel got to sit on centerstage and the guests in every table were requested to pose with her. Prior to that, she also got to enjoy dinner unhurriedly with her close friends in one table, where she had a spotlight to herself.

Isabel waltzed with her dad Lino and her good-looking brother Dr. Lemuel Lino Garsuta.

Her 18 roses were Johnmar Yap, Kheim Dexter Garay, Rei Christian Sepe, Christian Butlig, Jomel Campaña, Adrian Blanco, Rogelio Lomotos Jr, Jake Kinno Ursos, Vince Cabagnot, Juvan Angelo Garsuta, Geovil Graphy Garsuta, Van Vincent Garsuta, Sean Rey Tupaz, Daryl Fadri, Floyd Gillian Salomon, William Erick Karcher, John Franklin Gallares and Marcus Andrei Villas.

Isabel’s 18 candles were Niña Janielle Sumeguin, Giesil Grace Garsuta, Zyra Zamora, Norden Debby Bual, Marian Daphny Tare, Bea Rosari Supanga, Dennissa Lorelle Owen, Regine Mae Mondelo, Vanessa Marie Grandeza, Mikhaela Anne Alagon, Angeli Tirol, Alicia Nicole Bomediano, Jasmine Shania Tasker, Hannah Logarta, Erika Sofia Karcher, Adrianna Kyla Sevilla, Shyra Reyna Tupaz and Shekinah Sofia Garsuta.

Her 18 books were Eunice Mae Limbaga, Herma Darien Pamplona, Julia Faith Joaquin, Elmare Samocino, Nicolett Lapay, Donabel Faye Igagamao, Irgel Jude Enriquez, Keanna Inferido, Zedneli Paulet Alas, Angelica Ayco, Jacobe Joaquin Sevilla, Danielle Mae Floresca, Vanessa Achacoso, Carlos Rey Garcia, Maruen Sevilla, Dacylle Lou Alaba, Ralph Jacob Medina and Celine Alveona Marcos.

Her 18 treasures were Dr. Katrina Logarta, Maricel Tirol, Angelica Garsuta, Thea Garsuta-Hontanosas, Ruffa Sumeguin. Dr. Janice Aurora Tirol, Jenny Estoquia, Rosemarie Nini, Dr. Vida May Tirol-De Juan, Christian Jane Tiu, Roy Mondragon, Daryl Paredes, Atty Gee Galon, Pretty Anifel Edulan, Shannon Ray Tupaz, Mehulbhai Dabhi, Lina Alaba and Jocelyn Omas-as.

Isabel, who is Miss University of Bohol (UB) Personality 2017, undoubtedly, she also has the talent to boot. She is a singer, composer and a black belt beauty queen.

In her 18th birthday party, she delighted the guests were her song number and playing the violin.  The event was an evening of heartstrings and violins.

She started singing at the age of four and she joined local contest like Little Big/Star, The Voice Kids Philippines and Tawag ng Tanghalan.

In 2013, Isabel topped the BEAT100 Music Video Chart with her original track, Glad You Came. Her entry received a Bronze Video award.

After dinner, an audio-visual presentation with Isabel’s beautiful photos kicked off the night’s program. Her family and close friends only had nice words and praises for her.

Marissa said, “I consider myself blessed to have you in my life and it’s always a privilege to be your driver, personal assistant, mentor, manager, producer and a stage mom. Keep in mind that God has great plans for you and no matter what problems or obstacles come your way take those as a challenge. I love you Ate.  Enjoy your special day and welcome to legality.”

Her dad said, “I'm so blessed to have a daughter like you. Count your blessings, be grateful and keep the Faith. Surely you can move mountains. Happy 18th Birthday Anak!”

Meanwhile, just like that of a typical debutante, her mind is whirling with thoughts of her formal "coming out". Let's "dissect" that mind a bit.

Do you have any birthday wish?
“My birthday wish is for God to continue being the Light and Guidance in my life so I may walk in His path. I also wish good health and happiness unto the Lord for the people who I love.”

Now that you're 18, what are the things that you'll be deciding on by yourself?
“Now that I’m 18, I challenge myself to take initiative and be more responsible when it comes to making decisions in life.”

 What are your most cherished memories as a child?
“My most cherished memories as a child were trips and spending quality time with the family. I also treasure my achievements during the past years.”

What's the best lesson that you learned from your parents?
“The best lesson that I learned from my parents is that in everything I do and whatever I have in life, I should give thanks to the Lord because He is the source of It all.”

Which song means so much to you?
“The song which means so much to me is One Sweet Day by Mariah Carey because it is also the title of the band that my siblings and I formed. It means that One Sweet Day, we would all be reunited with our brother Jake who is in heaven.”


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

Sunday, November 19, 2017

‘Pinoy Aquaman’ finishes Pamilacan-Panglao swim despite shoulder pain

Scene: Virgo Chyl of Dumaluan Beach Resort shares the 7  Rules for a Happy Life: 1.) Think of others more than yourself.  2)  Laugh every day. 3) Spend less money than you make. 4)  Be an encourager NOT a critic. 5)  Pray when you feel like worrying. 6) Give thanks when you feel like complaining; and 7) Keep going when you feel like quitting.

Scene: From hair and make-up expert Donna Ligtas  Betos:  So far  Philippines is the only country in Asia which produces...3 Miss Universes, 1 Miss World, 6 Miss Internationals,  4 Miss Earths, 1 Miss Supranational,  1 Miss Globe, 1 Miss United Continents and 1 Miss RienaHispanoAmericana.

Scene: From May Hope Arcenal: To All BLCI Valued Consumers: For your information and guidance. The supposed NGCP scheduled maintenance activity set on November 18, 2017 (Saturday) will not push through and is moved to December 2, 2017, same time from 5am to 6pm.

Environmental lawyer and triathlete Ingemar Macarine almost abandoned his swim from Pamilacan Island to Panglao Island in Bohol province last Sunday (Nov. 12), because of shoulder pain after being in the water for almost two hours.

Macarine, who earned the moniker “Pinoy Aquaman” for setting records as the only Filipino who swims in several parts of the country and abroad in open-water swimming.

“All of a sudden I had a problem with my right shoulder,” Macarine said.

It took Ingemar Macarine 6 hours and 43 minutes
 to complete his swim from Pamilacan Island to 
Panglao Island in Bohol province on Sunday, 
Nov. 12, 2017, despite experiencing shoulder pain. 
Leo Udtohan
At first, he tried to raise his right hand while swimming, but there were times where he could hardly lift it out of the water.

“I was thinking of abandoning the swim because of the painful right shoulder,” he said.
But he didn’t stop.

He only stopped for some seconds to drink his energy drink. He was not allowed to touch the boat.

Macarine, 41, woke up early at 4 a.m. on Sunday to prepare for his swim.

He read Psalm 23 while his coach, Roel Catoto, applied sunblock on him.

He started his swim at 6:30 a.m. from Pamilacan Island, which is part of the municipality of Baclayon town, to Alona Beach in Panglao Island, a 15-killometer trip that would normally take four to six hours of continuous swimming.

It took Macarine six hours and 43 minutes to finish the swim.

He will now undergo medical examination of his right shoulder.

Macarine got into open-water swims as part of his lifetime advocacy for marine resource protection, environmental tourism and climate change awareness.

His attempt last Sunday was to promote cleaner seas and tourism in Panglao.

Panglao, a tourism jewel in the province of Bohol, is the home of the country’s white sandy beaches which dot the island coast. The fine white sands are often compared to the white beaches of Boracay.

“I hope the swim will encourage or inspire fellow Filipinos to take care of our marine environment,” he said.

‘Pinoy Aquaman’ with Panglao disaster risk
 management officer Art Bagcat, lawyers 
Idonah Lee Grupo-Coritico, Ted Lagang, Warren Yap 
and Lord “Cocot” Marapao of the Integrated Bar of the
 Philippines (IBP)-Bohol Chapter and Othoniel Galia, Jr and 
Ondoy Bustalino of Dagohoy Masonic Lodge No. 84 
and Order of Demolay. Leo Udtohan
The Pamilacan-Panglao swim was his 7th marathon swim in Bohol seas including the October 2013 Balicasag Swim, the 15-km Pamilacan-to-Baclayon swim in January 2015, the 16-km Bohol-to-Cebu swim in June 2016, the 17-km Bohol-to-Maasin City swim in November 2016, the 13-km Calape-to-Loon swim in May 2017, and the 18-km Cebu-to-Bohol swim in June 2017.

Macarine said that the swim was also a part of his preparation for his last and final attempt to conquer the English Channel, a swimming route considered as the “Mt. Everest” for open-water swimming in August 2018.

Last August, Macarine was stopped in his bid to complete crossing the English Channel due to bad weather.

After the successful swim, a buffet lunch was served for Macarine and support crew at Alona Tropical Beach Resort courtesy of Panglao Mayor Leonila Paredes-Montero.


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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Bohol fans remember Isabel Granada


Scene:  Angelica Panganiban and John Prats were spotted in Bohol last Friday, Nov. 10. They visited Bohol to shoot some scenes for ABS-CBN’s “Banana Sundae,” which will be aired on Nov. 19, after ASAP.  Panganiban and Prats were mobbed by fans as they visited the Loboc River, Panglao, Chocolate Hills and Sevilla Hanging Bridge.

Scene:  Environmental lawyer and triathlete Ingemar “Pinoy Aqumana” Macarine will attempt to swim from Pamilacan Island, Baclayon to Alona Beach in Panglao Island on Sunday, Nov. 12. This solo and unassisted swim which will promote clean seas and beaches is sponsored by the municipality of Panglao thru Mayor Nila Paredes-Montero and supported by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines -Bohol Chapter led by lawyer Warren Yap and Dagohoy Freemason Lodge No. 84 led by Worshipful Master lawyer Lord Cocot Marapao.  The 15-km swim will start at 5 a.m.  “This is part of my preparation for my last and final attempt to conquer the 21-Mile English Channel in August 2018,” said Macarine.

Scene:  “The Rise of the AMERICAN BULL-ANONS Invitational Show 2017”  on Sunday, Nov. 12 at the Bohol Wisdom Gymnasium. This event intends to unite dog lovers and enthusiasts in the province.  It is organized by Bol-anon Pitbulleros and Metropolitan Pitbull and Bully Club which committed to promote animal welfare and responsible pet ownership.

Friends and fans of singer- actress Isabel Granada were saddened of her death after she succumbed to brain hemorrhage due to aneurysm, a localized weakening of a blood vessel, in Qatar.  She was 41.

Fiel Angeli Araoarao-Gabin (extreme right) and her
sister Ann Claire Araoarao-Young come to see Isabel Granada
and her love team Rueben Manahan in 1992, the singer- actress’
 first visit to Bohol.

Her fans in Bohol remembered the singer-actress who visited Bohol thrice.

Fiel Angeli Araoarao-Gabin, 47, a fan of Granada, recalled that her first visit to Bohol was in July 1992 when she was invited to perform for the Sandugo Festival.

She was with her love team Rueben Manahan.  Her parents- Isabel Villarama, aka Mommy Guapa, and the late Huberto Granada accompanied her.

 “She was so sweet in person, buotan siya sa akong first impression,” said Gabin who came along with her sister Ann Claire Araoarao–Young to have photo ops with the singer-actress.

 “She had a strong Spanish features and long curly eyelashes,” recalled Gabin.

In 2015, Granada came back to Bohol for a holiday. Tessie Labunog-Sumampong said Granada was so accommodating to her fans when she had lunch at Cuisina ni Tisay in Carmen town in 2015.

She said her smile was infectious.

As the first Ever Bilena model, Granada came to Bohol to attend the event of Ever Bilena Cosmetics in 2016, according to Gabriel Medel, Ever Bilena-Tagbilaran manager.

Isabel Granada’s fans will never forget the singer-actress
who was admired both for her beauty and talent. (Clockwise)
Isabel Granada in Bohol with Gabriel Medel of Ever Bilena-Tagbilaran,
 Libby and Tessie Labunog-Sumampong of Cuisina ni Tisay
 and Engr. Jerome John Gabin of Department of
Trade and Industry-Bohol. Contributed Photos 
The cause of Granada’s death instantly brought public attention to the dangers of brain aneurysm.

Gabin, a Miss Tagbilaran 1987, hopes that Granada’s death could raise public awareness of aneurysm as well as funding for additional research.

“It’s shocking for people because we have our misconception that only those obsessed people are prone to this, but even those health-conscious people could die unexpectedly because of this,” said Gabin.

“There are diseases which could cause instant death even those who looked seemingly health or healthy buffs,” she added.

Granada rose to fame as part of the late ‘80s variety show That’s Entertainment hosted by the late German Moreno and had been visible in TV shows and movies.

Ultimate frisbee teams compete in
championship tournament in Bohol

Beryl Elizabeth Lupot on the successful 6th TARSIER ULTIMATE 2017:

Twenty four seasoned Ultimate Frisbee teams from all over Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao competed in the 6th TARSIER ULTIMATE 2017 which was held last Oct. 27-29.

Team Mohawks from Bohol  Contributed Photo
Last year’s champion, Mohawks Ultimate together with the other four teams from Bohol - Tarsier Ultimate, Mercenaries, Patapak Ultimate Doggs and the youngest Gladiators also participated in the event.

The Boholano players did not disappoint as they showcased their ultimate skills and gave the visiting teams a good run for their money, playing head to head with other great athletes with some of them from the national team.

The annual tournament is hosted every semestral break here in Bohol at the CPG Sports Complex Tagbilaran City and is looked forward to by everyone in the Philippine Ultimate Frisbee Community. This year has been the biggest so far with over 500 players participating in the 3-day tournament.

After the intense games, the participants were in for a treat when the awarding was held at the famous Alona Beach, side trips to the Chocolate Hills, Bilar Manmade forest, Alexis Cliff dive and other attractions where also part of the itinerary.

The players did not only come to Bohol for the games but also to see its world-famous beauty.

3 Duterte secretaries test New Bohol International Airport

A test flight has been carried out by three secretaries of the Duterte administration to evaluate the function of the New Bohol International Airport on the tourist-island last Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Secretaries Arthur Tugade of Transportation (DOTr), Ernesto Pernia of National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) and Leoncio Evasco took a private aircraft from Manila and landed safely at the Bohol International Airport at 10:05 a.m. on Panglao Island at least 18 km from the capital city of Tagbilaran.

After the coverage of the successful test flight at the
New Bohol International Airport, a lunch at Giuseppe Pizzeria
 and Silican Roast Italian Restaurant in Tawala, Panglao town
hosted by Bohol Tri-Media President and Loay Municipal
Councilor Engr. Tibss Bullecer.  With Bullecer are
Dave Responte (dyTR), Rey Tutas (dyRD) and your VRS

The aircraft flew back to Manila on Tuesday afternoon.

Tugade said they planned to start operations at the P7.8-billion facility in June 2018 .

“However, it will be commercially operational in August 2018,” said Tugade.

Once it becomes operational, the Tagbilaran Airport, the 11th busiest airport in the country, will immediately be closed.

Tugade said the test flight had successfully proven that the new airport met the standards for civil aviation.

He said the airport, which can accommodate large aircrafts for international flights, will be ready by August next year with day flights of international standard.

Other buildings now being constructed under the current project phase are the terminal building, control tower, administration building, fire station and ancillary buildings.

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

Sunday, November 5, 2017

CPG is the real ‘lodi’

For Adrian Clark Bandija delivering a poem on Saturday’s event was an “honor and privilege. “

Bandija delivered the poem, “Dalagang Pilipinhon” (Young Filipina/Filipina Maiden) during the 121st birth anniversary of the late Pres. Carlos Polestico Garcia held at the Bohol Cultural Center.

For his impressive rendition of “Dalagang Pilipinhon,”
immortalized by the late Pres. Carlos P. Garcia, Adrian Clark Bandija
wins in “Indigay sa Balak” Junior category.  Photo by Leo Udtohan
Garcia, who hailed from Talibon town, became the eighth president of the Philippines.

Bandija, 17, a student of Dr. Cecilio Putong National Hugh School, was the winner of “Indigay sa Balak” (Poetry Contest), one of the highlights of this year’s CPG Day. Other highlights include chess tournament and the opening of Cafe Caloy Coffee Shop.

Bandija said he memorized “Dalagang Pilipinhon” in just a week after he was told he would join the poetry contest held on Friday.

Garcia was known for his eloquence in writing and delivering balak (poems) during his time and earned the nickname as “Prince of Visayan Poets.”

In “Indigay sa Balak,” the contestants were given a contest piece, the “Dalagang Pilipinhon,” written by Garcia for the junior category.

Rogelio Pangiligan Jr  who wins in “Indigay sa Balak”
open category and as mambabalak (poet) with the board of judges
 Dr. Jes B. Tirol, Prof. Marianito Luspo and Mike Ligalig.
 Photo by Leo Udtohan 
On the other hand, for the open category, the contestant wrote his or her own piece in Visayan and must adhere to the topic about “makinasudnon” (patriotism).

11 participants have joined the “Indigay sa Balak” including  Bandija who captured the ethos of our times in verse. He was declared winner with P5,000 and trophy.

Rogelio Pangiligan Jr, 64, won against six other competitors for his graceful and impressive delivery of his poem “Padayon Kaliwat Bol-anon” for the open category. He received P5,000 and trophy.  He also won as magbabalak (poet) which he received another P5,000.

Pangiligan said he started writing Visayan poems when he was 51.

CPG is regarded as one of the greatest presidents. But what lessons does his life 121 years ago have for today's youth?

Reading a biography of CPG can give valuable life lessons for the younger generation of any era.

“President Carlos P. Garcia led with his heart, as well as his mind. That’s why he is a good example of leadership for today’s youth.  He is the real lodi (idol),” said Bandija.

Bandija said few millennials have shown interest in Visayan poems.

The contestants, trainers and coaches of this
year’s “Indigay sa Balak.” Photo by Leo Udtohan 
“I hope the contest will encourage young people to cultivate the arts of public speaking, debate and poetry in the vernacular kay karun nawala na halos,” he added.


Prof. Marianito Jose Luspo on CPG: 

Carlos Polestico Garcia was 4 years old when the Americans came and made the Philippine Islands a colony. He was therefore schooled under the American colonial system. Not surprisingly, like most of his contemporaries, CPG cultivated all his life a close regard for America. Still, CPG never lost his sense of patriotism. More importantly he became imbued with a strong sense of nationalism, that is, the attitude of putting his country's welfare over and above other countries'.

CPG's nationalism became more evident after the war. In the early 1950s, in the debates that culminated with the signing of the Laurel-Langley Agreement, CPG stood firmly alongside the brave few who agitated against granting Parity Rights to Americans under the Republic, as well as against allowing the operation of American military bases in the country, a stance that earned for CPG the enduring hostility and distrust of American politicians. 

Now it may be argued that CPG's nationalistic stance was merely in pursuance of the Nacionalista's opposition to the programs of the then ruling Liberal Party. But when he became President upon the untimely death of President Magsaysay in 1957, he distinguished his administration by continuing to pursue nationalist policies. 

Thus, in 1958, the Garcia administration succeeded in hitching the Bohlen- Serrano Agreement, an accord that reduced the stay of the US bases from the original 99 to a mere 25 years. It was also during CPG's term that the Bayanihan Dance Troupe first earned both international adulation as well as the sense of pride and appreciation by Filipinos in our local folk dances. This happened after government lent full support to Bayanihan's desire to perform at the 1958 World Expo then held in Belgium Also around this time, the Philippine government successfully negotiated with the US government for the return of documents seized by American troops during the Philippine-American War - the so-called Philippine Insurgent Records(PIR) , the magnetic lode of so many researchers who want to know more about our nation's historical past. 

But perhaps the greatest proof to CPG' commitment to nationalistic values is found in his Filipino First Policy, the definitive program that distinguished the Garcia Administration, outlining programs of governance aimed at putting the Filipino ahead of others in the economic, business and social fields of endeavors.

Recently, I have been asked why is it that CPG never became popular among our people( no Garcia portrait in Philippine currencies, no major Manila thoroughfare named in his honor, etc.), both before and even now among millennials, especially the Boholano kind. Perhaps one reason is that Nationalism during the time of Garcia had never been popular at that time. 

We have to admit that from the 1950's to well into our time, Filipinos have been notorious for the so -called "Stateside" mentality. 

How do you think Garcia's nationalistic policies be received by the PX generation? 

On the other hand, how would our present- day generation living under this prevailing climate called Globalization appreciate the rhetoric of Filipino First? In other words, the CPG legacy is saddled by the misfortune of having occurred at the wrong historical place and time, a beautiful song sung amidst the noise of adverse realities. 

Still today, we continue to remember his birthday not just because he happened to be one of ours, but also because this " one of ours", the Lone Blue Star in the Bohol flag, once gave our people a dream and a greater vision of ourselves as Boholanos, as Filipinos.

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