Showing posts with label bukang liwayway. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bukang liwayway. Show all posts

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Miriam dictionary

Scene: Wincesa Espejo Araoarao, the long- time physical education teacher of Bohol National High School and founder of the Bukang Liwayway Dance Troupe celebrated her 77th birthday last September 28 with her children Fiel Angeli -Jerome John Gabin with Renji and Texas, USA based Reparato Anthony- Gracelyn Shiela Tubal Araoarao and her brother Capt. Abito B. Espejo. The former First Lady of Panglao when her husband Derclo Reparato became mayor of Panglao in 1980 to 1986, one of her greatest achievements is when she was second place for her performance of "Binasuan," a dance of skill, in the Philippine Folk Dance Festival held at Pace University, New York City in September 1990 wherein she was the only (individual) entry from among the group entries.
Wincesa Espejo-Araoarao celebrates 
her 77th birthday with her daughter 
Miss Tagbilaran Fiel Angeli Gabin and 
Engr. Jerome Gabin and visitors (l) Dr. Aleksander Ylanan 
and wife Jessa, yours truly, and Raul Gatal, your Roving Eye.  
Contributed Photo

Scene: The Sinoog Estokada festival in Jagna town last Sept. 29 honoring St. Michael the Archangel. The festival is a native war dance portraying good versus evil through rhythmic marching and movements following the beat of the drums. Seven contingents joined this year’s street-dancing competition.  The performers dressed as either bad or good angels, St. Michael or even Lucifer to show which side they are with. Other performers dressed like Mulawin.

Scene: The opening of the  “Dagohon sa Hoyohoy, Dagohoy the Musical 2016” by the Bohol Theater Network headed by Kasing Sining at Bohol Cultural Center.  History came to life as the show exceptionally told the story and struggle of Bohol’s Dagohoy. The scenes were so intense that it impressed the audience. “When I was watching the original show way back in 1990 I was already amazed. This time, I was totally captivated and hooked up to the show. I was even teary eyed along the way because it was really well performed, the music was well-arranged, all the actors portrayed the roles excellently. In general, the show was excellent,” said Jeycelle Espejo-Inting, a former history teacher at University of Bohol now teaching at Dr. Cecilio Putong National High School.

My first and last encounter with Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago was in 2004 when she was running for senator.  Known for her fiery speeches and sharp quips that the word “feisty” was a favorite adjective that journalists used to describe her,  I eagerly waited for her turn to speak at the campaign rally held at the Plaza Rizal.

MDS was an eloquent speaker. She could grab the listeners’ attention.  Most convention speeches are forgotten almost before they’re finished. But when MDS delivered her political oratory, it was a speech that will be replayed, quoted and anthologized for years.

MDS told Boholanos that the province is precious like gold since there is gold everywhere in Bohol.

The Sinoog Estokada festival is held every 
Sept. 29 in Jagna town. It is a war dance between 
St. Michael the Archangel and Lucifer.  
Photo by Leo Udtohan
She ended her speech, “Hayaan mo ang katarungan ay manaig, sukat man ang langit ay bumagsak.”

She had influenced many lives especially those A students who admired her for being feisty, fierce and fearless. One of them was Meynard who took up law at Holy Name University (HNU) because he was inspired by MDS. The whole class would be amazed when he mimicked MDS. 

There were times when I (including Panglao Mayor Nila Montero who was a councillor then, Clarita Horcerada, Arthur Bagcat, et al) had visited the Senate and dropped by her office where we were entertained by Ms Fortich, her office staff who’s married to his brother.

I am a fan of MDS ever since. She was part of my high school years that when she appeared on TV, I would listen to her words.  De Ers, my amiga para vivir, would act as MDS delivering some unforgettable quotes he heard on TV.  It was obvious that MDS also influenced all his life.

I also received Ulat sa Bayan, her monthly newsletter.   It was a fun learning the “Miriam Dictionary” with her brilliant quotes.  

Francisco Dagohoy (portrayed by Jeffrey Aguilar)
 holds his brother Sagarino, one of the
 heartbreaking scenes of the theatrical and 
musical celebration of “Dagon sa Hoyohoy.” 
Photo by Liza Macalandag
My biggest frustration of being an MDS fan was when I was not able to join her “Summer Sa Senado.”  It was an internship program that student-leaders were dressing up as senators, delivering privilege and sponsorship speeches, criticizing speeches, drafting bills and resolutions.

Chai Cruz, a chef from Alona who is now in New York City, also shared his experience with MDS.

“My very first and last encounter with was during my homecoming from somewhere. I usually do that practice to get fastracted at the Custom Inspection of arriving passengers. To slip some amount in foreign currency to get fast stamped by an officer. To my shame, it was her sitting at the immigration officer's post, that I only realized when I look up to her when she asked while holding my passport with " grease money " and asked me " ANO ITO ? ".... . To my shame, and quick wit, I answered " Oh, I am sorry Ma’am, that is where I put my duty free on air change, that is why I still wonder where it is ." She smirked at me and gave me back my passport and said " Welcome Home ". Thereafter, I never lost my admiration of her. That I always voted for her and of course, laughed out loud whenever I hear, see or read about her in some confrontation, inquiry or hearings at the senate. And her humour on her " hugot lines.  "

He added, “To me, she is, and was one of few women I adored much, second to Mother Theresa and Maggie Thatcher. She will always be the famous #MyMirriam, #OurMirriam, #OurPeople'sMirriam.”

MDS, who died last Thursday (Sept 29.), served the Senate for 3 terms, for a total of 18 years: from 1995 to 2001 and from 2004 until 2016. The Philippine politics will not be the same without MDS.
The political career of MDS has been filled with bombastic words and fiery zingers. She captivated Filipinos with her wit, scathing commentary, and humorous pick-up lines.
"God is neither up above nor out there. Instead, God is found in here. In the human mind, in the human conscience. That is why, you are not only graduating with a bachelor’s degree today, you are graduating to a place nearer where God is. Because God is in here. God is in you."

"Someday, I'll tell my kids a bedtime story about a brave and wise queen who never had a chance to rule her own kingdom."

"The meaning of life is found in the purposes that we pursue as we grow older."

“Mr. President, my high intelligence quotient dictates that I should reconsider and therefore withdraw my motion.”

“I used to eat death threats for breakfast Now as a senator, I eat bullets for lunch. Public service is becoming a test of intestinal powers.”

“The smaller the population of the Senate, the higher the GNP.”

“You can enjoy Summer sa Senado as long as you have an IQ higher than that of a senator.”

“The secret to success if concentration. The secret to genius is excessive concentration. The secret to happiness is forgiveness.”


Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at, follow leoudtohan at Twitter /Facebook.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Wincie turns 75, shows no signs of slowing down

Scene: Sylvia Dagami-Fortich posted on Facebook about Tindogi Tagbilaran: "If it's not worth fighting for, it's not worth much at all." "Do not be afraid to proceed forward doing that which others object to or doubt will work or imply that you're crazy to even imagine accomplishing. This is an important way to pick up your cross in following Jesus (Matt. 16:24). The only thing to fear is going against God's will by choosing inaction. When we
have to stand up for an idea that we feel inspired by the Holy Spirit to do, we have discovered a cause that will make a significant difference." For the love of our only home city, all of us who consider Tagbilaran our HOME, should stand up to protect her from everything atrocious and dreadful! For many, fighting is a hard and scary thing to do. But when you are fighting right in your own backyard, for your own self and those that you love, fighting becomes much easier! For even if others think Tagbilaran is just "a" place, for us this place is "HOME" and worth fighting for! YOU are a true Tagbilaranon if you stand for it! TINDOGI ang atong TAGBILARAN!

SceneFormer city councilor Anne Mariquit Derikito-Oppus also shared on Facebook her sweet memories of the old Tagbilaran: Now, it can be told. My love story started with a "Can I walk you home"? From a party at Gee Garden"s Hotel, a young officer from the PMA came up to me and asked: "Can I walk you home?" and so we did, with one of my bff's - Grace del Rosario-Lumayag and the late Zacarias Lumayag in tow, and the "Fall in Club" discreetly doing the same. Anyhow, a year or so later, I gave my "YES" near the Causeway along Tagbilaran Bay, and it was when the moon was so bright. All two separate occasions, in the late evening and so peaceful, then. On hindsight, I ask: Can I do the same now? Like, will I be brave enough to walk the streets of my beloved city without fear, or will I even allow my own kids to stay late, out? To many, it’s a resounding "NO"! Thus, I call on all Tagbilaranons to be vigilant, and do our share. Let us, please, ensure we have a Tagbilaran, even safer than when we found it, for our children. Until and unless we have it, then we cannot rest!

Erstwhile Tagbilaran City Councilor Anne Mariquit Derikito-Oppus
 with her hubby B/Gen. Louie Oppus, the director of the Firearms 
and Explosives Office
 (FEO) of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Courtesy: Anne Mariquit Derikito-Oppus
Back then, the students of Bohol National High School (now Dr. Cecilio Putong National High School) called her as the “most terror” teacher in school.  But parents and colleagues put their thumbs up on her as the teacher who disciplined and molded good students and citizens during her time as a teacher.

“She was very passionate on her job as a teacher,” recalled Rowena Jala. “We were well-behaved in school. She didn’t punish students even those who were naughty at school but she taught the students to behave and respect.”

Her students also recalled that she had a remarkable strong voice.  “It was very loud and clear even without a megaphone during a mass playground,” said Arlene Pisquera. “She had a photographic memory. She could memorize all the family names of the students.”

Wincesa “Wincie” Balatero Espejo Araorao has had earned the respect of her students, co-teachers and friends.

Teacher. Mother. Disciplinarian.

Wincie is all that — and more.

Wincie’s four children regard her as a woman who has shown, through her honest and earnest ways, the real essence of hard work, talent, grace, generosity, "integrity," and most of all, faith in God.
Wincie is the eldest child of Hilario Araro Espejo who served as Teniente del Barrio (Barangay Captain) of Cogon in the late1950s and Josefina Mercader Balatero, valedictorian of Saint Joseph Academy (now Holy Spirit School) in the late 1930s, who, when orphaned early, was left to care of her two brothers, and eventually got married to Hilario.

At 75, Wincesa Espejo- Araorao shows no signs of slowing down. 
As the founder of  Bukang Liwayway Dance Troupe, her favorite dance is Binasuan.
Seeing the example of modest, simple living of her parents, Wincesa grew up understanding the value of hard work, persistence and faith in God during the time when life in Tagbilaran was so simple and tranquil.

Graduating from Tagbilaran City Central Elementary School and Bohol High School Class of 1956 while dabbling time between studying, helping her parents with the carenderia at the “Pook Pantalan” and taking care of her six younger siblings, she proceeded to take up Bachelor of Science in Education – Major in Physical Education at the University of Southern Philippines as her fallback from the nursing course which was her original choice that was hindered by financial constraints.

At USP, she was a gymnast, organizer, founder and first president of the USP Banikanhon Dance Troupe and almost made it to the Philippine Swimming Team when she won gold medals for breaststroke and backstroke during the regional elimination, but she opted to be near her family in Bohol rather than go to Manila for the swimming team.

Following college graduation, she taught in Marawi, Mindano, then came back to her home province to teach Physical Education at her Alma Mater, Bohol High School where she was founder, choreographer and adviser of the Bukang Liwayway Dance Troupe (BLDT), celebrating its 35th year this year. The BLDT, sticking to its thrust of being a folkloric group, became the training ground for prospective members of other performing groups in Bohol like Diwanag Dance Theater and the new breed of Physical Education teachers and choreographers.

She became a politician’s wife when her husband, then Philippine Banking Corporation executive Derclo Reparatp Bongoyan Araoarao, won as Mayor of Panglao in the 1980 elections and served as local chief executive till 1986. One of the greatest milestones of the BLDT was becoming the grand champion of the province-wide “Hadla nga Bol-anon” folkdance competition in December 1986 via the “Kuratsa-Kuradang” entry which she choreographed, giving the group a chance to join the regional “Sayawit Festival” in Cebu City representing Bohol Division, where the BLDT performers won the grand prize, besting other contenders from Cebu City and other top-ranking school divisions.

Years earlier, she also trained and coached Bohol male and female gymnasts who figured in the regional level and later, sent to the Palarong Pambansa and made it to the top three finish. In June 1987, she was Summa Cum Laude while earning her Master of Arts degree from the University of Bohol.

By a sudden twist of fate, she was ushered to the land of Uncle Sam to find greener pastures.

The performing artist in her made her join the 2nd Annual Philippine Folk Dance Festival held at Schimmel Center for the Arts, Pace University, New York City with her favorite “Binasuan,” a dance of skill, where she was the only solo performer in the competition. She divided her time between earning a decent living in NYC, spending time with family and serving as Eucharistic Minister at Saint Ignatius of Loyola Church. At 75, she is content with God’s blessings of love of family – her children, Fiel Angeli Gabin, Information Officer of the City Government of Tagbilaran, with Jerome, Cielo and Renji; Reparato Anthony, a nurse at the Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas, with Shiela and Reesie; United States Army Sgt. Ann Claire Young of Raleigh, North Carolina, with Jabron, Jalen, Jayla and Jordy, and Coeli Marie, a web designer in Zephyrhills, Florida, with Alex, Sethie and Chloe.

“The one thing I can’t live without is prayers – communicating with God is the most basic part of my existence,” said Wincie.

Unlike most women, she’s not embarrassed to reveal her age—75 on Sunday, that is today (Sept. 28), 26 years of which have been lived- and how! in educating people- and 25 years living in the United States.

“Am I afraid of growing old?,” asked Wincie. “I am certainly not afraid of growing old. I am ready when the time comes that God calls for me.”

Now 75, Wincie is enjoying her staycation between Tagbilaran and US. She can avail of the privileges (discount in drugstores, restaurants and other places).

Even if she doesn’t look 75, that is.

Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at, follow leoudtohan at Twitter /Facebook.