Sunday, September 29, 2019

Haze still in Bohol

Scene: The local government of Candijay has placed the town under a state of calamity to help the more than 2,000 farmers who were not able to plant their palay due to the long drought that has dried up their farmland.According to Jeryl Lacang-Fuentes, municipal disaster risk reduction and management officer, the resolution was passed in mass motion so help would be provided to the affected farmers. Candijay was the second town in Bohol that was placed under the state of calamity due to the water shortage.

Seen: Miss Bohol Sandugo 2011 Farrah Faye Abarquez Mian passed the September 2019 Physician Licensure Examination (PLE).

Scene: Boholano singer Allan Roy Santarin of Valencia town is step closer to his dream after making it to the Top 64 of GMA’s singing competition "The Clash" Season 2.

It's 'Plastic Free Bohol' not 'Free Plastic Bohol'

More than 2,000 volunteers joined the International Coastal Cleanup in Bohol province last week.
The presence of Bohol's "mermaid"Jammy Ungab of "Plastic Free Bohol" movement inspired many young people to help clean the environment.

Jammy, who fights for tighter regulations on the use of plastics,  was included in Inquirer's "33 people and projects that moved PH communities" in 2018.

In Doljo Beach in Panglao, volunteers were able to collect a total of 2,300 kgs of non-biodegradable trash.
Plastic Free Bohol also clarified that the movement is "Plastic Free Bohol," and not "Free Plastic Bohol."

"Plastic Free Bohol has been doing what it is doing for more than three years now (and still counting), and yet we still hear from people calling or labeling us differently—such as Free Plastic Bohol,"  a statement posted on Friday.

"Plastic Free Bohol" is a network of volunteers that aims to end plastic pollution in the province, while "Free Plastic Bohol" is a phrase that either suggests releasing plastic or giving away plastics for free in the province.

See the big difference!

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The haze remains in Bohol’s atmosphere, at least until yesterday, and authorities are urging the public to still take precautionary steps, especially those who have sensitive health conditions.

Engr. Cindy Ochea, head of the Environmental Monitoring and Enforcement Division of Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) - 7, said that it's still there.

Six-year-old Jessa Mae Jala has been sneazing and coughing since Wednesday last week. At night time, the child has been hack that prompted her mother, Rowena, to bring her to a clinic for a check up.

The child is not the only one suffering.  All over Bohol, some people are coughing, wheezing and sniffing as a spike in air pollution due to haze which is experiencing in the Central Visayas.

Dave Albarado, 44,  was complaining of runny nose, dry throat and cough since Sunday last week.

He said he has allergies but the weather for the past days worsen his situation that already affected his work becoming focus less.

"I think the haze could be the contributing factor of my allergies because my allergies last only for 24 hours. As of now, it has been days. I don't know what other possible causes of my allergies," he said.

To protect himself from air contaminants, he decided to buy and wear a mask.

"I am doing my best to stay indoor and take medicines to control my symptom," he said.

Residents have taken to social media how the haze is affecting them as air quality continued to worsen.

Some teachers at Dr. Cecilio Putong National High School were also wearing masks to protect themselves.

Another Tagbilaran resident Helen Alagadmo, 43, said she had escaped to  the countryside last Friday for a fresh air.

She went to Barangay Mayana in Jagna town, the highest point in Bohol, but she was surprised to find out that it was also blanketed with haze.

“There is no escape from it. But still a relief to be able to breathe in a cool place," she said while at the strawberry farm at Mayana Upper Sampong overlooking the mountain covered with haze.

“I woke up this morning and my nose was blocked once more,” she added.

The haze enveloping Bohol, which usually enjoys relatively clean air for a province its size, has prompted warnings to the young and elderly to wear mask.

The EMB and the state weather bureau Pagasa had confirmed the presence of haze affecting the Central Visayas including Bohol.

EMB  is monitoring the air quality, but it does not include Tagbilaran and Bohol just yet.

Ochea urged the public to wear protective gear like face mask and to stay indoors as much as possible.

Dr. Jeia Pondoc, Tagbilaran City Health Officer,agreed.

She said she was unsure if the haze contributed to the illnesses experienced by some residents lately.
But she said it was nonetheless necessary to take precautions.

“We advise them to wear the N95 mask rather than the surgical mask,” she said.

N95 masks, she added, could prevent hazardous substances from entering the nostrils.

“The surgical masks have big holes and are merely used in hospitals,” Pondoc said.

Aside from wearing face mask, she also advised the public to eat healthy and nutritious food and to drink plenty of water.

She advised people to stay indoors.

"We have to stay indoors especially  those patients who have history of asthma or having asthma, indoors jud, especially those patients who are susceptible for allergies or having allergies. It could be better for them to stay indors, refrain from outdoor activities just for this time," she said.

Aside from this, the public is advised to monitor updates on the haze situation.

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Borrowed freedom

With P3,000 in his pocket, rape convict Melchor Jumamil was giddy like a little boy as he stepped out of the  National Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa after 32 years.

Since it was Good Friday that morning on April 19, he went to church to thank the Lord that he was finally released for good behavior.

But his freedom was short-lived.

Jumamil, now 55, was attending to his farm in Cortes town in Bohol on Sept. 5 when he was told by siblings that President Duterte ordered the convicts released under the Good Conduct Time Allowance law to surrender within 15 days or face the possibility of being shot  by authorities as fugitives.

He was crestfallen.

"Why would they want me to go back to BuCor (Bureau of Corrections) when I already served more than my 32 years," he said.

But the fear for his safety prompted him to comply with the President's directives.

A total of seven convicts had turned themselves in Bohol, according to the Bohol Provincial Police Office (BPPO).
Jumamil was 21 and a sophomore high school student at the then Bohol School of Arts and Trade when he and eight others were accused of raping a neighbor.

But only he and Reynaldo Mercado, who was then 19, were arrested.

While both claimed they were innocent of the crime, they were later convicted and were sentenced to life imprisonment for rape with abduction.

Jumamil was sent to the the Bilibid prisons while Mercado was served his term at the Leyte Regional Prison in Abuyog town, Southern Leyte.

Mercado, however, was released earlier, on Dec. 18, 2018, under the GCTA law. Jumamil followed four months later in April.

Jumamil said he immediately took a boat ticket to Cebu upon his release on April 19. From Cebu, he took a fast craft back to his home-province which he had not seen for 32 years.

He was overjoyed to finally come home but at same time, amazed by how different Bohol was 32 years ago.
There were tall buildings at the capital city of Tagbilaran and the houses had mushroomed. 

He was pleasantly surprised that the road to his hometown in Cortes, about 10 km from Tagbilaran, had been paved when it used to be littered with potholes.

"It changed a lot..I am no longer familiar with the place," he said in a local dialect.

He even got lost while looking for their house  in Barangay Upper de la Paz.

His eldest brother, Felix, answered the knock on the door.

Although surprised by the unannounced arrival of his brother, Felix gently hugged him and cried.

All his four siblings were happy that he was finally home.

Jumamil was sad when he learned that he had to go back to jail.

He and Mercado decided to surrender at the Cortes police station out of fear that they might be killed.

Mercado said he would have wanted to start a new life after spending many years in jail.

He wanted to work to help his siblings, nieces and nephews.

Another convict Marcial Auguis, 69, arrived in Bohol on Sept. 6 only to be told by his nephews and nieces three days later that he had to back to jail on President's order.

"I only spent a few days with my family and now they wanted me to go back. I don't want to go back because life there was miserable,” he said.

Auguis was released from the New Bilibid Prison last Aug. 19 after spending nine years in jail for killing a relative.
He first visited his grandson in Cavite before deciding to go home in Barangay Villa Milagrosa in the island-municipality of President Carlos P. Garcia in Bohol.

Auguis was so happy to have come home but didn't expect to see the new Bohol-Panglao International Airport.
When told that he had to go back to jail, Auguis couldn't help but feel sad especially that he had just come home.

Like Auguis, Nemesio Bacalso,  66, didn't also want to go back to jail but had no choice.

"I only have a few years left to live. I just want to enjoy the remaining years of my life,” he added.

Bacalso was in his 30s  when he was sent to Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan for forcible abduction with rape.

After spending 30 years in jail, he was released last February 8 for good behavior under the GCTA.

When he returned to Bohol, Bacalso recalled he didn't know his way around Tagbilaran since he was gone for at least 30 years.

The only sign he was home was the Chocolate hills.

He never realized that his freedom was temporary.

Bacalso was shocked when told by his neighbors about the President's order. For him, he had served more than enough number of years.

The convicts, however, hoped that they would be properly released, saying they merely caught up in the mess at the BuCor.

All of them said they surrendered for their security and to make clear they did not pay anyone for their release.
"Kung gusto nila ibalik sa Correction walay problema na. Di ako parolado, wala kaming binayaran na ano. Paano kami magbayad na wala kaming ikabayad dahil pobre kami,"  said Jumamil.

Mercado said he wanted to start a new life after spending many years in jail.  He wanted to work to help his siblings, nieces and nephews.

And their families too were praying that the next time these convicts stepped out of jail, their freedom would be lasting.

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Sunday, September 15, 2019

Bohol’s 'mermaid' fights for plastic free

Scene: Lutgardo "Gardy" Labad for being recognized and awarded by the Film Development Council of the Philippines' "SineSandaan" as one of its Luminaries in the field of Music Score. His contribution and excellence in film scoring include Ganito Kami Ngayon, Paano Kayo Ngayon; Magnifico, Ang Tatay kong Nanay, Tinimbang ka Ngunit Kulang, etc.

Scene:  Andrew Braker from SHS Department and  Carl Joellie Tentativa  from College of Nursing were crowned  Mister and Miss UB Personality 2019.


What do young people and plastic have in common? They will both be around longer, especially the plastic.
Plastic waste that we are inheriting as it accumulates everyday on land, in the oceans, in their food chain and in their bodies.

But there is a "mermaid" in Bohol fighting for tighter regulations on the use of plastics and better waste management in Bohol province.

Because of Jammy Ungab's "Plastic Free Bohol" campaign, some local governments started banning the use of plastic bags.

Jammy, 34, earned the moniker “The Mermaid of Bohol” because of her advocacies-and she spends most of her time in the seas.

In 2018, Jammy was included in Inquirer's "33 people and projects that moved PH communities."

As an ambassador of Save The Mermaids and 5 Gyres , Jammy joins other young people to fight plastic pollution through science, education, research, and adventure.

“We are fighting to save the sea from human pollution,” she said. “I have to start it here in our home province.”

“I love to travel, surf, hike, and take pictures of landscapes. My love for adventure has brought me to off the beaten spots and made my eyes open to the reality our environment, especially our oceans, are facing,” she said.

She has been to beautiful remote spots around the country and she said those beautiful spots have something we don’t usually see on the internet before....plastics.

“I love the ocean. It is my home, my church, and my best friend. The ocean is so dear to my heart not only because it provides us most of the oxygen we breath, and provides us food and livelihood, but the ocean also helped me beat depression,” she said.

From the moment she found genuine happiness and herself again, she vowed to help protect our oceans in her own little ways.
Spending so much time in the sea, Jammy also created and designed her own “eco-friendly” bikini line “Marikit.” It is a handmade crochet swimwear which a portion of the sale goes for ocean conservation and end starvation of children in the Philippines.

“I moved back to Bohol three years ago to start my small sustainable business that gives back to the ocean. That was also when I noticed how bad littering and the solid waste management is in our province. I went home upset one day after seeing all the trash that were left by beach goers and next thing I knew, I published a social media page called Plastic Free Bohol,” she said.

Plastic Free Bohol is a grassroots movement Jammy  started to raise awareness on plastic pollution in Bohol island since there were no groups or organizations in Bohol that are actively campaigning against single use plastics.
“I started sharing articles and my journey to a less waste lifestyle (not zero waste yet),” said Jammy who realized it’s not an enough effort, so she started organizing beach cleanups to get the community involved.

“Cleaning beaches is not the solution, but it helps make the animals safer and it is also a great venue to raise awareness and meet like minded people,” she said.

When she has time and opportunity, she also talks to politicians and business owners to encourage them to ban single use plastics. The journey, according to her, is not a walk in the park. She said it is actually very hard and challenging.

“Being an ambivert, but more of an introvert, it is a big challenge for me to talk with a lot people I don’t know and even more challenging if you’re trying to change their mindset, convincing them to change some of their habits,” she said.

Jammy said she is not good in public speaking, but she does everything to get the word out there.

“It’s about time that we should stop ignoring plastic pollution. We might not feel the effects here in our province now, but we will in the next few years when we are already swimming in a sea of plastic,” she said.

When Panglao Island was haunted by environmental problems and woes, Jammy and her group conducted regular clean-up drive in the touristic island.

The movement’s “Bohol’s Baktas” clean-up on Alona beach stretch last June yielded about 8.7 lbs (approx. 4 kilos) of cigarette butts alone.

There is a need to continue educating both locals and visitors.

“Teach them on how to be more responsible with their trash,” she said.

She said 8 million tons of plastic enters our oceans every year and it will only get worse if people are still not going to do something about it.

She said scientists agreed that by year 2050, there will be more plastics in our oceans than fish.  She urged people to be part of the solution.

“You don’t have to be a marine biologist nor a scientist nor a policy maker to help fight plastic pollution. You just need to have love and compassion,” she explained.

“Love for your health, for our Mother Earth, and for the generations to come. There’s so much you can do. How? You can start by saying NO to single use plastics, by choosing reusables over disposables, by buying less, by picking up at least 5 pieces of rubbish everyday, and stop littering,” she added.

And the mermaid is watching!

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Sunday, September 8, 2019

Road signs in Bohol turn into #highwayhugot lines

Scene:  Visiting Bohol will be more  convenient and affordable with the new  opening of night flights at the Bohol-Panglao International Airport (BPIA), the country’s first eco-airport. The Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced that following the operationalization of additional navigation systems, BPIA is  expected to boost the number of flights and eventually lower airfares.

Scene: Jagna's "Pansit Yaning" is now available in many local stores after the Lubcanan Association for Cultural and Environmental Heritage (Laceh) was able to secure a Bureau of Food and Drugs (Bfad) permit. The nutri-pancit (noodle) comes out in many colors: malunggay (horseradish) green, squash yellow and camote top purple. There are 67 families engaged in dried noodle making in the town.

Scene:  A new and advanced medical services of Bohol Doctors' Hospital after Dr. Potenciano “Yong” Larrazabal III,  president and chairman of the board of Cebu Doctors’ Group of Hospitals, and Dr. Disi Yap of Englewood Hospital inked the memorandum of agreement (MOA) last Friday.  The CebuDoc Facebook said, "It was part of the CebuDoc Group of Hospitals to expand its healthcare brand in the whole Visayas."

Scene: The SidlaKasilak 2019 or Festival of Lights was held last Friday, Sept. 6,  in honor of the town’s patron saint, the Virgen de la Luz or Birhen sa Kasilak (Our Lady of Light). The highlights of the event were the street- dancing presentation and Dance of Lights competition whose contest criteria revolve solely on the lights, choreography of lights such as movement, synchronization, formation and dynamics and quality of lights such as design, color harmony and brightness.

The next time you visit north of Bohol, you need patience as some roads are under repair at the boundary of Carmen and Dagohoy towns.

To keep you cool and safe, the DPWH- 3rd Engineering Office makes road signs with hugot lines as warning signs for the motorists. 

Here are some of them:

"Pag-amping pirmi bisan buwag nata."

"Crush, pag-amping ha? Pakaslan pa tika."


"With or without lovelife take care always."

Motorists who have passed the area enjoyed reading the road signs and taking photos with different hugot lines.

"It's's amusing," said Lito Alagadmo who visited the #highwayhugot with his wife Helen.

However, for 18-year-old SamSam Panilag, the signs tell him with quirky messages as well as road safety reminders.

"How to navigate our roads with a broken heart,"  he said.

Relate much?

This interesting article shared by teacher and cultural worker Jeycelle Espejo-Inting of Dr. Cecilio Putong National High School:


Because none of us have many years to live, and we can't take along anything when we go, so we don't have to be too thrifty.
Spend the money that should be spent, enjoy what should be enjoyed, donate what you are able to donate.

DON'T WORRY about what will happen after we are gone, because when we return to dust, we will feel nothing about praises or criticisms. The time to enjoy the worldly life and your hard earned wealth will be over!

DON'T WORRY too much about your children, for children will have their own destiny and should find their own way.  

Care for them, love them, give them gifts but also enjoy your money or what is left of it, while you can. Life should have more to it than working from the cradle to the grave!!
50-year olds, don't trade in - your health for wealth, by working yourself to an early grave anymore. Because your money may not be able to buy your health.

When to stop making money, and how much is enough?   
(A HUNDRED thousand, One million, ten million, One billion?)

Out  of thousand hectares of good farm land, you can consume only three quarts (of rice) daily; out of a thousand mansions, you only need eight square meters of  space to rest at night.

So, as long as you have enough food and enough money to spend, that is good enough. You should live happily. Every family has its own problems.

Just DO NOT COMPARE with others for fame and social status and see whose children are doing better etc., but challenge others for happiness, health, enjoyment, quality of  life and longevity.

DON'T WORRY about things that you can't change because it doesn't help and it may spoil your health.

You have to create your own well-being and find your own place of happiness. As long  as you are in good mood and good health, think about happy things, do happy things daily and have fun in doing, then you will pass your time happily every day.

One day passes WITHOUT happiness, you will lose one day.

One day passes WITH happiness and then you gain one day.
In good spirit, sickness will cure;
In a happy spirit, sickness will cure faster;
in high and happy spirits, sickness will never come.

With good mood, suitable amount of exercise, always in the sun, variety of foods, reasonable amount of vitamin and mineral intake, hopefully you will live another 20 or 30 years of  healthy life of pleasure.

ABOVE ALL -Learn to cherish the goodness around... like your spouse and FRIENDS........... They all make you feel young and "wanted"... without them you are surely to feel lost !!

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Monday, September 2, 2019

Rich Asuncion and Benj Mudie's baby Bela gets baptized

Kapuso actress Rich Asuncion and Benj Mudie  marked another family milestone on Sunday, August 25, with the baptism of their daughter,  Bela Brie.

Rich Asuncion and Benj Mudie
 with their daughter,  Bela Brie. P
from IG: benjmudie
On Instagram and Facebook on Thursday night, August 29, Rich shared photos of the baptism, with the caption: “Bela Brie Baptism!”

The photos show Bela Brie smiling with Rich and Benj.

The baptismal gown, according to Rich, was the same garment worn by husband Benj and his siblings. This was kept by Benj's mother over the years so that the next generation may also wear the same, like Rich's baby.

Some of the celebrities who were present at the event were Sunshine Dizon, Yasmein Kurdi, Mike Tan and Sheena Halili.

The baptism was held at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Taguig.

Welcome to the Christian world Baby Bela Brie! Congratulations to the parents!

Two big people are marking milestones last week: National Food Authority Manager (NFA)-Bohol manager Maria Fe "Peng" Evasco for her birthday (no need to reveal how old she is since she doesn’t look it) and Dave Sibbaluca Maulas for a triple birthday celebrations, a house blessing and a thanksgiving (you know for passing the bar).

Surrounded by family and friends, 
Birthday Girl Maria Fe "Peng" Evasco 
 flashes a big smile on her birthday. 
Friday last week (August 30), Peng hosted a buffet for her friends and NFA employees and Dave on Saturday (August 31), with a dinner buffet at  his new home at Barangay Mansasa.

NFA Manager Maria Fe 
"Peng" Evasco on her 'ty-nine year.'
When it was time to blow the candle, everybody gathered around Peng. As a collective "Happy Birthday" reverberated around NFA, the Birthday Girl flashed a sweet smile.

Perhaps not many people know that Peng was a radio dj and a writer before she joined the government. 

Dave, a popular student leader in his college days, is a lawyer and a certified public accountant (CPA).

NFA information officer Jhoel Lim kept busy entertaining Peng’s guests, making sure that food was replenished on the buffet table. The waiters of Saya's were very polite, asking the guests, always with a smile, if they needed more drinks or whatever.

Atty. David Maulas with his wife
Jennisa and  daughter Danielle Quinn.  
Photo: FB account of Atty. David Maulas 
"I am so very thankful, incredibly grateful and wonderfully blessed! Thank you everyone for your loving wishes and birthday greetings and for being part of my journey," said Peng.

Dave and his wife Jennisa recently moved their family into their new dream  home in Barangay Mansasa where they wanted a place to watch their kids play and grow up.
The long buffet table was loaded with food, with fresh fruits during Sunday's celebration.

Lawyers David Maulas, REA
and Ralp Ryan Lagura, CPA of Maulas and Lagura Law Offices.
In high school, Dave thought  of becoming a lawyer. Believing it was the best route, he took up Accountancy but ended up with a Management Accounting degree.

To pursue his other passion, that is teaching, he finished Masters in Business Administration and  taught in a University.
He also obtained a Real Estate Appraiser and Broker license.

In 2014, he entered law school. Midway, he got married to Jennisa and fathered a lovely daughter Danielle Quinn.

He passed the bar examination and he is on his way to become one the province’s best young lawyers.

Last week, Dave with his friend lawyer-accountant Ralp Ryan Lagura  opened the
MAULAS & LAGURA Law Offices at the Ground Floor of Castelcelo Building, at the back of Robinsons Bank near Garden Cafe/Save 'n Earn and old City Hall.

"Blessings come in different sizes. Some are so small that we sometimes take them for granted. Others are too big that we are sometimes consumed by them,"  Dave said.

"I thank the Almighty for this yet another milestone, without discounting those several others which came before this. I thank Him for all the people I met, who helped mold me to be what I am today. Most of all, I thank the Lord for the blessing of a family," he added.

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