Showing posts with label pork barrel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pork barrel. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hello, Villa de Gloria!

Scene: SILG Mar Roxas turned over 2.461 billion fund for Bohol quake recovery to Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto.

Bohol TNT members and participants
Scene: The revival of the Bohol Transparency Network for Transformation (TNT). Members and participants attended the Monitoring and Reporting Public Transparency and Accountability of the Citizen Action Network for Accountability (Cana) training series. It was facilitated by Rowena Paraan of the ational Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and head of ABS CBN's Bayan Mo, IPatrol Mo.

Scene: The Tuba and Kinilaw Festival tomorrow, June 9 in Albuquerque town.

Scene: Makeshift classrooms and tents have greeted the 140 pupils of Obujan-Tagubaas Elem. School in Antequera town during the first day of school. The makeshift classrooms and tents serve as temporary learning spaces for pupils. "This place is not conducive for learning; it's hot inside and muddy during rainy days," said Grade 5 teacher Nimfa Ayco. "Padayun gihapun ta sa pagtudlo para sa mga bata."

Scene: Dr. Cecilio Putong National High School in Tagbilaran City, Bohol has 4,058 students. The school has two shifts- a.m. (for Grade 7 and 8); p.m. (for Grade 9 and 10) to de-congest the number of students in the classroom, Principal 3 Concepcion Bagotchay said.

Paradise is the best word to describe Bohol known for its beautiful places and people. And what better way to enjoy it than to stay at one of Bohol’s newest resort, the Villa de Gloria.

The birth of Villa de Gloria is a new boutique style resort in Seaside, Songculan, in Dauis town in Panglao Island and a 10-minute drive from the Tagbilaran City airport.

The new Villa de Gloria in Songculan, Dauis, Panglao Island
“Its exclusive facilities in the modern and elegance blend with grandeur tropical atmosphere,” says the rising VJ Julan Crisale Cordova, a frequent visitor of the resort.

“Enjoy the luxurious setting of a world class resort with the amazing panoramic view overlooking the Philippine Sea and Maribojoc Mountain,” adds Julan.

All villas are in a Philippine-Balinese style with typical cogon grass roofing, built around a gorgeous infinity and kiddie pool surrounded by masterly designed lush tropical garden which are enchanting venues for weddings, meetings, reunions, parties and all types of gatherings in all occasions.

Take a peek and experience its wonderful accommodations composing honeymoon, deluxe ocean, ocean view villas with kitchen and superior ocean view suites.

“It offers an intimate holiday combined with personalized service from its charming and dedicated villa attendants,” says Julan. “And with their world class facilities and services.”

Ernie and Gloria Azucena, owners of Villa de Gloria
Villa de Gloria is owned by couple Ernie and Gloria Azucena. Ernie was an erstwhile vice president  of Specialized Waste System in Houston Texas and president of Passport Travel Group Inc. in Tampa, Florida, USA. He was also the former president of Pacific Waste Industries in Houston, Texas and became publisher of Philippine Observer and the president of Ursuline Group Inc. Houston Texas USA. On the hand, Gloria was formerly a trust administrator of Chase Bank and trust officer of Bank of New York in Houston, Texas, USA. They have three sons: Niel,Craig, and Marc, who are all presently living and working in Texas, USA.

The focus of the resort is to provide an authentic Bohol experience for visitors along with the comfort they expect from a resort.

For more info, visit or email at and; Contact Nos: +639179827090 (Philippines) and +7137858480 (US).

P.S. As what I have told you, Bohol’s tourism is back to normal, not only this summer but for the whole year round. As summer draws to a close, you might even find yourself experiencing a bit of the “end of summer blues.” But there’s no need to feel down, instead let’s beat those summertime blues with a new place to stay and relax in Villa de Glorial.

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

Monday, November 4, 2013

Tête-à-tête with Atty. Midas Marquez

• Clement is Region’s Outstanding SK
Tête-à-tête with Atty. Midas Marquez

Scene: Spotted in Bohol last week were Pinoy Dream Academy runner-up Ronnie Liang, Viva Hotbabe Jaycee Parker and Kapamilya star Aldred Gatchalian during Lila’s town fiesta.
Scene: The nation’s first Miss World, Megan Young, is back in the Philippines, her home country. Young was treated to a warm welcome by hundreds of people who had gathered at the airport to get a glimpse of their Miss World. Young was all smiles as she waved and greet to cheering fans during last Friday’s parade.

Scene: CenterStage band is getting ready for another big event on Oct. 15, the Foundation Day of Bohol Island State University.

While covering the fire incident in Poblacion 1 last Tuesday, Oct. 8, I chanced upon Tracy Remolador Torres who went there to see his friends. He asked me if I was able to read his Facebook status about the Bohol Cultural Center, which I honestly said with all honesty, “no.”

Tracy and other friends are “complaining” about being uncomfortable at the backstage of the Bohol Cultural Center. The experience, according to them, is like inside a furnace.

By the way, here is Tracy’s message (verbatim) addressed to Gov. Edgar Chatto and other concerned officials:

Tracy Torres




(Note: Tracy, a formal letter or to set an appointment with Gov. Chatto will greatly help. I am sure he would listen.)

Spotted in Tagbilaran City last Friday, Oct. 11, was Supreme Court Administrator Atty. Midas Marquez.

We see him all the time on TV who looks so cool despite the great stress in his job, you know announcing a controversial decision of the Supreme Court of which he’s the spokesperson, except when he accidentally pushed a microphone in a presscon in 2011 which became viral over the Internet and other social media sites.

Marquez came to Bohol not for a vacation but for a seminar (he was a resource person) initiated by the Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC), an environmental non-government organization committed to helping communities uphold their constitutional right to a healthful and balanced ecology.

Supreme Court Administrator Atty. Midas Marquez with your VRS.  Courtesy: Clarence J. Pesquira

Our tête-à-tête led to the judiciary's version of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.

He said he is already investigating, albeit discreetly, alleged corruption in the judiciary perpetrated by a certain “Ma’am Arlene".

He also explained that there are no public funds involved in the alleged transactions. He also said that when he checked the facts of reports of 50 rooms being booked in Manila Peninsula, it turned out to be false.

Palagay ko small time ito compared kay Napoles. Pangalawa, ang Napoles incident involved sa public funds kaban ng bayan, dito naman walang public funds involved ito. Simple graft corruption ito...dapat maimbestigahan,” explained Marquez.

Marquez said that the investigation is moving and that before people will be named, they have to conduct a more extensive investigation.

He said that there are three different "Arlenes" being looked into in the investigation. Initial findings pointed to a clerk from the Court of Appeals, a former employee at the Manila Regional Trial Court, and a known contact from Manila City Hall.

“Base sa ating unang imbestigasyon, mayroong three ‘Arlenes’...ayaw kong pangalanan muna kasi very raw yung information natin,” said Marquez.

Marquez also said that based on the initial findings, the issue started because of the hotly contested PJA elections. It started as a smear campaign against someone aspiring for the presidency of the Philippine Judges Association (PJA), which was picked up by some columnists in newspapers.

During the convention and election of officers of  PJA (Judge Ralph Lee of RTC Quezon City won as President, while Boholana Marlou Magdoza-Malagar of RTC Manila was elected VP for administration), Marquez reminded the judges of their role in the society.

Doon sa pagtatapos ng convention at election ng Philippine Judges Association, medyo sinabihan natin ang ating mga judges na sila ay mga huwes at  hindi pulitiko. At dapat hindi mangyayari yun sa judiciary. Nakakalungkot dahil ito sana ang pagkakataon na umangat ang Judiciary. Kaso dahil sa election na ito, dahil sa paratang na yan, pati na ang Judiciary bumabagsak talaga,” lamented Marquez.

Incidentally, after we talked, we heard the bells ringing at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, St. Joseph Cathedral and other churches in the Diocese of Tagbilaran as part of the national sounding of church bells against pork barrel called by the church-based group Church People's Alliance against Pork Barrel.

Clement Paulinel Ingking was selected as Region VII’s The Outstanding Barangay Official of Year 2013 or TOBOY for SK Chairperson Category on Oct. 10 in Cebu City.

“It was like in the Cloud Nine and feeling nako worth it tanan efforts, initiatives and sacrifices that I made in order to pursue my passion of public service,” Clement told VRS.

Clement Ingking
At 15, Clement was elected SK barangay chairman of Booy in Tagbilaran City in 2010.

Clement initiated worthy projects for the youth in his barangay such as zero out of school youth in Booy,  seminars on youth development, livelihood and entrepreneurship, disaster coordination and health task force, education services, moral recovery activities and anti-drug abuse campaign, sports program and community immersion activities.

Unlike other officials who are tardy coming to the barangay hall, Clement has his presence in the barangay hall every vacant time during class days.

“Yes, he has perfect attendance,” confirmed Booy Barangay Captain Jun Telmo. “We are proud of him that the winner came from our barangay of Booy.”  Telmo is seeking reelection this October.  

Clement has the ability to lead, motivate and influence people. Being a good leader for him means being strong by taking the risks yet, still being optimistic. He also motivated and influenced his SK and KK members and the barangay constituents as a whole.

“I want them to be a part of an active crusade for change in the system of government and let them be participative in everything,” shared Clement.

Is he running for a higher position?

“I’m running for barangay kagawad in order to continue serving not only the youth but for the whole community na,” said Clement. “Even though wala nay SK (Pres. Aquino has signed into law a bill postponing the SK elections scheduled on Oct. 28- LPU), I’ll make sure mapadayon nako ang kalambu-an sa community.”

The recent award is another feather to his well-decorated cap.  He was chosen as The Outstanding Sangguniang Kabataan Chairman (TOSKA) in 2012, Mr. and Miss Teen Bohol 2012 Top 5, ICM’s Kiddie Idol Champion in 2006, ICM’s Model Quest 2007 (male category champion), Mr. Alturas 2011, Mr. Bohol Island State University (BISU) FreshFace 2011, Lakandula ng BISU 2011, Mr. Sophie Paris 2012 and Mr. BISU-Main Campus 2012 first runner-up.

TOBOY is designed to give recognition to barangay officials who have shown exemplary performance in the discharge of their functions. It is jointly undertaken by the Local Administration and Development Program Alumni Association of the Philippines (LADPAAP) Region 7 Chapter, the DILG and the Liga ng mga Barangay of Region 7.

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

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Chop the pork and beauty pageant gaffe

Angry but peaceful anti-pork protest held in Bohol
• Latest beauty pageant gaffe in America goes viral

Last week’s highlights and surprises:

Surprise: On Miley Cyrus' twerking performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, many find it awkward. We were surprised to see her tongue constantly sticking out, grabbing her crotch, molesting a dancer's butt and grinding aggressively against Robin Thicke and sucking a foam finger! Looking at the audience reaction that awarding night, most of them were dumbfounded. Many didn’t find it sexy including my nephews and cousins who liked her during her Hannah Montana days.)

Highlight: In Bohol, less than 200 concerned citizens and taxpayers came to Plaza Rizal in Tagbilaran City to join the nationwide Million March Protest, demanding an end to the alleged misuse of public funds.

Spotted in the event was former provincial administrator Antonio Amora who joined the crowd in giving burning insights about the pressing issue.

Marianito Luspo came to protest the pork barrel misuse.

Environmental activist  Zenaida Darunday, who came with friends Adelia Dela Serna, Rosemarie Schwartz, Winston Bolo, Novis Lagunay, Dr. Virgie Bube, Roebert Varquez, Bert Gacera, Celio Tomoc, said they attended the event to show their outrage on the pork barrel system of the government.

Angry but peaceful Million March anti-pork protest was held in Bohol last Monday banding people from different walks of life and many sectors of society.- LPU

Doris Dinorog-Obena was there as one of the volunteers who “organized” the citizen-driven activity.

“We are here to signify our sentiments to scrap the pork and any form, our stand is not to be resurrected in any form,” said Dinorog-Obena.

There were also Mitzi Ibaya, teacher DenDen Calope, Lope Hubac, Atty. Alma Aparece with former CM-SCA Secretariat members, Fr. Dennis Salazar, Pat Ruiz, Dr. Zaldy Buac, Ric Ramasola, Engr. James Uy and Noel Uy.

Miko Cañares was also at the Plaza Rizal to show support to the people's demand for transparency and accountability from our government officials. His wife Arlene Salgados and kid were also there.

Mytee Palo shared the sentiment of the people. There were also NGO people like Alvin Acuzar and his two kids, Emie Roslinda, Joy Balane, Regina Estorba-Macalandag and Liza Macalandag.

There were also Jeff Bernasor, A. Hontanosas, Doy Bantugan, Rey Anthony Chiu, Judith Sumatra-Uy, Ric Obedencio, Paul Vistal, Nobet Bolo and some BCBP members.

During the mass at the St. Joseph Cathedral, there were Atty. Myrna Pagsuberon, Marissa Tuazon of Pakisama,  Suki Plaza Cyrus Lobrigas, Ruben Balistoy, Inting Loquellano and Msgr. Nalzaro.

The participants also agreed to ask the former congressmen who are allegedly involved in the pork barrel scam to explain to the Boholano people.

 “Nagkasinabot sab mi sa among tapuk karun nga manawagan sa kanhi congressmen nga naapil sa mga congresman nga nagahatag sa grupo ni Napoles,” said Acuzar. “Ihatag nila ang responsibilidad nga masabtan sa lalawigang Bol-anon kung giunsa, ug asa ug kinsa ang gitagaan sa maong pondo. Tungod kay mituo ta nga ang kausaban sa panawagan sa maong abolition sa PDAF magsugod diri sa atong lokal.”

After the Million March, the fugitive Janet Lim-Napoles, alleged brains of the P10-billion pork barrel scam, surprised the whole nation when, after hiding for two weeks, suddenly surrendered to Pres. Aquino.

Stay tuned: The night Napoles surrendered, the pork barrel scam saga is far from over.

I bet you didn’t know that a Filipina is probably the most well-known pageant contestant right now.

After US-based Boholano socialite Mikey Gatal uploaded the video of the QnA portion of the Miss Philippines-USA 2013 held in California, it has gone viral, appearing on multiple news sites such as the E! News, Huffington Post, Daily Mail and CNN.

Candidate Number 13 Joanlia Lising was asked by a presenter which of the “five senses” (vision, hearing, taste, smell, touch) she would pick if she could only choose one.

Joanlia Lising's nervous answer was: “Thank you for that wonderful question."If I have to pick out of the five senses, I would pick seeing, because seeing is the best sense that we can ever see, because seeing is believing, and believing into what you see is perfect... and... um... out of all those senses... seeing... would really be wonderful... thank you... that will be it.”


The Miss Philippines USA 2013 candidate’s cringe-inducing Q&A answer becomes a viral video hit. –Screenshot from CNN
Everyone was confused.

I’d asked Mikey (who was one of those behind the search) for his comment.

“First of all, thanks for your great understanding, about the pageant thing, I really felt so bad about the whole situation, I did not mean to hurt Joanlia Lising, I just did my part to blog all candidates Q and A, didn't expect this will become a big issue and it went viral,” said Mikey.

In my opinion, Lising was probably overly nervous.

Remember, it is not easy to be onstage. Ask any candidate and she would agree. Right Raul?

The interview portion is always the most dreaded segment in a beauty pageant. It is in this segment that we love to hear how smart and eloquent the candidates are. Most of the time, in beauty contest you can't easily find a perfect mix-up of beauty and brains.

Meanwhile, the annual charity project of Mikey (thru his Mikey Gatal Charity Inc.  in cooperation with Guindulman Association of California,Southern Area or GACSA)  was held on August 24 in Barangay Canhaway, Guindulman. 

Mikey gave out slippers to children too poor to afford them.

Mikey came out with the idea years ago during her vacation in Bohol.  He had realized the extent of the need for slippers, which is something a lot of people take for granted.

“More than 300 kids have received new and nice slippers they can use,” said Nikki Gatal-Quintia who supervised the activity.

Thank God, it’s September 1!

Do you smell Christmas in the air? Welcome the “ber” months!

The start of September also means that Christmas is just around the corner as the world’s longest Christmas season unfolds in the Philippines.

Never mind if the whole country just got shaken by the pork barrel scam, the Filipinos’ enduring spirit could never be shut down.

Today, radio programs begin playing holiday tunes. It can’t be denied that Christmas songs can help lift our moods.  And the thought of Christmas decor and Christmas bonus make the “Ber” months more exciting!

Now that the “Ber” month is finally upon us, the mornings are expected to get colder in the coming days.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Note: As you read this paper, I already sent my Christmas greetings to my high school classmate and VDT-LC principal Elaine Joy Auza. We have had our contest of “Who Can Greet First Merry Christmas on September 1” since we’re in high school. As expected, I won for the nth time!
Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at, follow leoudtohan at Twitter /Facebook.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Pork barrel, the Disney Princesses and the Midwife

Scene: Pres. Pnoy may had finally agreed to abolish the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)¸ more popularly known as pork barrel, but the planned nationwide protest tomorrow, August 26, against the PDAF scam
will continue, particularly in Tagbilaran City. Organized by some civic groups, the activity will start at 9 a.m. at the Plaza Rizal. The event will fall on the same day the country celebrates National Heroes' Day. Scores of people from this city and other parts of Bohol have committed to express their outrage against the “pork barrel” scandal.

Super thanks, Mrs. Calipayan

Remember Mrs. Catalina Reyes-Calipayan? Yes, her name rings a bell to many moms in Tagbilaran City and even in many towns of Bohol.

I met her for the first time in 2008 after searching her for 27 years. It was a privilege seeing her, especially since she was there when I was born and I heard good things about her.

Mrs. Calipayan now 76 years old
My Mama Inday used to tell me about how she gave birth to me at our home with the help of Mrs. Calipayan. Of all her children, I was the only one delivered at home. My other siblings were born in the hospital. But why a home delivery? Just like many women in the Eighties, my mother had full freedom of choice to have the birth she wants and needs. Of course, she felt assured that everything was fine because of the help of an independent and knowledgeable midwife like her.

Five years later, I visited Mrs. Calipayan for the second time last Tuesday, August 20. She is now 76 years old; age has certainly not withered her. She shows no sign of slowing down. She remains in good health-no weakening knees, no deteriorating vision and no signs of senility.

The young Catalina had begun her career as a midwife after she finished schooling at the age of 18. She shared that midwifery was the most difficult course during her time.

A midwife does more than just deliver babies because she is present at every birth, whether at home or in hospital. She touches everyone’s life.

Since public transportation was scarce in 1970s and 1980s, Mrs. Calipayan had to walk kilometers helping mothers in labor, especially those who gave birth at dawn.

“Praise God, in my long years as a midwife all the children are alive. And when I hold the baby and heard her crying I’m so happy and blessed because there’s another miracle from heaven,” she enthusiastically said.

She also narrated a risky situation in 1970s when she was asked by a man who was a member of a rebel group whose wife was about to give birth. She had to walk kilometres in a rough road in order to reach the camp. After the baby was born, there was a firefight between the rebel group and the army. She hid the mother and the child until everything was cleared.

That’s me with Mrs. Catalina Calipayan, the woman whose first pair of eyes that lands sight on me.
Mrs. Calipayan became president of the Integrated Midwives Association of the Philippines-Bohol chapter. She’s also an officer and adviser of the Philippine League of Government and Private Midwives in the region and laid the foundation of lying-in centers in Bohol.

Already retired, Mrs. Calipayan has decided to use whatever goodwill her being a midwife wielded. She now devotes her energies to events related to midwifery and to attend the needs of her grandchildren.  

She’s helping mothers give birth joyfully without fear.  Her story is truly touching and inspiring.

Before leaving, I asked my nephew YakYak to take a souvenir photo of us together.

Super thanks Mrs. Calipayan, see you again!

The Disney Princesses are loved by all generations. Since they are fascinating, small girls want to become princesses. Actually, I met some of them when I went to Disney world this year in California. And they are lovely!

Anyway, here’s an article forwarded by Ariel Sarabosing (named after Ariel, the mermaid) of Tagbilaran City about the “6 weird things about being a Disney Park Princess” she culled in the Internet courtesy of
Business Insider.

The “secrets” were told by a former Snow White, among the juicy tidbits from the Disney princess confidential:

- You've got to have the right body type. While princesses are between 5'4" and 5'7", Tinkerbell, Alice and Wendy must be more petite -- between 4'11" to 5'2".

- Princess age out quickly. Most are played by women between 18 and 23. A 27-year-old princess would be considered over the hill--ouch!

- There's some serious princess primping. Getting the look -- costume, makeup-wig -- takes about an hour, with frequent touch-ups throughout the day.

- Princesses deal with stalkers. This particular actress dealt with a creepy fan who became was convinced she was the real Snow White, and threatened to kill the imitators. Security!

- It's hard to make it a career. Princesses make about $13 to $16 an hour, which works out to a starting salary of around $27,000, with little chance for a significant raise.  

- There's no world except Disney World. A princess can never acknowledge things outside her character's world (so she's totally not gonna get that SpongeBob shirt you're wearing). Also, off the clock, talking about Disney (or even revealing what princess she plays) on social media is verboten. Guess that's why she's staying anonymous!

US-based Boholano socialite Mikey Gatal with Disney character Alice. Incidentally, Mikey is celebrating six years of with a charity event in Guindulman through the Mikey Gatal Kids Foundation.

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