Sunday, July 28, 2019

Queenie Melody Fullante says ‘God made all things beautiful’

Miss Bohol Queenie Melody Fullante (right) with Miss Bohol 2017 
Pauline Amelinckx and OJ Cimfranca hosting the Miss Bohol 2019. 
Contributed Photo

“To be Miss Bohol is such a life changing experience but to host the pageant is a whole new level of kilig!  I am sincerely thankful to the Miss Bohol organizers for their trust and confidence in me,” said Queenie Melody Fullante on Facebook.

Melody, who was crowned Miss Bohol 2014, posted photos of her along with her co-hosts-  OJ Cimafranca and Miss Bohol 2017 Pauline Amelinckx-during the Miss Bohol 2019 held last July 20.

Quoting from the Bible, Queenie said, “God has made everything beautiful in its time. -Ecclesiastes 3:11.”

She said the pageant brought a lot of sweet memories.

“Being able to stand on the same stage with the candidates made me appreciate our ladies more, they have aced each round with confidence, class and eloquence - very quintessentials indeed,” said Queenie.

On her Facebook account, Pauline Amelinckx said the pageant brought back a lot of fond memories, being on such a familiar stage.

Pauline, who was crowned Miss Bohol 2017, said the pageant helped her to grow and bloom.

“The journey toward the pageant back in 2017 and all that has happened after because of it has really helped me grow and bloom. The people I was able to meet and the people I got closer to are now irreplaceable and I am thankful for having them in my life now,”   said who was crowned Miss Global Beauty Queen Philippines 2018. 

 She said pageantry is not superficial.

“It’s not. With the right attitude, you can allow any experience to mold you into a better you, if only you are open to self-improvement and personal development,” she said.


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Saturday, July 27, 2019

Bohol crowns its 1st Sandugo Queen

Vanessa Aumentado
Scene: The 4th Koja Festival at Caingget Beach in Barangay Booy  in Tagbilaran City on July 24. “Koja,” a seashell has made the coastal barangay a popular destination.

Seen:  Maria Vanessa Cadorna-Aumentado, the wife of Bohol 2nd district Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado, made it to the Top 50 of GMA News Online SONA 2019’s most fashionable women. She ranked 19 out of 45. Her bronze Filipiniana designed by Boholano couturier EJ Relampagos. Her fabulous bag was customized by Boholana accessory designer Christine Virtucio.

Scene: A mass casualty involving a bomb explosion simulation exercise was held at the CPG Sports Complex, three days before  the Sandugo street-dancing competition. “The simulation exercise was to measure the readiness and capacity of local responders together with the responding agencies,” said Anthony Damalerio, head of PDRRMC.


Mahdison Lucido of Clarin
 town was crowned Sandugo Queen 2019.
Contributed Photo
The unicorn is out of the bag. Pride has covered Bohol in a sea of rainbows as a 24-year-old LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) was crowned first Sandugo Queen at a star-studded pageant that lasted more than three hours at the Bohol Cultural Center Friday night.

Mahdison Lucido from Clarin town beat 14 other hopefuls to win the most coveted crown of the Sandugo Queen.

Angel Lumalaban from Getafe town was crowned Sandugo Queen Tourism,  Jamia Aranuez from Alburquerque town was declared Sandugo Queen Youth Ambassadress 2019, Shay Farra Kawa II from Ubay town was adjudged 1st Princess and Redd Madrigal from Tagbilaran was crowned  2nd Princess.

Sandugo Queen is the first province-wide pageant for gay and transsexual members of the LGBTQAI+ community, a society of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual, aromantic, agender, and intersex individuals, with a “+” for those who are in the process of self discovery, or have more complex identities.

Khim Ryan Laway Magtagad, Sandugo Queen 2019 pageant chairman, said the pageant aims to empower LGBTQAI+  by giving them a platform to express their thoughts and views on inclusion, diversity and equality. It is also a celebration of their unique beauty, wit and talent.

Mahdison said the pageant is a stepping stone towards equality. 

She promised that she will use her title to spread her message of love to those who discriminate LGBTQ’s as their new chief of LGBTQAI+ rights and welfare.

The winners of the first Sandugo Queen.  Contributed Photo


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Friday, July 19, 2019

Proud cousin says ‘Darna’ is a Boholana

Build Build Build media tour
 at the Bohol-Panglao International Airport.
Photos by Ric Obedencio
Scene:  The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Central Visayas is aiming to hit P40 million in sales in the upcoming three-day Sandugo Trade Expo next week in Tagbilaran City.   "This year's activity is dubbed 'Beyond Expectations @ 32' because our target last year was PHP32 million," said regional director Aster Caberte.

Scene: High-quality food that you can afford for a few bucks? Try Fusion Nights on July 21-29 at the CPG Park, New Capitol Building. Residents and visitors have reasons to feast on reasonably priced culinary treats from different restaurants and hotels in Bohol on a fraction of its original menu price during The Fusion Nights.

Scene:  The Bukang Liwayway Dance Troupe (BLDT) is celebrating 40 years.  Founded in 1979 by Wincesa Espejo-Araoarao and with the help of the late cultural worker Oscar Real, BLDT is a folkloric performing
Tubigon Port
group that preserved and promoted Philippine arts and culture and became the training ground for prospective members of other performing groups in Bohol.

Scene: Some members of the Bohol media visited the Bohol-Panglao International Airport, the first eco-airport in the country  and the Tubigon Port last Friday, July 19, for the Build Build Build tour.  They were informed on the updates and latest developments of the airport and port in the province by airport manager Atty. Rafael Tatlonghari and PPA –Bohol manager James Gantalao


“We are the closest cousins she has so far. Another thing that I also love about my cousin is that, she loves children and specially babies. She loves playing and teasing them. I can see that whenever she plays with my son Riley,” Samjones Arisola said proudly of her cousin- Jane De Leon, the new face to take on the task of reintroducing Darna to a new generation.

Businessman and dog lover Samjones Arisola
 with her cousin Jane De Leon, the new  Darna.
Contributed Photo
The announcement of the new “Darna” was creating a buzz online. It further creating a big buzz when netizens shared Jane traced her roots to Bohol.

Her being a ‘Boholana’ was confirmed, well, by businessman Samjones, Jane’s first degree cousin.

His mother, Negminda “Guinguing” Benitez-Arisola, and her mother, Maricor "Hearty" Benitez-De Leon, are siblings who were born and grew up in Barangay Ubujan, Tagbilaran City.

Hearty moved to Manila when she got married to Jane’s father. Jane, fondly called Chynise by her cousins, was born in Quezon City, but she grew up in San Pedro, Laguna City.

Samjones said he and Jane seldom meet since she’s staying in Manila but they bond every time they have the chance to.

He also said Jane is proud lola’s girl.

“She definitely is. They were really close,” he said.

When their late lola Porfiria Saberon- Benitez (of Cawayan, Inabanga town) celebrated her 80th birthday seven years ago, despite her own busy work schedule, she flew to Bohol to be with her.  

Nor does Jane’s Manileña upbringing prevent her from taking her Boholana grandmother’s hand, touching it lightly with her forehead and saying, ‘Mano po lola!”

ABS-CBN star Jane De Leon is the new Darna.
Photo from Jane De Leon’s Official Facebook Fanpage 
Mention Chocolate Hills, Panglao and she reacts, “My hometown! My province!”

Last June, she visited her lola again a week before she passed away.  Devastated, Jane came home for the interment last July.

Before she went back to Manila, she also visited her relatives and toured Bohol’s popular places.
Jane De Leon with Ariel
 Llanos and fans at 717
Cesar Place Hotel in
Tagbilaran last July 2019.
Contributed Photo

“I am very proud of my cuz,” said Samjones who knew she was destined for great things.

Prior to landing the high-profile role, Jane was best known for her supporting part in the hit primetime series "Halik."  She was also part of “La Luna Sangre” and Girltrends of “It’s Showtime.”

ABS-CBN Films’ managing director Olivia Lamasan confirmed that they have unanimously selected the actress who will portray the sought after character of “Darna”.

“We have found a new Darna and she is none other than Jane de Leon!” said Lamasan.

In a report from ABS-CBN, Lamasan shared that 300 celebrities auditioned for the role.

Darna director Jerrold Tarog and even Lamasan described Jane as an instinctive actress.

Jane, 20, is an exclusive talent of Star Magic.

Jane was shocked and excited upon hearing the news but she is surely prepared as the next Darna!

*   *   *
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Monday, July 15, 2019

Businessman killed in early morning ambush in Bohol

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol- A businessman was killed in an ambush by still unidentified assailants shortly after midnight on Monday, July 15, along Benigno Aquino Street in Barangay Booy, this city.

Businessman Ryan Erca Sigue was killed
in Tagbilaran City on Monday, July 15.
Photo by Leo Udtohan
Tagbilaran  City Police identified the victim as Ryan Erca Sigue, 40, a resident of Barangay Bool in Tagbilaran City, who operated a cockpit arena in Dauis town.

Police Lieutenant Rodante Cinchez, acting chief investigator of Tagbilaran Police Station, said police responded about 12:40 a.m. after a passerby called the station about the shooting incident.

He victim sustained gunshot wounds in the head and body.

The road was littered with shell casings and the vehicle had been shot a multitude of times.

According to Police Master Sergeant Joemer Miculob of the Scene of The Crime Operatives (Soco)   from the PNP Crime Laboratory Office at least 116 empty shells of M16 were discovered at the crime scene.

Businessman Ryan Erca Sigue was killed
in Tagbilaran City on Monday, July 15. 
Photo by Leo Udtohan 
Residents said they woke up to the sound of gunshots thinking it was a fireworks display.

Bill (family name withheld) said he initially thought someone was shooting fireworks outside until they heard neighbors running to the crime scene.

Witnesses saw a white van chasing the victim’s car then fired the car several times then  rammed into a concrete fence before coming to a halt after the shooting.

Police are still investigating the incident. 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Memories of the old Cogon Public Market

Seventy-one-year-old Flora Espejo was weeping as she looked  as the fire engulfed the whole building of a portion of the Cogon Public Market last Wednesday afternoon, July 10.

She wanted to save her vegetables, but to no avail.

Flora Espejo, a popular figure
at Cogon Public Market. Photo by Leo Udtohan
Cogon public market is considered a landmark in the city and a popular place for its tabo (market day) every Tuesday and Friday.

I felt sad for the occupants here as I watched the fire spreading quickly and devoured the building.  I regularly buy vegetables  and fish here aside visiting my favorite Plaza Marcela. Most vegetable and fish vendors here are my distant relatives and friends. They are Gaspara Pojas, 81, who sells native products since 1976, Maria Porlaris who sells rice, Wilma Bangalao and her daughter Juvy who sell “panakot” and Daday who sells the best sikwate in town.

But Flora is the most popular figure here.  Why? She is just one of the heiresses of the lot occupied by Cogon public market before it was donated to the local government.  Original owners of the lots were my grandfather Pantaleon Udtohan and his cousins, the Espejos and Ingkings.

If why occupants and some residents cried when the fire reduced the market, many of them grew up here to make a decent living. As a saying goes, some things will give way to something new.

As vendors and kibitzers were busy at the market, something strange happened at the Cogon High School Evening Session that night.

At past 7 p.m., classes were disrupted when at least 17 students were “possessed” by “evil spirits” and began to experience chest pains, difficulty breathing, cold sweat, body spasms and stiffening.

It all started when Grades 9 and 10 students complained of chest pains, and difficulty breathing, all of whom were female complained of the same symptoms. After a group of students started hysterical, students in the next classroom followed suit.

I am not an expert on spirit possession but I have had witnessed demonic possessions in the past.  Two of our female neighbors were possessed by evil spirits on different occasions.  As the priests began to pray, the woman slipped into a trance. She spoke in multiple voices-deep, guttural and masculine. When someone secretly sprinkled ordinary water on her, she didn't react. But when holy water was used, she screamed in pain. It took weeks for these women to be completely delivered from evil spirits.

Before and after: The Cogon Public Market is a
 popular landmark in Bohol province.
 Photos by Leo Udtohan
Last Friday, July 12, I had witnessed less than 10 students who were experiencing seizures alongside their horrifying hallucinations. They were taken to the principal’s office to calm down and wait for their parents to come to bring them home.

When students were “attacked”, I asked them what they saw. At first, they were silent for a second. When they regained consciousness, they answered they saw strange eyes and a black child with red eyes in the building.

The students looked liked they were afraid of something. It’s not really that they were rowdy, they just cried.  They started to show wild behavior which led us to think that maybe they were possessed by evil spirits.

In our Jewish and Christian faith, we believe demons are real. They do possess someone which serves as their “medium” that often elicits a response of fear.

In the case of Cogon High School Night, in my humble opinion, they were not possessed. Only one was genuinely “possessed” who served as the “medium” of the spirit world.  Other students just have contagious vision of the evil spirit. 

Anyone even faintly familiar with mental illnesses knows that individuals who think they are being attacked by malign spirits are generally experiencing nothing of the sort.

I spoke with psychologist Tina Agnes Bagaipo-Dumas and some teachers who found out that most of the students were depressed, stressed and skipped meals before going to school.

At 9 p.m., I got a call from our cousins to help a student who reportedly fainted after school. What was alarming she tried to cut her wrist because the spirit child at school told her.

At least 80 stalls were razed by fire last July 10. Photo by Leo Udtohan

To appease the worried parents, I accompanied the frightened student who was brought to the church for “deliverance” but the priest told us to see a doctor because the student showed no sign of “possession.”

I just told the young girl to pray before going to bed, eat on time and minimize watching horror and K-pop movies and using the mobile phone. 

Belief in possession exists in many religious traditions. Some people believe that possession is rare, but real. However, only a trained exorcist could tell if someone is possessed.

Doctors used to be widely skeptical and they argued that there's no empirical evidence that proves possession is real even though many cultures still believe that seemingly unprovoked acts of hysteria are caused by spirit possession.

Apart from spiritual modes of therapy, those exhibiting odd behavior should seek medical help.  

The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks to the importance of knowing the difference between mental illness and demonic actions.

 “The exorcism is directed at the expulsion of demons or to the liberation from demonic possession through the spiritual authority which Jesus entrusted to his Church,” it said.

“Illness, especially psychological illness, is a very different matter; treating this is the concern of medical science. Therefore, before an exorcism is performed, it is important to ascertain that one is dealing with the presence of the Evil One, and not an illness,” it added.

 As of yet, there has been no rational or official explanation for the strange phenomenon.


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Power outage plunges Manhattan in New York into darkness

The Upper West Side of the Manhattan borough of New York is dark after a transformer fire caused a power outage and left businesses without electricity, elevators stuck and subway cars stalled.

 Billboards in New York's famous Times Square
were without power during Saturday's outage. Photo: AP
The outage comes on the anniversary of the 1977 New York City outage that left most of the city without power.

ABC News reported on Saturday that subway stations plunged into darkness and the billboards of Times Square suddenly flicked off as New York’s Manhattan was hit by a power outage.

Authorities say a transformer fire caused the power outage and left businesses without electricity, elevators stuck and subway cars stalled.

About 42,000 customers lost electricity in the early evening, according to the Con Edison utility.

On social media, dozens of users posted photos of subway stations bathed in darkness.

“While Con Edison works to restore power in Manhattan, we encourage everyone to avoid below-ground subway stations,” New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority said on Twitter.

Firefighters said they were responding to numerous requests for help, particularly from people trapped in elevators.

The cut affected the western chunk of Manhattan, particularly the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood and the theaters of Broadway.

Many Broadway musicals and plays cancelled their Saturday evening shows.

Several cast members from the show put on an impromptu performance in the street outside the theater for disappointed audience members.

Some shows like Frozen were among the Broadway shows to announce it had cancelled performances.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

With just one high note, Mariah Carey wins #BottleCapChallenge

Mariah Carey wins!

Image: Instagram Account of Mariah Carey
Celebrities and fans alike have been taking a stab at the #BottleCapChallenge, a new online fad that prompts social media users to upload a video of themselves attempting to side-kick the cap off a water bottle.

Singer Mariah Carey joined in the fun bottle cap challenge. In an Instagram post, Mariah said she accepted the challenge.

Mariah wowed netizens by singing just one high note, sending the bottle cap flying.

Mariah first did some karate gestures, put a finger to her ear, sang one high long note, then walked away with a big smile after seeing the bottle cap off. Piece of cake!

Fire hits Tagbilaran’s Cogon Public Market

Fire broke out at the Cogon Public Market
 in Tagbilaran City, Bohol on Wednesday afternoon, July 10. 
Photo by Leo Udtohan

A fire of still unknown origin destroyed several concrete stalls at the Cogon Public Market in Tagbilaran City Wednesday.

Acting City fire marshal Marlyn Macatangay said 80 stalls in the market were reduced to ashes when a fire broke out past 1 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10.

Nobody was hurt in the fire that was placed under control an hour later.

Arson investigators have yet to determine the cost of damages in Wednesday’s  fire incident. 

However, vendors said the fire originated at the second floor of a store which sold bananas and jackfruits located in the dry goods section of the market.
Firefighters and volunteers at the Cogon Public Market
 in Tagbilaran City, Bohol on Wednesday afternoon, July 10.  
Photo by Leo Udtohan

No casualties have been reported.

Authorities have yet to determine the cost and what caused the blaze.

Cogon Public Market is a popular landmark in the province. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Pick-pockets steal tourist’s purse captured on selfie-stick footage

A suspected female pickpocket gang have been caught on camera appearing to swipe a tourist's designer purse with £400 cash in London's West End.

According to Metro Online, tourists Nina Spencer and pal Toi McGurran were walking through Cambridge Circus, filming themselves as they toured through the busy capital.

But after they had crossed the road, Toi looked inside her Louis Vuitton handbag and noticed her designer purse containing £400 in cash and her credit cards was missing.

The footage shows the woman casually grabbing the purse
as they cross the road in London. 
Devastated Toi and Nina, both from Thailand, watched back their video and were shocked to see three females had been walking closely behind them on June 16.

The clip appears to show one woman shielding the other's hand as she allegedly grabs the purse.

The two women are then joined by a third woman in sunglasses - appearing to hand off the purse to her.
All three women then quickly walk away together in a different direction.

The Sun reported that  Nina said she reported the theft to police but said they have not had the wallet returned.

She said: ''We reported this to the police straight away. They asked me for the location where it happened and we sent them the video of it.

"We don’t think it’s possible to have the money back now. But we just want to be helpful and let the police be aware of things going on in the city."

Nina, who is originally from Thailand, has been living in the UK for several years with her British husband. Her friend, Toi, was visiting her for a trip to London.

Nina said the theft has left them both disappointed with their experience in London due to being the victims of crime.

She said: ''It’s sad that this had to spoil our trip. I hope the police can catch them so that it doesn’t happen to other people.''

According to Met Police, "No arrests have been made."

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Are you smarter than a four-year-old? Meet Miggy.

I’ve not seen Czed Miguel “Miggy” Ebojo, the ‘Wonder Kid of Bohol’ for almost three weeks after his story was aired on GMA’s 24 Oras.

It took me three days to finish the story about Miggy because a day was not enough to observe a child   whose intellect and independence of spirit simply aren’t ordinary.

The other day, Clyde, Miggy’s father, told me the genius boy is doing fine.

Miggy has completed tests that show his IQ as very superior– that many people considering him the “Wonder Kid of Bohol.”

“We started to realize he was different at two years old. He learned a lot of things as a two year old far from normal compared to another children at his age group,” said 31 year-old Clyde, also a musician.  

 Czed Miguel “Miggy” Ebojo,
the Wonder Kid of Bohol.  Photo by Leo Udtohan
That’s when his parents said Miggy started using words, like the names of shapes, colors and numbers.

Then, Miggy could write and read words at age 2.

At 3 years old, when a typical kid has about a dozen words in their vocabulary, Miggy could sing the ABCs –and well sing it backward, too.

He knows about the solar system, the planets and how many moons does each  planet has. He knows Pluto was the 12th planet until 2006.

When asked who created the universe, Miggy just said, “Jesus! He does. There’s no other God, no god other. Only one.”

Miggy can count in English, Chinese, Japanese and Russian from 1-100. He can multiply in Spanish.  He knows the how many chapters of the books in the Holy Bible.

That's not it.

Miggy also knows on what day your birthday falls from 2019 until the year 2030. Plus, he also knows the composition of a planet and how many moons does each planet has.

According to his parents, no one taught Miggy all these things.

When Miggy turned four, first time parents Clyde and Marjorie worried of their son’s abilities.

“I am worried about Miggy’s abilities as parents. I really don’t have idea how to raise a child like him,” said Marjorie, 28, who began searching for resources to help with his rapid development.

She said she is afraid other people may not understand her son’s ways.

  Czed Miguel “Miggy” Ebojo with his parents Clyde and Marjorie.  Photo by Leo Udtohan
Last June, the couple went to Holy Name University Testing Center and had Miggy’s intelligence tested. The result showed Miggy’s  IQ was very superior.

They also went to see a Bohol-based clinical psychologist Dr. Kit Balane to evaluate Miggy’s sky-high IQ. It turned out that Miggy’s IQ is upper extreme or genius.

“Miggy is fours year old but his IQ is in the upper extreme. It’s safe to say Miggy is a gifted child as far as his IQ is concerned,” said Balane.

“He has the potential to learn fast, to process information quickly, and correctly as far as Miggy’s intelligence concerned,” he added.

Balane encouraged the parents to nurture the learning potential of Miggy.

“ It is very important that Miggy is provided enforcement at home other than what he gets at school. Parents can provide time, creative materials, reading materials but also not forgetting the social emotional needs of the child,” said Balane who established the only clinic in Bohol for a decade.

It is also important that Miggy should be in school that has understood his particular creativity since bright kids process so rapidly that by midday they can be mentally burnt-out and hard to teach.

Miggy started nursery 1 last June.  

Miggy Ebojo. Photo by Leo Udtohan
“As a parent, I’m really proud of my son,” his father said. “I’m super-excited he has this gift.”

But his gifted intelligence doesn’t mean Miggy isn’t still like any other four-year-old kid.

When he grows up, Miggy said he wants to be a doctor.

His favorite day is Saturday because it is his cellphone and TV day. Math is his most favourite subject.

Clyde and Marjorie said they just want their son to have a normal childhood, gifts and all.

“We are proud of our little boy what he is now and what he will become in the future,” said Marjorie.

Clyde said it’s not really intelligence that does matter in this world but how his son will deal with different walks of life.

“We are teaching him how to become a good person. It’s not our priority to make him more intelligent. What we hope for and we  love to see  about him is that he will impact the community and he will grow with so much love as we teach him every day,” Clyde said.


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