Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hasta la vista EJ! Goodbye Susan Fuentes!

Goodbye, EJ, hasta la vista!
•Goodbye Susan Fuentes!

Scene: The 7th School Press Advisers Movement Inc. (SPAM) was held in Tagbilaran City, Bohol on Sept. 12-14 attended by student writers and advisers in the country. Two GMA pillars are recognized by SPAM with their first awards of excellence for media practitioners. GMA News anchor and “Imbestigador ng Bayan” Mike Enriquez has received the Award of Excellence in the Field of Broadcasting, while GMA News Online Editor-in-Chief Howie Severino has received the Award of Excellence in the Field of Documentary Reportage. With the theme “Intensifying the power of Campus Paper in Protecting and Preserving the Environment and Natural Resources,” the convention aims to recognize the excellent services of campus journalists and advisers, hone their talents, and provide them with the recent trends in campus journalism.

Mike Enriquez and Howie Severino during the 7th SPAM
Scene: Dindo Tallo and his wife Rose (Miss Tagbilaran 1987 first runner-up) were in Bohol to attend to their father’s wake and burial.  Dindo is the eldest son of Dr. Prisco Tallo who died on August 28. Dr. Tallo served as resident physician of the Bohol Provincial Hospital and chief of the Loon District Hospital and Carmen Cong. Natalio Castillo Memorial Hospital, respectively.

Scene: Maria Mercedes ang pangalan ko! Sa 'king pamilya'y tumutulong ako. Nagtatrabaho ng kahit ano. Sanay ako magbanat ng buto...Maria Mercedes, the Mexican telenovela starring Thalia will be back on primetime. The first official teaser for the Philippine remake of the hit Mexican series "Maria Mercedes" was released last week. The clip uploaded on ABS-CBN's official YouTube page shows lead actress Jessy Mendiola dancing in a long red dress -- a throwback to the iconic take of Mexican superstar Thalia on the title character. The teaser also offers a brief taste of the updated Filipino version of the series' theme song, as first heard in the local telecast of the original "Maria Mercedes" in 1996. Thalia fans couldn’t wait to see the soap. Si señor!

Ania si Rosas Pandan
Gikan pa intawn sa kabukiran
Kaninyo makiguban-uban
Sa gisaulog nga kalingawan

Balitaw day akong puhunan
Maoy kabilin sa akong ginikanan
Awit nga labing karaan
Maoy garbo sa kabungturan

Ayayay ayayay ayayay!
Ayay sa akong balitaw
Kanindot ba mosayaw
Daw yamog ang kabugnaw

Tigadong tigadong tigadong!
Ayay usab si Dodong
Nagtan-aw kang Inday
Nagtabisay ang laway...

Susan Fuentes
I’m not sure how old I was at the time but I remember singing Rosas Pandan while the song was being played by our neighbors back in old Booy. The neighborhood was simple. Technology was slow then. Since only a handful few had TV, most people tuned in on radio especially on Sundays for their favorite oldies.

I also remember Rosas Pandan was used as talent in barangay beauty pageants and amateur singing contests. It was easy to sing. It still is. Thanks to the Queen of Visayan Songs Susan Fuentes, who’s a half-Boholana-half Butuanon, who also has a string of other enduring hits to her name.

For the information of today’s generation of music-lovers, between 1970s and 1980s, Susan racked up
several No. 1 Visayan songs, including “Matud Nila” (They Say), “Gimingaw Ako” (I Feel Lonesome), “Usahay” (Sometimes), “Rosas Pandan,” She also originally recorded and popularized Miss Kita Kung Christmas.”
Call me old, but I love listening to Susan’s authentic and uniquely poignant voice that reminds me of good times.

I like Susan’s version of “Ang Bol-anon” (originally composed by Regino Bastes Dano) which shows her clean, soulful and authentic voice. And it’s Binol-anon for using the word gaJud instead of gayud.

Kung ikaw Inday mangita'g pamanhunon, Siguro-a baya inday ang Bol-anon, Kung matuman mo suwerte ka kay ang Bol-anon buotan gajud, Magmahal kanimo hangtud sa Tagbilaran... Magmahal kanimo hangtud sa kahangturan...

Is there any difference between women of past and women of present? Yes, her song “Kagahapun ug Karun” tells why.

Kagahapun ug karun
Kadako diay sa kabalison
ang dalaga ta manggi-ulawon
moduko lang kon imo lang sud-ungon

Ang karun pagkatahum
kon tutokan mo mapahiyumon
kon halaran mo iya kang tubagon
hinay ka ra kay may tag-iya na

Ang dalaga ta karon dili daling muhilak sama kagahapon Ondo
ikaw pa hikapa ang gihay di ba mangatangtang ug mangapangtagak

Lahi ang kabulakan nga katilingbanun
Buyog magsibadsabad mata magsiplatsiplat

Mao kini ang lingla sa bag-o nga panahon
lahi ang kagahapon lahi ang karun...

Her fans, including my Mama Inday, Inday Charity and yours truly, are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of Susan who died on Sept. 7 after a prolonged confinement due to a kidney ailment. She was 58.

Mama Inday has paid tribute to Susan last week. She was singing all her Awitnong Bahandi songs although Mama Inday was not hitting all the right notes with her lusty vocals and emotional stylings like Susan’s, while Inday Charity has  paid tribute to Susan in her radio program.

Well, it’s a misty-eyed Sunday morning today while listening to Visayan classic oldies.

Midag-om, midag-om na, dapit sa atong habagatan,
pagbantay-bantay mga kauban, ang timbangan dili pagbiyaan,
ayaw baya kalimot nga gikalisangan kining hangina,
 Mugisi sa layag, Muguba sa atong sakayan,
Timbang kamo, hinubig kamo, Dagan ngari, dagan ngadto,

Walay labing pait Ingon sa kinabuhing sakayanon,
 Init ug ulan , Gisawod nga walay pulupasilong,
Nia pay katugnaw, Ug kagutom pa gayud intawon,
 Giantus ang tanan,Kay gim but-an sa kapalaran...

Anytime now, fashion icon EJ Relampagos is flying to New York to relax.

He has been busy in wedding coordination alongside some other events like debuts, beauty pageants and fashion shows.

EJ Relampagos
EJ is planning to see famous landmarks in New York such as the Empire State Building, the 911 memorial, Statue of Liberty and American Museum of Natural History.

What will happen to EJ’s House of Fashion (along Pamaong Road, Tagbilaran City) where he has total creative responsibility for the designs and all of its collections?

“It is still open. It will continue with all my staff. But we're only accepting wedding gowns for now while I will be away,” says EJ.  

However, VRS heard that EJ was invited to design for an American singer (name not disclosed by VRS) as part of the New York Fashion Week in the US.

“He will also be there to visit some famous fashion houses and attend charming workshops in New York,” adds VRS.

Well, then, to EJ, wishing you the best in NYC! C'est la vie!

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

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Festival of Lights, Bamboo Flowers and US Ambassador Thomas

Bohol’s Festival of Lights, Dance of Lights
When Harry meets Mabi and friends
Bamboo Flowers Red Carpet on Oct. 26

Scene: Multi-awarded Boholano lyricist and composer Jimmy Borja posted on Facebook: I want to share some good news with my FB friends. My song is the title and theme song of the new TV series "Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin" which will start airing first week of September 2013 on ABS-CBN (Philippines) and on The Filipino Channel (worldwide). This song is the second most recorded that I've written after "Sana Ngayong Pasko". Lani Misalucha's version was the one that made it immensely popular, and there have also been other stellar versions including Jed Madela, Martin Nievera, Nyoy Volante, etc. I still have a clear recollection of the night I wrote "Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin", it was at Boy Morala's recording studio in Makati where I was the resident songwriter in the mid 90's. Jude Michael who was then a Polycosmic/Polygram artist at that time had asked me to write a song for him. I wrote it on a Korg X5 keyboard, it came together pretty quickly, I got the melody and lyrics in about an hour. I did a quick worktape/demo of it and Jude cut it on his CD. It was not a single but a few years later, it found its way to Lani Misalucha through her producer Ben Escasa who was also Jude's producer. And since then, the song just exploded. It's been a blessing, I can't thank God enough for it.

Scene: Our dear Ruth “Neneng” Udtohan (Nov. 4, 1983-Sept. 9, 2001) is lovingly remembered on her 12th death anniversary. Treasured in our hearts you'll stay, until we meet again someday.

Bamboo plant grows abundantly in our country. It is known for its flexibility and versatility. It can be used in making furniture, musical instruments, kitchen utensils and other items for practical use.

Courtesy: Bamboo Flowers/Facebook
I bet you didn’t know that bamboo grass bears flowers. In Loboc River, bamboo flowers are hanging like chandeliers.

But what some people probably don’t know is that when the flowers bloom, the bamboo dies.

In northeast India, the people fear bamboo flowering. According to an ancient belief, when bamboos flower, there is death and destruction.

That is what Bamboo Flowers is all about. A film by Boholano certified master director Maryo J. Delos Reyes will be screened during the Sining Pambansa National Film Festival All-Masters Edition this week.

The film’s Facebook account says, “The film talks about the youth's problems, hopes and aspirations; about love and life; about sacrifice, forgiveness and acceptance; about life and death.”

There is a popular saying, "The Filipino is as pliant as a bamboo." The bamboo is generally considered pliant, and symbolically it has been compared to the Filipino character. The Filipino character is similar to the bamboo because it has flexibility, endurance and harmony with nature. Like the bamboo grass, people bend with the wind, surviving the many trials in life.

Bamboo Flowers premieres on Sept. 8 at SM Megamall, Cinema 7 and opens at SM Theaters Nationwide starting Sept. 11. There will also be a special Red Carpet Premiere at Island City Mall, Tagbilaran City in Bohol where the film was shot in its entirety on Oct. 26.

Outgoing US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas Jr. loves not just music but also the environment. In his visit to Bohol, he went to barangay Taloto in Tagbilaran City last Friday, Sept. 6, to know the efforts done in the Mabaw Reef Pride Campaign.

Photo taken from the Twitter account of Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr.
Finally, Ambassador Thomas met the famous Mabi, the clownfish mascot of Mabaw Reef, who has been making the rounds of elementary schools and other reef conservation activities in the province since 2011.

And Mabi also brought his friends, Meloy (a panther grouper or melo-melo) and Agaw (a threadfin bream fish).

The Taloto schoolkids had a great story teller as Ambassador Thomas read to them a story about the importance of marine environment.

Mabi, who has a Facebook account, posted, “I'm very excited to see you in this very significant event.”

The Mabaw Reef Pride says that it is a 84,339 sq. m. patch reef, about 3 km off the shores of Taloto, Ubujan and Manga in Tagbilaran City and home to more than eight species of Acropora corals and 70 fish species including the orange-and-white clownfish, locally known as bantay botbot. It has been declared a no-take zone marine protected area (NTZ-MPA) by the city government through an ordinance enacted in April 2006.

RARE, an international conservation organization, with its Philippine office located in Bohol, is organizing the event.

Ambassador Thomas also visited the Bohol Crisis Intervention Center and Garden Cafe. He praised Garden Cafe as he posted in his official Twitter account (@AmbHarryThomas), “Great food, better business! Eat @ #gardencafe - opportunity by and for the deaf in #bohol started by @PeaceCorps volunteers.” He also posted Garden Cafe’s menu.

Courtesy: Rey Anthony Chiu
Ambassador Thomas said he missed Bohol.

 "Farewell #Bohol! Leaving with memories of gracious ppl, success stories from @USAID_Manila & partners @Rare_org."

Ambassador Thomas’ visit to Bohol maybe his first and last as an ambassador. US President Barack Obama has appointed Philip S. Goldberg as Thomas’s successor.

Loon Mayor Lloyd Lopez expressed his gratitude for the huge success of this year’s Festival of Lights.

Special mentions were the organizers, participants and the Loonanons here and abroad for joining the whole event.

Courtesy: Rey Anthony Chiu
Loon’s festival of lights is one of the most important and religious festivals in Bohol calendar and a visit promises unforgettable memories It is one of its kind in the Philippines because the street-dancing is done at night. 

The street-dancing competition is held in honor of the town’s patron saint, the Virgen de la Luz or Birhen sa Kasilak (Our Lady of Light). 

Unlike most street dancing competitions, which are known for their colorful costumes and props, Loon’s version is very challenging and different.

The emphasis is on the lights, how to make it move and dance.

This year’s festival had six schools and three barangays contingents. They wowed their crowd in the street-dancing...and they danced their way to the 260-year-old Nuestra Señora De La Luz Church, the biggest church in Bohol, where the contest would culminate.

Courtesy: Ric Obedencio
The people appreciated the entertainment and jaw-dropping sight of the dancing lights. The beat of the drums and lyres also added fanfare during the night.

One contingent carried sakayan with lanterns shaped like baskets and fishes. The dancers used traditional candles underneath the lanterns. The lanterns were shaped into flowers, leaves and bulbs.

Of the school-based category, declared winners were: Sandingan National High School (grand winner), Sta. Teresa High School (first runner-up) and University of Bohol- Loon (second runner-up).

A fireworks display capped the event.

Take a bow, Mayor Lloyd Lopez!

Take a bow, Mr. Reigh Monreal and friends for a job well done!

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

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.