Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018 year in review: Stories that moved us

After another eventful year, VRS revisits the stories that moved us – the big news and the moments we can't stop talking about.


Nature is mysterious and unpredictable, and often leaves us open-mouthed at the inexplicable manifestations of its power.

Last Jan. 31, stargazers, occultists and Wicca followers witnessed the rare triple moon phenomenon - the “super blue blood moon.”

The “super blue blood moon” was the first time that a blue moon (two moons within the same month), a super moon (a full moon that comes as close to the earth as it can in its orbit), and a lunar eclipse (also known as a blood moon) happened simultaneously after 150 years.

Edward Guyano, a media personality, was waiting for the rare celestial event that graced the skies. He gathered his crystals and other gems for cleansing, blessing and renewal of power since many occultists considered the phenomenon a night of compounded lunar activity. 

In Ubay town, residents were treated to a rare phenomenon o May 16 when the sun appeared surrounded by a halo of light.

The rare solar halo circling the sun has a natural explanation: It is formed due to high clouds.  Scientists call it the halo because it has an approximate radius of 22 degrees from the sun.

Residents of Pilar town were surprised at a hailstorm last August 24. Witnesses said it lasted for only about five minutes. The residents were surprised of the hail, the size of a corn kernel.

It was the second time that a hailstorm had occurred in the town. The first hailstone happened in March 1964. 

Nature humbled us. On Feb. 13, Typhoon “Basyang” also flooded several houses in Duero and Guindulman towns.  The flood and mud also damaged the desks, chairs, teaching materials and student records at the Guinsularan High School and Guinsularan Elementary School (Annex) .

More than 300 people were in Candijay town when the typhoon crossed the province. At least 180 hectares (444.79 acres) of rice have been damaged or destroyed.

The typhoon drenched Tagbilaran City overnight but caused no widespread flooding. The sprawling capital of 105,000 people has been hit hard by floods in some areas because of poor infrastructure and clogged drainage and water canals.

“Basyang” also destroyed some roads and bridges in Guinacot Bridge in Guindulman and Abachanan in Sierra – Bullones town.

Farmers have been complaining of lack of rain that has affected at least 6,000 hectares of rice fields in Bohol, considered the rice bowl of Central Visayas.


For 69-year-old Virgilio Ganade Penticase, it’s never too late to go back to school and take home a diploma.

He was the oldest graduate in the school’s history — a distinction made even more remarkable by his inclusion in the pioneering batch of senior high graduates under the K-12 education reform program.

As he walked across the stage to accept his diploma, everyone cheered.   Others watched through tears as the entire Dr. Cecilio Putong National High School (DCPNHS) Class of 2018 stood to cheer on him.

And even though he would be 70 to start his college in June 2018, he has no plans to stop chasing his dreams.

 “I'm 69 years old. If I could do it, they could do it. All they have to do is keep going and don't give up," he said.  


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

 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.

 Locals called the perennial herbs as “bilang” (Blutaparon portulacoides) of the Amaranthaceae family.  It looks like Portulaca (ulasiman or pigweed species).

“Hugot” lines?  Loon town has many of them.  The “Tajang Pass Causeway and Mangrove Garden Road” on Sandingan Island would also bring flashbacks of failed loves and embittered  “hugot” lines (emotional quotations).

The sadder, the better.  It hurts, you know! The funnier, the best. It melts your heart!

The Loboc Wildlife and Nature Park in Barangay Bonbon Upper houses a little over a hundred species of animals roaming on one-hectare of natural environment in an interior mountain village of Loboc town.


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.
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.

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

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.

Another Boholana, Miss Bohol 2017 Pauline Amelinckx was crowned Mutya ng Pilipinas - Miss Global Beauty Queen  2018. Pauline will be representing Philippines for Miss Global Beauty Queen 2018 which will be held in Seoul, Korea in May 2019.

In the early ’70s, local organizers would comb the entire town for beautiful women of good moral character and entice them to join the search Miss Loboc until it folded in 1990s. In its returned last May, Erika Limbago was crowned Miss Loboc 2018.  Incidentally, Erika’s mother, Cynthia was crowned Miss Loboc many years ago.

We love Miss Bohol, don’t we?

Not everyone was happy for Miss Tagbilaran Raclaire Stephan Trigo who was crowned as Miss Bohol 2018. Instead of the usual cheering, the audience booed the judges' decision, making it known that crowd favorite Miss Maribojoc’s first place wasn't good enough.

Trigo’s winning added to the theory that the Tagbilaran always is favored, a homecourt advantage, and a cooking show.

However,  Trigo kept her poise like a true beauty queen during the coronation despite the boos and chants of "Maribojoc!  Maribojoc!" that drowned out the moment.

The pageant emcees (whose voices were decibels down) and organizers didn’t step in and tell the crowd to calm down and respect the winner as the process was hard and stressful.

People bashed the pageant’s segment, “Walk of Shame,” the most talked in the social media after they have taken to social networking sites to vent out their frustrations

 “Where you can see a beauty pageant which insulted directly or indirectly the candidates by way of announcing first those who did not make it? You have insulted the candidates, their families their supporters and friends. How cruel and rude of you,” former society writer Gisela Mae “Jiji” Apalisok expressed her disgust on the walk of shame.

Others said that the “walk of shame” was rubbing salt to an injury and also an upfront to the towns. It was an idea patterned after reality TV show or an America’s Top Model that Boholanos are not yet ready to embrace a new style.

US-based socialite and beauty pageant expert Mikey Gatal defended the organizers saying there was nothing wrong with the new concept.

Pageant fans also expressed their support for  Trigo, saying she was the real winner in their hearts. 

In the world of modeling, Danica Joy Mahumot, 17, was the first and only Boholana who competed in the “Catwalk Philippines Modelling Competition 2018.”  She was discovered last year while swimming in Caingget Beach.

Acclaimed director Maryo Jarolan delos Reyes—Direk Maryo J to many—had thoughts of retiring in his mother's hometown in Alicia where he owned several pieces of property. But Direk Maryo didn’t make it home. He died on Jan. 27 after suffering a heart attack.

The industry began an outpouring of grief and remembrance immediately after news of his death.  The director’s reputation and generosity evidently touched those across his life.

His critically acclaimed drama films were "Magnifico" (2003) which received the Crystal Bear in the 2004 Berlin International Film Festival, "Naglalayag" (2004) which garnered major awards in the 2004 Manila Film Festival, the box-office hit "A Love Story" (2007) and his last film "The Unmarried Wife" (2016).

Despite the fame and recognition, Direk Maryo remained grounded and level- headed.

“He felt he was really Boholano even though he was born in Manila,”  said Gerry Lugod, close friend of Direk Maryo.

Direk Maryo made an effort to showcase local talents and promote Bohol when he directed movies such as “Nandito Ako,” “Nagmamahal Sa’yo” and “Bamboo Flowers” which were entirely shot in Bohol.

Tributes to former Sevilla Mayor Ceferino Digal began pouring in within minutes following the news of his death last Aug. 9.   His youngest daughter Marie Karen Joy Digal said that it was such a healing gift to be surrounded by  people who love and respect his father.  “Daddy, you were always there when I needed you, and I know you are still with us now. Remember that I will always be ‘Daddy's Little Girl’,” she said.

Buenavista Mayor Ronald Lowell “Sample” Tirol was killed by unknown suspects inside the cockpit arena he owned.

Police are considering politics, business, and personal conflict as possible motives behind the killing of Tirol, 38, a bachelor, and a scion of a political family in Bohol.

The death of multi-awarded sharp-shooting cop SPO1 Adonis De Los Amantes Dumpit shocked the entire region as he was killed in a buy bust operation on June 27 in a joint operation by the Regional Intelligence Division of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)-Bohol.

Ma. Ella Amores, 45, the live-in-partner Dumpit, believed Dumpit was ambushed. But NBI-Bohol head Rennan Augustus Oliva denied Amores’ said it was a legitimate operation that they had monitored Dumpit’s illegal activities.

Oliva  also stressed that the information that Dumpit was a “narco police” first came from the police and not from NBI.

Boholano actress Rich Asuncion and her longtime boyfriend, Filipino-Australian rugby player Benjamin Mudie, tied the knot in Hong Kong last May 28. 

Her family and a few close friends -- Gerry Lugod, former beauty queen and reporter Mayumi Lugod-Ortiz, actress Cathy Remperas, April Recio, Vanessa Ramirez-McLaughlin and Kikoi Busalla –have flown to Hong Kong to witness the union, which took place at the Hong Kong Marriage Registry.

 “It was an intimate, beautiful wedding and Rich looked absolutely stunning in her wedding dress,” said Gerry.

After getting married, the couple had a celebration on a yacht.

Another Boholano actress, former Pinoy Big Brother housemate and GMA star Cathy Remperas, finally tied the knot with her non-showbiz beau Edmar de Luna last Oct.

Before their wedding, the couple flew to Tuscany, Italy for their prenuptial photos and videos. 

 We found ourselves embroiled on Panglao town having two mayors. 

Embattled Panglao Mayor Leonila Paredes-Montero returned to office on Sept. 10 even without a DILG order, triggering a confusion since the town had two mayors. 

Employees were confused when they were confronted by the sight of two officials  attended the weekly flag-raising ceremony.

Tension worsened when the office of Fuertes was cemented by unidentified men to prevent him from reporting. The incident was under investigation by NBI. 

On Oct. 29, Montero, reclaimed her position as town mayor after the Court of Appeals granted her appeal.

Speaking of Panglao,  the island was the next target of President Duterte's marching orders to shut down erring resorts. The DENR said it is suffering from environmental problems because of unregulated development, lax enforcement of laws, and continued surge in tourist arrivals.


 We exercised our rights, voting in the barangay elections.   But we were excited on the filing of the certificates of candidacy COCs.

Clad in a Barong Tagalog and black pants, Santos Amaga Abella, 56, a farmer from Dagohoy town, filed his certificate of candidacy  at the provincial Comelec office.

He said he wanted to run for senator but he didn’t have enough financial resources to go to Manila and file his COC.

But he said his dream to be a senator could wait.

When comedian Roberto Gloria Reyes, popularly known as “Amay Bisaya,” entered the office to file his candidacy, he tickled our fancies and funny bones.

Reyes, 60, and a native of Tubigon town, filed his certificate of candidacy for governor  against  Rep. Arthur Yap of Bohol’s 3rd district and resigned Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr.

“I am more qualified (to be the next governor). You cannot be an actor if you’re crazy,” he said.

Reyes was confident that he would be able to beat Evasco and Yap.

After three decades, the once “airport in the sand” became a reality.

The P7.8-billion Panglao Island International Airport, renamed Bohol Panglao International Airport, was inaugurated last Nov. 27.

The airport would be the country’s first eco-airport to be dubbed “Green Gateway to the World.”

 Tourism makes up 90 percent of Bohol’s industry and tourists are expected to swell with the new airport. 

 Bohol officials consider the new airport an economic landmark and a game changer for the province’s progress.


Then, we ended the year with the news that  PO3 Gifredo Hampac and Reynaldo Felisilda survived two days at sea by thinking of Christmas. They drifted at sea for two days and were rescued by a fisherman in Zamboanga del Norte, about 140 nautical miles from Bohol.
Hampac was hugged tightly by his wife, Anecita upon his arrival in Tagbilaran City, Bohol on Saturday night (Dec. 22), grateful to be alive.

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