Friday, February 22, 2019

Volunteers clean Bohol Rivers

Over 2,000 volunteers beat the sunrise on Friday morning, February 22, to participate in the clean-up drive at the Abatan River as part of the simultaneous river clean-up in 10 rivers in Central Visayas.

Volunteers helped clean litter and debris at various river
 and stream sites in Bohol province on Friday, Feb. 22
as part of Department of Environment and Natural Resources
\(DENR)’s Simultaneous River Clean-Up Drive in Central Visayas.
Photo by Leo Udtohan

Among the volunteers were students of Bohol Island University (BISU) and employees of the Alturas Group of Companies who came to respond to the call of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Central Visayas (DENR-7) for volunteers.

They helped clean litter and debris in Abatan River in Cortes town, Inabanga River in Inabanga town and  Manaba River in Garcia Hernandez.

Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Charlie Fabre said the activity was in line with the “RIVERs for Life” Program of DENR.

Fabre said the rivers and streams in Bohol are already Type B and C rivers which indicates that these rivers are no longer safe for drinking or bathing.
“This is a great event because everybody cares about cleaning up trash, everybody cares about cleaning up the rivers,” said Emmie Roslinda of PROCESS (Participatory Research, Organization of Communities and Education towards Struggle for Self-Reliance).

Roslinda added the event was to show the community the importance of rivers in Bohol.

“It’s a good time for a good cause,” said Guy Bernaldez from the Alturas Group of Companies with other 61 volunteers from the company.

Using a kayak to clean the Bacong River headwaters in Cortes town
in Bohol province on Friday, volunteer Rey Anthony Chiu of the
Philippine Information Agency (PIA)-Bohol collected plastic bottles
and bags, discarded nets, assorted cellophane wrappers, rubber slippers
and Styrofoam food packs. Friday’s activity was part of the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
simultaneous river clean-up drive in Central Visayas. Photo by Leo Udtohan

Rivers in Bohol--Abatan River in Cortes and Maribojoc towns, Loay River in Loay town  and Loboc River in Loboc town --are famous attractions in Bohol. These serve as the habitat of fireflies and highlight the life of the Boholanos.  

Although rivers and streams in Bohol are still-healthy compared to other provinces, volunteers still scraped tons of trash.

“Plastic bottles and bags, discarded nets, assorted  cellophane wrappers, rubber slippers and Styrofoam food packs, that’s most of what we find,” said Rey Anthony Chiu of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) along with other volunteers who used kayaks to collect garbage at streams.

The country is facing a major environmental problem which may result in unhealthy living conditions, according to Fabre.

He admitted that a number of rivers in the country were biologically dead, destroyed by fecal coliform.

He is encouraging the public to take a ‘bold’ step in protecting the rivers and join the movement to save them.

“Every month activity na ito. Yung sustainability dapat mag-start not for DENR but to start from within sa mga tao sa Bohol,” he said. “Dapat gawing normal activity para walang basura na papunta sa river o walang waste na papunta doon sa river para sigurado na malinis yung tubig natin.”

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Karen Gallman to come home on Feb. 28

If plans push through, our very first Miss Intercontinental 2018 Karen Gallman will be coming home on Feb. 28.

The event organizers have not yet provided her detailed schedule, according to VRS, a beauty pageant fanatic.  

Miss Intercontinental 2018 Karen Gallman will be
coming home on Feb. 28. Photo courtesy: Karen Gallman IG
She is set to arrive in Bohol province on Feb. 28 (Thursday) at 9 a.m., followed with a brief press conference in the airport.

Feb. 28 will be a very busy day for the beauty queen as she is expected to pay a courtesy call to Tagbilaran City Mayor Baba Yap at the city hall. She will also pay a courtesy call to Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto at the Mansion before rounding out the day with her homecoming parade.

Her grand homecoming parade will take the route from the Mansion to the city plaza. The parade will start at 1 p.m.

After Tagbilaran City, Karen will proceed to Ubay town where a lot of people are expected to see Miss Intercontinental better than at the parade.  In Ubay, Karen will meet the town officials lead by Mayor Constantino Reyes and members of the Rotary Club of Ubay.

“We are praying it will push through,” said VRS, who also relayed the info that Ubay tourism officer Antonette Acedo  and former Miss Bohol Vanessa Cadorna-Aumentado are busy preparing for Karen’s homecoming.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

How to have a happy life

In this topsyturvy world, one should expect the unexpected. This was what this young businessman learned when he and his partners decide to expand their business. The (globetrotter) VRS said that after doing some pencil-pushing, this businessman totalled his losses to millions.

“Sheer talent is not enough to “stay alive” in business,” shared VRS.

VRS also said that this businessman is very lonely now inside his house.

“A big house or a new car won't actually make you happier; it's the simple joys in life that bring true happiness,” said VRS.

Bohol’s “Kilay Doctor” Karla Tirol Magno shares the 10 simple
ways to start living a happier life.  Contributed Photos
How do we find more joy in our life? Like anything else, it takes practice to cultivate ongoing happiness.

Incidentally, someone shared to me “How to have a happy life” which I learned was originally posted by Bohol’s “Kilay Doctor” Karla Tirol Magno, founder and CEO of Brow Clinic & Beauty Lounge, located at The Alley along J.A. Clarin Street in this city.   

Karla’s mom, the former Internet Princess Leah Tirol (who is running for board member for Bohol’s first district), also shared that by appreciating the things that we already have we will begin to feel happier in our lives.

“Always be thankful,” said Leah.

She also said that sometimes after we've achieved our own personal goals, we still feel empty inside because we haven't made a meaningful contribution to someone else's life.

“When we help others, it feels good to just be of service to someone else. The impact we make feels fulfilling and is a big potential source for our own happiness,” Leah added.

Being happy won't happen overnight. But here are the top 10 things you can do every day to discover the secrets of being happier.

1. Care less about what people say. No matter what you do , people have something to say. Whether you do good or bad, they will have opinions about you. Ignore whatever negativity that they are trying to inject on you.

2. Choose your battles. Not all battles are worth your attention. Not everything is worth your time. If you know the better truth, you have nothing to explain.

3. Think positively. Look at the brighter side of everything. Everything will fall in its perfect places.

4. Believe in yourself. Believe in your capabilities. Believe that you can do great things in life.

5. Never compare your progress with anyone. You have your own journey to take. You have different struggles. You will have your time soon.

6. Do not pressure yourself too much. Success takes time. It takes efforts. It takes hard work and commitment.

7. Do not forget to smile. No matter how tough the journey gets, keep on smiling. You do not own all of the problems in the world.

8. Embrace your flaws and imperfections. Accept your past. Correct your mistakes and learn from them.

9. Love yourself. One of the best kinds of love is self-love. You will never go wrong with it. It takes maturity to be on that level. It takes acceptance. It takes being strong.

10. Do good to other people and good karma will happen. Spread kindness. Forgive people. Life is too short to dwell on hatred. Be a catalyst for change.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

46 couples tie knot at mass wedding

Fifty-three-year-old Ernie Dominguez and his  60-year-old partner Roberta Bagayas of Barangay Tiptip in this city were the oldest among the 46 couples who tied the knot in the mass wedding at the city hall atrium here on Thursday, Feb. 14.

 Some 46 couples have exchanged vows on Valentine’s Day in “Kasalan sa Tagbilaran,” a mass wedding in Tagbilaran City, Bohol on Thursday, Feb. 14. Photo courtesy: Dave Responte

The “Kasalan sa Tagbilaran sa Valentine’s Day,” a mass wedding officiated by Mayor John Geesnell Yap II, had 40 couples tying the knot on Thursday morning, while six couples sealed their “I Do’s” in the afternoon.

Many of the couples were living together out of wedlock.  Some who tied have several children already.

For the couples, the mass wedding was a dream come true since most of them could not afford an expensive wedding ceremony and reception.

Chris John Torralba, chief of City General Services Office, said the city government allotted a budget for the bouquet, food, cake, wine, and gifts.

It also transformed the city hall’s atrium into a beautiful wedding venue and reception adorned with fresh flowers.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Super Snow Moon visible in Bohol

TAGBILARAN CITY- Some residents here gathered to watch the rise of February’s full moon, the largest and brightest supermoon of 2019.

The full moon — also dubbed the “Super Snow Moon” is the second of three supermoon events in the first three months of the year.

A supermoon happens when a full moon or a new moon when the moon is at its closest to Earth.

The Super Snow Moon was seen visibly in the skies
in Bohol province on Tuesday night, Feb. 19, 2019.  Photo by Leo Udtohan 
Cousins Winzel and Cedrick Olorvida urged their other cousins to look at the skies on Tuesday night.

They used a telescope to get a closer view, as their aunt Sharia cuddled seven-month-old baby Leann see the full moon.

“It was amazing,” said 7-year-old Cedrick, a second grade pupil who is interested in astronomy.

“The moon appeared larger and brighter than the ordinary full moon,” said 10-year-old Wenzel, a fifth grader.
Cedrick and Wenzel both go to the Booy South Elementary School in this city.

According to the “Old Farmer’s Almanac” published in 1792, the February moon was called Snow Moon moniker “due to the typically heavy snowfall of February.”

February’s moon has also been called the “Bone Moon” or “Hunger Moon” due to the lack of food available in the winter, added “Old Farmer’s Almanac,” a reference book containing weather forecasts, planting charts, astronomical data, recipes, and articles.

It was not only sky watchers, particularly selenophiles, that were attracted to the Snow Moon.

There were also the local witches and other occult practitioners who did their own thing.

In Lila town in Bohol, Eduard Guyano laid his crystals on the surface outside his house in Barangay Poblacion to cleanse them.

Guyano uses crystals for crystal therapy, an alternative medicine technique. It’s believed that crystals and stones can cure ailments.

A psychic healer identified only as Snow Owl, who lives in Barangay Ponong in Siquijor town in Siquijor, said the supermoon would be the best time to cleanse and renew the energy.

Snow Owl said that while Snow Moon wasn’t the extravagant astronomical spectacle that January’s “Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse” was, it was larger and brighter, and it definitely commanded attention to the sky.

“But the moon energy is still potent and powerful,” said Snow Owl, who’s waiting for the seven Fridays before the Holy Week in April for the annual “tang-alap,” or “the gathering of herbs.”

Lady Helen was also meditating in her home in Barangay Booy in Tagbilaran while the moon rose past 6 p.m.

She said the since Tuesday’s phenomenon was rare, she prayed for peace in her province during the May 2019 elections.

She also said the supermoon was also a good time to cast good energy for prosperity and love.

There will be another supermoon March 20, hours after the spring equinox, according to, giving 2019 a total of three supermoons.

In any given year, between two and four full moons could be classified as supermoons.

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Monday, February 4, 2019

Grand homecoming awaits Miss Intercontinental Karen Gallman

A grand welcome fit for a queen awaits Karen Gallman when she arrives anytime soon in the province for her official homecoming as Miss Intercontinental.

Gallman won the first Miss Intercontinental crown for the country held in Manila last Saturday, Jan. 26 with her intelligence and her gown inspired by Balilihan’s majestic Camugao falls.   

Bohol native Karen Gallman is the first Filipina
 to win the 47th Miss Intercontinental crown
 last Saturday night, Jan. 26.
 Photo courtesy: Karen Gallman Facebook
This was relayed to VRS by sources until Gallman is no longer busy with her series of television appearances and interviews.

Gallman will be coming from Manila, which is her home during her one-year reign.

Her last homecoming in April last year after winning the Bb. Pilipinas-Intercontinental 2018 was sponsored by Bohol 2nd District Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado, a relative of Gallman.

 Gallman’s home province of Bohol is proud of her, its Congress representative said, crediting her birthplace in Ubay town as a factor in her victory in this year's Miss Intercontinental pageant. 

 “My family, the entire Ubay community and the Boholanos are very proud of what our very own Karen Gallman has achieved. The first Filipina and the first Boholana to win, ever, the Miss Intercontinental pageant,” Aumentado said in a statement.

“Karen, as we fondly call her is the same Karen who grew up in Ubay. She has remained simple yet determined. An empowered woman. This serves as a challenge to Boholanas who participate in international pageants in the future. We have the chance to win any contest if we have the determination to win,” he said.

Aumentado said that they understand that Gallman’s schedule would be busy from now on.

But he said that he would invite Gallman for her homecoming to give her a hero’s welcome and a motorcade around  Ubay,  and if possible, the whole province.

“The most beautiful woman in all continents” 
Karen Gallman with Bohol 2nd district Rep. Erico Aristotle 
Aumentado and wife Vanessa (Miss Bohol 2001) 
who sponsored her homecoming in April last year.   
Photo by Leo Udtohan
“This title is a gift to all Boholanos because Boholanos are really simple yet strong,” he said.

Many Boholanos including those overseas were ecstatic about her win.

“B for Bohol, B for Beauty, B-Hold Bohol,” Pete Cabalit, an international cruise ship crew, posted on Facebook.

“I can't help admiring her beauty. She certainly exudes both charm and inner strength that she has seemed to have polished over the years,” said Miss Tagbilaran 1987 Fiel Angeli Araoarao-Gabin.

Bishop Abet Uy of the Diocese of Tagbilaran shared the news on Gallman’s winning on Facebook. He even used the hashtag #proudlyboholano.

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

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, in her past interview with your VRS during her homecoming last year.

Gallman shared she had a happy childhood memories in Barangay Bood where she grew up with her seven siblings.  Her best memorable experience in Ubay was when she fell from a mansanitas (Ziziphus jujube) tree.

“It’s the best. I had the best childhood memories. And I have Bohol to thank for that- the surrounding, the environment and the people,” she said.

Your VRS with Miss Intercontinental
Karen Gallman.
She said she likes ginamos (salted and fermented fish) and dried fish.   

“Gianad mi sa among mama,” she proudly said.  

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 mother Editha trained them to speak the Visayan language and embrace the Boholano way even if they were living in Brisbane, Australia.

Gallman speaks Cebuano so confidently and fluently without a foreign accent and even proudly calls herself "Bisdak" (Bisayang Daku)- which makes her all the more endearing to many Boholanos.

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

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