Showing posts with label kalag-kalag. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kalag-kalag. Show all posts

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Meet Aurelio Gahit aka ‘Ondoy Gamay Kalag’

Aurelio Romero Gahit, popular known as “Ondoy Gamay Kalag (The boy with little soul)”, 64, spends most of his life at Victoria Memorial Park (ViMPark) in Tagbilaran City.

He is famous for his “graveside etiquette”-being a gentleman of tact, respect, and sensitivity at the occasion of someone’s burial. He shows us how to behave during a graveside service with the same attitude of respect and courtesy.

 is being a gentleman of tact, respect, and sensitivity at the occasion of someone’s burial.
Photo by Leo Udtohan/Bohol Chronicle
“Ako si Ondoy Gamay Kalag muhangyo sa iyong malumoy nga kasing-kasing nga maghiluman kitang tanan para respetuhon nato atong igsuon nga mingpanaw,” he said.

(I am Ondoy Gamay Kalag, I am asking your kind hearts to please keep silent to respect our departed brother/sister.)

Onday Kalag said he started working for the late Doña Basilisa “Basing” Casas- Lim when he was a teen.

THE BEAUTIFUL and iconic mausoleums or tombs at Victoria Memorial Park.
Photos by Leo Udtohan/Bohol Chronicle
“Doña Basing owned the Sweet Lines,” he said.

When ViMPark was opened to the public on Sept. 15, 1972, he was appointed park coordinator.

However, it was only in 1975 when someone was laid to rest at ViMPark.

Today, VimPark houses the 5,000 remains- from ordinary to famous personalities- including the late Bohol Gov. Erico Aumentado, lawyer and educator Will Tirol, Lim Poh, Doña Basilisa “Basing” Casas- Lim, provincial board member Socorro Buslon-Tallo, businessman Antonio Ong Guat, Grace Christian Church pastor-teacher Nelson Rio, JJ’s Obdulio Caturza, Sr and wife Juana, Peanut Kisses matriarch Carolina Alvarez, et al.

Boy Kalag, who has a mind as sharp as a steel trap, admitted he could not recall the 5,000.

“Not at all,” he said. “However, I can assure you that they rest here forever.” Although he worried that some letters that were originally chiselled on some gravestones have since faded.

“I offer prayers for them,” he said, “And I pray that their loved ones can visit them.”

The ViMPark is divided into four phases- the gardens of Hope, Grace, Promise and Faith –named after the ships owned by Doña Basing.

Ondoy Kalag also said that at ViMPark, love is forever. He said he could not forget a man who spent over 10 years holding vigil by his wife’s grave every day, arriving when the cemetery opened and heading home when it closed,  before he fell ill.

“When his wife died, part of him died, too,” he said, “That was real love. Tinuod nga naay forever.”

He said he feels more comfortable living with the dead. Except for one horrific incident in 1993  when a mantiyanak (a woman who died in labor) appeared and stirred the neighborhood. Many people heard her singing lullabies to her baby, causing hair-raising chills and making them trembled in fear.

Onday Kalag lost his nerve at the sight of the mantiyanak.

“She appeared to me,” he said. He went to see a Catholic priest and he was told to pray at the grave of the person. After praying, the spirit was gone.

Boy Kalag has retired two years ago, but he keeps going to VimPark to assist his son, Victor, 34, who took over his job. His wife, Teofista “Itang”, 58, son Roland, 32; daughters-Abeta, 30; and Bella, 26, are there to support him.

Living all his life at the ViMPark, Ondoy Kalag said wo/man has a soul.

“Naa jud kalag ang tawo. The body, being finite, does die. Yet the soul, the essence of our loved one, is eternal,” he said.

He said visiting the cemetery on All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day is remembering our loved ones.

“That they’re gone but not forgotten. Our connection lives on and will never die,” he said.

For the celebration of  Kalag-Kalag, he urged the visitors to show respect to their departed love ones by keeping the cemetery’s premises clean all the time.

He said the VimPark administration has been preparing for this annual observance since last week, in close coordination with the City police station.

He also said he had deployed numerous signages located at the cemetery’s strategic locations to keep people abreast of VimPark’s dos and don’ts.

“Definitely, loud music is not allowed in the cemetery during Kalag-kalag because we visit the cemetery to pray for our departed loved ones and not to disco,” he said.

Through history, societies have commemorated their dead in various ways.

Ondoy Kalag named the beautiful and iconic mausoleums or tombs (elsewhere in this page), that reflect people's need to immortalize the important figures of their time, or their own selves.

Provincial director Superintendent Dennis Agustin said that deployment of police officers at police assistance desks (PADs) on cemeteries was strictly implemented to ensure the safety of Boholanos during the celebration of Kalag-Kalag.

“We’re full alert on Oct. 30,” said Agustin.

He also urged the public to refrain from bringing firearms, deadly weapons and liquor while visiting their departed loved ones.

According to Agustin, they would not only secure cemeteries, but also places frequented by the public like the Dao Bus Terminal, airport, seaports, churches and other areas.

He also said patrol cars and ambulances from the Department of Health (DOH) or local government units (LGUs) would complement the PADs for quick response during emergencies.

Meanwhile, the prices of flowers tripled in Tagbilaran’s flower markets on Friday two days before All Saints' Day weekend.

Vendors sell flowers along C. Marapao Street corner H. Grupo Street, which underwent an extensive repair. They said they were not allowed to sell at the Tagbilaran City Square to avoid heavy traffic.

The prices of Malaysian mums went up from P180 to P350 per dozen, P35 per piece; Chrysanthemum from P70 to P120 per dozen, P20 per piece; Baby’s breath from P60 to P150 per dozen; roses- P300 to P350 per dozen, P30 to P35 per piece; and orchids from P300 to P500 per dozen, P40 to P50 per piece.

Small potted flowers, which normally cost just P50, is now at P100 to P300 each. Flower baskets now cost P150 to P300 from the usual P100 to P250. Elaborate flower arrangements are pegged at P800 to P2,000 or almost tripled the price off-season. Bouquet ranges from P300 to P1,500; while flowers arranged in stands are sold at P600 to P10,000 already.

Vendor Olive Betonio said there are enough flowers for the said tradition. She, however, said that prices of flowers are a bit more expensive this year.

Florist Eddie Dahunog said that there is enough supply of flowers but the price tripled this year because supplies of flowers are from Cebu, Baguio and Cagayan de Oro City.

“First, our flower supply was damaged by typhoon Lando. Second, the cost of transportation is higher. We buy flowers at high price,” said Dahunog.

He, however, said that he would not increase the price because the flowers are already expensive.

“They can ask for discount,” he said.

Residents who bought flowers significantly increase as the stalls opened on Friday. Most of them said that they bought earlier to avoid discomfort of overcrowding.

Flower vendors said the stalls are open 24 hours on Friday until the night of Nov. 2.

However, the prices for candles are still low and fair.

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Famous graves in Bohol

When famous people such as educators, writers, lawmakers and musicians die, it seems like a part of us dies with them, especially when they “leave” too early. The list of those who shined, and then were gone too soon is long.

The public honors well known people they may never have met by visiting their grave sites after they have passed. Four of the best places for “seeing Bohol’s who’s who” in spirit are located in Tagbilaran City, as you might guess.

Thousands of people of various ages flock to the cemeteries 
as early as Oct. 31 for the traditional yearly visit to tombs, in loving 
remembrance of the dearly departed during Kalag-Kalag. -LPU
The Victoria Memorial Park is renowned for the many who’s who buried there since 1975. Notable interred here include Doña Basing, Obdulio Caturza Sr. and his wife Juana, businessman Antonio Ong Guat, Dr. Prisco and Socorro Tallo, Rep. and Governor Erico Aumentado, Peanut Kisses matriarch Carolina Alvarez, Grace Christian Church founder Dr. Nelson Rio Sr., educator- lawyer Victoriano Will Tirol Jr.,  et al.

(Note: Finding a ‘who’s who’ grave is rarely a simple task at any park, and because Victoria is so large, look for Ondoy Kalag who is ready to assist your needs.)

The Dampas Catholic Cemetery in Tagbilaran City features the final resting places of many industry professionals and leaders from across eras. Dean of Boholano journalist lawyer Zoilo “Jun” Dejaresco and his wife Rosario, Miguel Parras, Bernardino Inting, UB treasurer Asuncion Mira, composer and soldier Alberto Caingglet, former city councilor Dr. Margarito Lim and Alona’s entertainer Uly Dolojol are among the most recognizable of the interred.

Only a few meters away from Dampas Catholic Cemetery is the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) cemetery (for members only). And it is also the final resting place of Dr. James Alexander Graham and his wife Merne. Graham was a native of Scotland, the first medical missionary in Bohol. The Graham Avenue named after him.

Displaced tombs and coffins in Calape town during
 last year's quake remains scattered until now.-LPU

The Masonic Cemetery of the Dagohoy Lodge No. 84 also hosts the some of the most prominent deceased in all of history.  First University of Bohol president Victoriano D. Tirol Sr. and his wife Illuminada, educator Pio Castro, Catalino Castillo and Angelita Tormis are among the diverse famous buried here.  

PRAYERS AND FLOWERS – To all those who’ve gone ahead, our prayers and flowers. No more tears at this point.

As they come to mind: Francisco Dagohoy, Tamblot, Datu Si Katuna, Anoy Datahan,  Pres. Carlos P. Garcia, Vicente T. Cubero a.k.a. Captain Francisco Salazar,  Jose Clarin, Fermin Torralba, Dr. Cecilio Putong, Tomas Cloma, Vicente Nunag, Celestino Gallares, Macario Sarmiento, Fernando Rocha, Eutiquio Boyles, Filomeno Caseñas, Agapito Hontanosas, Conrado Marapao, Perfecto Balili, Jacinto Borja, Juan Pajo, Esteban Bernido, Lino Chatto, Esteban Bernido, Rep. Venice Borja-Agana, Dr. Pio Castro, Simeon Toribio, Nino Ramirez, Honorio Grupo, Don Aniceto Clarin, Simplicio Apalisok, Venancio Inting, Pedro Belderol, Genaro Visarra, Alfonso Uy, Salustiano Borja, Anecito Clarin, Olegario Clarin, Jacinto Borja, Claudio Gallares, Juan Torralba, Atty. Donato Galia, Miguel Parras, Jacinto Remolador, Gregorio Peñaflor, Timoteo Butalid, Andres Torralba, Mariano Capayas, Tagbilaran City Mayor Jose Ma. Rocha, Osang (Bohol’s broa queen), Philippine King of Novelty Songs Yoyoy Villame, Asia’s best actress Rebecca del Rio,  Inday Potenciana, Justino Romea, Oscar Real, Segundo Lim, Marecor Recio-Boligao, fashion artist Linoi Almirol, hymnist and composer Onie Oclarit, topnotch lawyer Oscar Glovasa, et al.

Demons and evils at ICM for this year's scariest Halloween costume.  -LPU
From the press: Palanca winner and Bohol Sunday Post columnist Cloviz Nazareno, radio reporter Fil “Hitman” Layao, Bohol Balita Daily News publisher Tony  Silagon, Bohol Sunday Post columnist-lawyer Isabelo Sales, dyTR’s Showbiz Chikka anchor Anzing Poquita, radio reporter Ben Pingkian, Bohol Sunday Post publisher Boy Guingguing and Bohol Standard publisher and Tagbilaran councilor- lawyer Aleckoy Lim.  

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

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Remembering our loved ones…and CPG

Scene: Six teams are competing for the first Tarsier Ultimate Frisbee Tournament held at CPG Sports Complex yesterday and today. According to Beryl Lupot, one of the organizers, Ultimate is a team sport played with a flying disc. Wikipedia adds, “The object of the game is to score points by passing the disc to a player in the opposing end zone, similar to an end zone in American football or the in-goal area in rugby.  Players may not run with the disc, and must keep a pivot while holding the disc.”
Scene: Nearly 100 children together with their parents celebrated Halloween by trick-or-treating last Oct. 28 at the Island City Mall. The Activity Center was decorated in a spooky yet fun way for the Halloween celebration. The children roamed the mall in their best costumes and were given prizes for being scary-looking, cute and having the most elaborate disguise. A one-month old baby girl was the youngest participant.
Seen: The 12 contestants of the Scariest Halloween Costume 2012. The contestants dressed in movie-inspired Halloween outfits, like Freddie, Jason and other evil dead characters. (Lamok:” 'I'll swallow your soul!')
If I do Visita Iglesia during Holy Week, I do Visita Cementerio - that is my own version of visiting cemeteries during Kalag-Kalag. My visit gives me spiritual realization and the chance to know more of our sam-ang and the people who passed away.
Days before Kalag-Kalag, Inday Charity and I visited an ancient graveyard at Basdio, Guindulman.  There were many boat-shaped coffins in Duero, Candijay, Mabini and Anda which were utilized by our ancestors to understand the belief system particularly in relation to beliefs about the soul and the afterlife. I have been there several times and I’d noticed that only few of the boat-shaped coffins or bangka can be found wedged on cliff sides.
Boat coffin
On boat coffins, Prof. Jose Marianito Luspo said, “It’s part of the belief system of the ancient people that death is like a river or passage to other life which can be reached by a body of water. Among the ancient Greek they believe the so called river Styx that can traverse by spirit on his way to the afterlife. It’s not surprising, here in the Philippine also has that tradition. We human beings are born to the womb of our mother which is always liquid-filled. Perhaps this give an idea to the ancient people that when we die we pass thru the passage.”
 On Nov. 1, I visited the Dampas Catholic Cemetery. It houses the remains of the dean of Boholano journalists lawyer Zoilo Dejaresco and wife Rosario, Miguel Parras, Bernardino Inting, Asuncion Mira, composer and military man Alberto Cainglet, Dr. Margarito Lim, et al.
Few meters from Dampas Catholic Cemetery is the cemetery for UCCP members. It houses the remains of Dr. James Alexander Graham and his wife Merne. Graham was a native of Scotland, the first medical missionary in Bohol.
The Masonic Cemetery of the Dagohoy Lodge No. 84 houses the remains of UB first president Victoriano D. Tirol Sr. and his wife Iluminada, Pio Castro, Catalino Castillo, Angelita Tormis, et al.
The Victoria Memorial Park was laid out in 1975 in a park-like, rural setting away from the center of the city. Notables interred here include Doña Basing, Obdulio Caturza Sr. and his wife Juana, businessman Antonio Ong Guat, Carolina Alvarez, church founder Dr. Nelson Rio Sr., et al.  (Note: Boy Kalag is there to guide you.)
From Tagbilaran, I went to Calape to visit the tomb of another great Boholano. Outside the Calape Catholic Cemetery was the tomb of Roman “Yoyoy” Tesorio-Villame, the Philippine King of Novelty Songs.
I was roasted under the scorching sun when I went to Loon Catholic Cemetery to find the tomb or grave of Justino “Tining” Romea. However, I failed to find his tomb. An old woman told me that Nong Tining was buried in Maribojoc.  I also saw the tomb of Juan “Aning” Relampagos, a World War II veteran and mayor of Loon (1951 to 1959).
From Loon, I went back to Tagbilaran to visit the Taloto Catholic Cemetery to offer flowers to my relatives. And I spent the night with my cousins at Victoria Memorial Park to visit the graves of my sister, aunts, uncles and relatives.
There were no major hitches as we remember our loved ones during Kalag-Kalag. Floral offerings were made as early as Nov. 1. Many of us stayed overnight at cemeteries. Many took it as an opportunity to make money. Vendors sold flowers, candles, siomai, doughnuts and other food products. Children cleaned the tombs or graves for money. They also collected and sold melted candles.
Memories give comfort.
Today, November 4, Bohol celebrates the 116th birthday of Most Illustrious Son, the late President Carlos P. Garcia (CPG). As we remember CPG on his 116th birth anniversary, may we be inspired by his example of prioritizing the interests of the Filipino people.
Born in November 4, 1896, CPG was a teacher, poet, orator, lawyer, public official, political economist and guerilla leader. His administration was anchored on three basic policies: Austerity, Filipino First Policy and Cultural Revival.
In addition to being a political leader, CPG was a poet, orator and teacher. He was known as the “Prince of Visayan Poets” and the “Bard from Bohol.”
I am putting out the lyrics of one of my favorite Visayan songs that has a humbling effect on me and, I’m sure, on anybody who digests its lyrics. Yes, I’ve put out the song Carlos P. Garcia: Bantugang Bol-anon by Onecimo “Onie” Oclarit from his Ubilandia album for CPG‘s birthday today and I think another replaying of it anytime won’t do any harm.
Okay, all together now:
Carlos P. Garcia: Bantugang Bol-anon
Ang lalawigang Bol-anon
May anak nga bantugan
Matarung ug maligdong
Sulundon ug buotan.
Ang iyang mga mithi
Gugma ug kaangayan
Pag- alagad nga hingpit
Sa yuta tang natawhan.
Ug halad ka sa langit
Alang Bol-anon katawhan
Ang mga buhat mong matarung
Kanunay namong gikamingawan
Ang dila mong balaknon
Garbo ning yutang tabunon
Carlos P. Garcia buhi ka sa tanang panahon.
Ikaw mao ang kadasig,
Ikaw mao ang kalagsik,
Ikaw mao ang kahayag,
Sa dalan namong mangitngit.
Among paninguhaun ang pagsunod sa imong mga lakang
Ug ang imong pagtulun-an
Dili namo hikalimtan.
And maybe while humming that song, you and I can further reflect on the greatness of CPG with the help of another song, Pres. Carlos P. Garcia, a finalist of the 1996 Bohol Song Festival performed by Marjorie Rebuya and written by Rudy Tutor.
Ikaw Carlos P. Garcia
Ang kanunay ginahandum sa mga Pilipinhon
Tungod sa imong kinaiya
nga kanamong mga Bol-anon mapasigarbuhon.
Ang pagpangalagad mo sa katawhan
Gipanaminan, gilarawan ug dili hikalimtan
Gibuhos mo ang  kaugalingon
Aron pagtagbaw sa kinabag-an mong mga igsoon…
Nagsuod siya sa pakarepresetante
Hangtud nga nahimong nasudnong presidente
Batid na ka pangagamhanan
First Filipino First Policy ikaw ang amahan
Talagsaun kang alagad nga wa magpaadunahan
Ni wala magpabuhong sa kaugalingon sa pangatundanan
Matiunud-anon ka ug ang dughan mo puno sa gugma
Pagkadalaygon mo President Carlos P. Garcia…
Just recently, Inday Charity and I visited the CPG Heritage House (formerly the Bohol Museum). The last time I have been there was in 2002, but it is good to see that the CPG Heritage House is still there to make the dream of leaving a legacy for CPG – the man and his works – but also to create an opportunity for this legacy to continue, which the heritage house now stands for.
Spending a day at the CPG Heritage House is like getting reacquainted with the life and works of CPG. It is a two storey strong concrete, white house. On display here are some of the late president's memorabilia - you may take time to see old photographs and read some notes about CPG.
Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at, follow leoudtohan at Twitter /Facebook.