Sunday, April 22, 2018

Bb. Pilipinas-Intercontinental Karen Gallman gets warm welcome in Bohol homecoming

Whether catwalking or simply talking, Bb. Pilipinas-Intercontinental 2018 Karen Gallman has a magical way of charming and endearing herself to people, so down-to-earth, and thus grounded, that you want to hug her.

I experienced it myself Wednesday (April 18) last week in her first trip to the province after winning the national title in March where your VRS, including Allen Doydora (dyRD), Dave Responte (dyTR) and Helen Castaño (who was the instant “sash and crown bearer”), accompanied her during her Bohol homecoming.

When she was approaching the group of well-wishers, it was noticeable that she was much lovelier in person.

Our admiration strengthened when she spoke to us in her thick Bisaya accent.

Karen was elated by the warm welcome. She sported a big a smile and thanked Bohol 2nd District Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado and his wife Vanessa (who arranged her homecoming),  Aumentado’s chief of staff Boy Pernia, and some fans in greeting the Boholano beauty queen.

“I always look forward to visit Bohol. It’s home for me,” said the 25-year-old beauty queen.

Vanessa, a Miss Bohol 2001, revealed that she was a great fan of Karen since she joined the Bb. Pilipinas 2012.

“Thank you for making us proud,” Vanessa told her. “I am a fan of yours,” she added.
Bb. Pilipinas-Intercontinental 2018 Karen Gallman 
visited Panglao Island on Wednesday, April 18, to
 see the stretch of powdered white sandy beaches
 of the island which is now facing environmental issues.  
Photo by Helen Castaño

“I am so thankful, salamat kaayo sa inyong warm welcome nga gihatag ninyo nako (I am deeply grateful to all of you for the warm welcome you gave me), she said.

Asked if she could still speak in Binisaya, she snappily answered “Yes” and said “Kamao man gihapun ko mag-Binisaya (I can still speak Bisaya).”

What' is so impressive about her is the fact that she has never forgotten her mother tongue and in fact, speaks Cebuano so confidently and fluently without a foreign accent and even proudly calls herself "Bisdak" - which makes her all the more endearing to many Boholanos.

Police Officer Melinda Mendez-Basalo who escorted her as she stepped down a commercial plane and walked down the terminal ramp at the Tagbilaran airport shared, “I talked to her in Tagalog when I welcomed and congratulated her and she answered me in Bisaya I forgot she is a Bisaya man diay, such an attitude.... love her so much..”

Miss Tagbilaran 1987 Fiel Angeli Arao-arao-Gabin said: “I can't help admiring her beauty. During her first attempt in the Binibining Pilipinas pageant 6 years ago, she looked so naively charming in her photos and on television, but seeing her in the flesh this time, she certainly exudes both charm and inner strength that she has seemed to have polished over the years, prior to her recent BP Intercontinental 2018 victory, an honor that Boholanos here and abroad are so excited about.”

Karen went to KissFM for an interview with the bubbly Inday Rufing.  After the interview, she met Bishop Alberto Uy and Bishop Emeritus Leonardo Medroso of the Diocese of Tagbilaran and some priests at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary before she proceeded to Panglao Island.

Crown jewel

Karen Gallman with Bohol Rep. Erico Aristotle
 Aumentado and wife Miss Bohol Sandugo 
2001 Vanessa Cadorna – Aumentado.  Leo Udtohan
In Panglao, Karen spent time to appreciate the beauty of the place known for its miles of powdery white sandy beaches.  She was bothered of the environmental issues the island resort was facing.

“I went here last year and it was beautiful. And I didn’t see the problem,” said Karen who wants the island resort protected to prevent further environmental degradation.

“Of course, it such as beautiful place. And it will be so sad to see go to ruins. So, we should definitely do our best to preserve it and look after it. We need really to take care of Panglao so that it  doesn’t go to ruins,” she said.

Panglao Island, considered crown jewel of Bohol’s tourism, is composed of the towns of Panglao and Dauis.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) earlier identified the lack of waste water treatment facility and “bottomless” septic tanks as among the problems contributing to the environmental woes of the island.

The latest report of Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), an attached agency of DENR, said that the fecal coliform on Panglao Island was above average.

On the other hand, Karen was in favor of closing Boracay Island for rehabilitation.

“I am for the closure of Boracay just to rehabilitate so that at least ma-enjoy natin sa future so i-close natin ngayon. it’s so sad for the jobs , the Filipinos based there and tourists have no income for them.  If it is happening in Panglao, we should do our best to preserve it. This is not acceptable. We should not go it to ruins,” she said.

Warm welcome
While travelling to Ubay, Karen was sharing some stories about her Bb. Pilipinas journey. She even told your VRS  the place where she spent her childhood. She was also quick to point Bood Elem. School where she spent her Grades 1 and 2.

In Ubay town, at least 124 km from Tagbilaran City, she was welcomed by the departments heads and local officials headed by Mayor Constantino Reyes and his wife Councilor Violy and members of the Rotary Club of Ubay.

Karen joined a motorcade through the main streets of the town.
Hundreds of fans including local officials warmly 
welcomed  Bb.Pilipinas-Intercontinental 2018 
Karen Gallman, a native of Ubay, in her Bohol 
homecoming. Leo Udtohan

Holding welcome banners, some fans went wild with Karen’s acknowledgment of their presence along the street.  Some residents lined up the streets chanting “Karen, Karen,” as she waved and greet them.

Some of them came from far-flung barangays to have a first glimpse of the homecoming queen. One of them even sashayed as Bb. Pilipinas-Intercontinental.

Karen also visited the Bohol Dairy at the Philippine Carabao Center and Ubay Stock Farm in Barangay Lomangog to taste their newly launched products--- Chocobao Drinks, Caramilk Ice Cream, chocolate and candies, cakes and pastries, Cheese and Yogurt, CaraCalamay, and Caramilk-infused dishes---locally made by locals.

Karen was born in Barangay Fatima in Ubay town on September 27, 1992 to Gavin William Gallman, a retired Australian soldier, and Ubay native Editha Bayonas.

She spent her childhood days at Barangay Bood before she migrated to Australia at age 8.

 “So, I was basically born and raised in Bohol jud,” said Karen who was crowned Miss Ubay 2007.

Karen shared she had a happy childhood memories in Barangay Bood where she grew up.  Her best memorable experience in Ubay was when she fell from mansanitas tree. She said she likes ginamos (salted and fermented fish) and dried fish.  

She first joined Binibining Pilipinas in 2012 at the age of 19 and made it to the top 12 of the national beauty pageant and was also named Miss Photogenic of the batch.

Before trying her luck again in Bb Pilipinas 2018, she worked as an operations analyst in a company in London for two years.

In the Bb. Pilipinas 2018, Karen received flak for her Q&A response when asked about her thoughts on building a third restroom for transgenders.  She explained, “I love the LGBT community.”

She said  her 60-year old mother Editha trained them to speak Bisaya and embrace the Boholano way even if they were living in Brisbane, Australia.

Editha said her daughter is “independent, buotan nga anak (a good daughter)” whose big dream was to become a beauty queen.

Next month, she will begin her training for the Miss Intercontinental 2018 pageant to be held in December.

 “I haven’t started preparing yet but I think next month I will start. I will be back to the gym. I will have training on catwalk, QnA, public speaking and make-up. I think it will help me towards the international crown,” she said.

“I will do my best. Let’s pray that I will do bring the crown and make Bohol proud again. If ever I will win it will history, the first Filipina to win the crown,” Karen said.

Loon’s ‘Coral Garden’

The town of Loon has plenty of other intriguing attractions to offer to its visitors. Very recently, people visit the town to see the “Coral Garden” in Barangay Tangnan which offers new exhilarating experience.

The ‘Coral Garden’ in Loon town is 
the newest natural attraction in the province. 
The red orange color which gives a panoramic view are not because of corals but of the sun-loving purslane (ulasiman or ngalog) wild plants which naturally grow in the area, declared as geological monument, after the 2013 earthquake.

But according to cultural and tourism worker Reigh Monreal, the plant which gives red-tinted shoreline is not a purslane but a blutaparon. Locals called the perennial herbs as bilang” (Blutaparon portulacoides) of the Amaranthaceae family.  It looks like Portulaca (ulasiman or pigweed species).

He said that the name “Coral Garden” was first used by a blogger who missed to visit the “Loon Coral Gardens” in Barangay Song-on where exposed corals are found.

The Municipal Tourism Office called that colorful place in Tangnan as the “Loon Beach Prairie.”

How to go there?  Upon entering Barangay Tangnan, stop at "Kennethman" signage. Inquire how to go down the site.

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