Sunday, July 27, 2014

Kids learn more than football at BOHFA free clinics

Scene: Eighty exhibitors from Central Visayas and Mindanao are expected to participate in this year’s Sandugo Trade Expo on July 23-27 at the ICM Food Court (for food products) and The Block (for non-food items which are usually home furnishings, fashion accessories, travel and tourism services, etc).  It’s a "tradition" of the Sandugo which started with the showcasing of the best products of Bohol, then has reached out to the neighboring provinces of Cebu, Negros Oriental and Siquijor and then in the recent years has attracted the exhibitors of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao provinces.  Anchoring the theme, “Gearing up for Asean 2015,”this year’s trade expo will serve as a platform for earthquake-affected small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to showcase their products to potential buyers, especially in the tourism industry.

“Never hold your breathe” is the #boholselfie entry of Neiman Flint Gatal. “My girlfriend came back home from Australia and she really misses the beaches here in Bohol so I took her scuba diving in the wonderful reefs of Balicasag island,” says Neiman. “We both love the beach and the sea, I for one have been diving for 13 years and all I can say is that Bohol is one of the most majestic places to dive.” Join the #boholselfie photo contest and win cash prizes!
Scene: Tell us your favorite thing about Bohol thru #BoholSelfie photo contest. July is Bohol Sandugo Festival. Here at #BoholSelfie, we'd like to celebrate by making a list of your favorite things about Bohol. To participate, join the #BoholSelfie photo contest that showcases how creative we are in capturing Bohol's magnificent sceneries by taking selfies of our own.  Tell us your favorite thing about Bohol. Is it a beautiful province? The best beaches? The highest waterfalls? A particularly delectable dish? A relatively unknown custom? Tell us what it is and why it's important to you. The contest is on July 1-26. Winners will receive cash prizes. Visit

Scene: Join the Pitik Tres: Tipik sa Usa ka Dugong Bol-anon streetdancing photo contest. The contest is open for both amateur and professional photographers. Participants shall pre-register at the contest information booth located in front of Fuji Films at BQ Mall on July 23-27. Big cash prizes await the winners. Text or call Pitik Group Coordinator Nilo Sapong at 0926-778-2282/0918 355 5551.

Millions of German football fans reacted with unbridled joy when Mario Goetze struck late in extra-time for Germany to win the World Cup 2014 with a 1-0 victory over Argentina.

Soccer used to be their game -- the South Americans, the Europeans, and the Africans. Today, it is our game, too. It is now woven inextricably into the fabric of Filipino life that we’re glued on TV to watch the action, embrace its athleticism and share the excitement.

Bohol learns to love soccer. Youngsters wait for a kick during training organized by BOHFA.
Like other provinces, we do not have football culture yet. There were a handful of football teams before but it lacked the support from the local government units. Despite of this lack of appreciation of the football game, football teams are now sprouting like mushrooms in towns. It is a manifestation that a changing Bohol has become younger and more diverse, and the kids simply love soccer more than their parents. Thanks to the Azkals! Thanks, thanks to Bohol Football Association (BOHFA) headed by Edmar Thaddeus Simpao.

Although BOHFA has no financial support from the provincial government, it is still conducting free clinics to teach young people about athleticism and discipline. But lately the BOHFA has been going the extra mile. This month, their clinics have been emphasizing responsible citizenship, self-respect, education, and good behavior as valuable assets on and off the field.

The excitement grew bigger when Elmer Lacknet Bedia visited Bohol and personally mentored the 150 participants in the free football clinic recently organized by BOHFA. Bedia gave an extra lesson on football along with the keys to the game.

I brought my nine-year old nephew Kotik during the free clinic. It was important for Kotik to learn how to be with other kids and to learn team spirit, football could teach that. Football has given him a lot of confidence.

"If you can teach these kids at a young age to be active on football, it really does go a long way," said Bedia.

Football is all about sportsmanship and responsible citizenship, according to (l-r) Edmar Thaddeus Simpao, Elmer Lacknet Bedia, Kelvin Dinsay, Karl Paumig and Mr. Racho.

Most of the participants have had no shoes and uniforms. They might be poor, but the smiles on their faces when they took to the field were as wide as the Bohol grandstand. They played every game with great enthusiasm, unbridled joy, knocking the ball around, dribbling, taking pride in the way they showed off their repertoire.

Bedia is Philippines’ Mr. Football.  At 13, he was playing football using coconut drupe which was wrapped with cloth in his hometown in Barotac Nuevo, IloIlo, and the rest is history.

At 24, he was recruited by an Australian professional team, the Brisbane Olympic United Football Club. From 1986 until now he remains in Brisbane with his wife Maria Theresa Salazar Bedia and their six children.
In personal development sessions, Bedia and BOHFA officers gave the participants plenty of advice on technique, tricks, shooting, dribbling and spontaneity.
By reaching the kids who will one day play professionally, BOHFA hopes to produce great players.

“Gusto ko may magiging member ng Azkals from Bohol,” said Bedia.

Bedia also brought and handed football equipments, shoes, socks and balls to the poor football playing kids of Bohol.

He also supports the anti-bullying campaign (also for Mexico’s anti-bullying campaign, El Bullying No Es Un Juego or Bullying is not a game). He and other people in the world within the entertainment and sport communities have raised their voice against school violence.

“Never do bullying,” said Bedia. “I emphasized to be a good player, show respect and not to bully with other player.”

Many students are bullied in schools and in the internet. Not only to students because bullying can happen anywhere and to anyone.

“Hopefully this message gonna be around the world to keep the sport as the number one sports,” shared Bedia.

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

5 Miss Tourism Int’l beauties get warm welcome in Bohol

At the risk of sounding like a broken record (pardon me, but I don’t mind), I am again putting out the lyrics of my favorite Bohol hymn  that has a humbling effect on me and, I’m sure, on anybody who digests its lyrics:

Yuta kong minahal, /Hatag ni Bathala; / Sa adlaw’g gabi-i,/ Taknang tanan / Dinasig sa kinaiyahan /Sa mga bayaning yutawhan / Imong kalinaw gi-ampingan / Lungsod sa bungtod nga matunhay / Ug matam-is nga kinampay.

Puti ang kabaybayunan / Walog sa suba binisbisan / Bahandi sa dagat ug kapatagan / Gugma ang tuburan / Sa kagawasan sa tanan /Panalanginan ka / Ihalad ko lawas ug kalag / Sa mutya kong Bohol.

And maybe while humming that hymn, you and I can further reflect how beautiful our province is. Truly, God’s little paradise.

In fact, Bohol’s recent visitors, the five beauties of Miss Tourism International 2013 were listening attentively to the Bohol hymn during the welcome program in Panglao. They even asked for a translation of the hymn.

Clean and white-sandy beaches, interesting places, friendly locals and fascinating history.

Miss Tourism International 2013 beauties (l-r) Lisa karls Dottir of Iceland, Phan of Vietnam, Maria Rautio of Finland, Kylie Miller of New Zealand and Lucie Klukava of Czech Republic at Alona Tropical in Panglao Island, Bohol.
That is how the 5 beauties of the Miss Tourism International 2013 want to share Bohol to the world when they visited the island province last Thursday and Friday. They are in the country for a 13-day tour to experience and promote the tourism of the Philippines.
Miss Tourism International 2013 beauties Maria Rautio of Finland, Lucie Klukava of Czech Republic, Lisa Karls Dottir of Iceland, Thu Phan of Vietnam, Kylie Miller of New Zealand were warmly welcomed by the members of the Rotary Club of Panglao at the Tagbilaran Pier.

They visited the Loboc River, one of the tourist spots you don’t want to miss during your Bohol tours. They had a sumptuous lunch while cruising the river. During a stopover, they played the ukeleles and danced “tinikling” with a local dance group housed in a nipa hut along the river which entertains the “cruisers.”

They also visited the tarsier conservation place to see the tarsier, the smallest primate in the world.

The beauties were also amazed when they arrived at Alona Beach in Panglao.  It is a place for gorgeous beaches and a diverse menu of aquatic attractions.

The beauties also visited an orphanage in Albur town and they had a courtesy call to Vice Mayor Pedro Fuertes and department heads at the Panglao Municipal Hall.

 “The tour is to introduce  Bohol’s sights and sounds that everything is back to normal after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake last year,” said Deo Guden, guide and staff of Panglao Mayor Nila Montero. 

As a tourist destination, Bohol is loaded with many attractions. Yet for all its advantages, the province has a big problem attracting travelers after the quake.

The event is one way of promoting the tourism industry in Bohol and the country.

“I like the sunset here, it’s a beautiful island,” said Lisa Karls Dottir. “Manila has many buildings, here you still have space. The nature is connected so it’s beautiful here.”

“I am so excited that I can be here in the Philippines. You have a nice country, the people here are nice with good heart. Am really glad I can be here with my friends. Salamat,” said Lucie Klukava.

“I love being in the Philippines. I love the weather, I love the people,” said Kylie Miller. “Everybody is smiling. I love talking to everybody finding more about your culture. It’s really fun. Thank you for having me.

“I come from the ice of Finland. It’s really different for me; here the climate is really warm as you people are really warm. I love you all,” said Maria Rautio.

It was Miss Vietnam Thu Phan’s first visit in the Philippines. “This is my first time in the Philippines, I’m excited.”

They have been to Oslob, Cebu, Intramuros in Manila, as well as experienced Camarines Sur’s wakeboarding, deer farm, and falls. After Bohol, they will have tour in Manila.

Miss Panglao ready to win the crown

Also joining the tour were the Rotarians of Panglao and beauty queens of Panglao: Candy Cumayas (who will compete in Mutya ng Pilipinas 2014 in August), Miss Panglao 2013 Catherine Tabaniag and Mary Rose Butalid.

Mary Rose will compete in Miss Bohol 2014 on July 19.

Deo Guden revealed that Mary Rose and Candy are in “prison” (as in “gilaming”) at Alona Tropical Beach Resort (owned by Mayor Nila Montero) in Tawala, Panglao, for strict training and eating the right foods.

The beauty queens of Panglao (l-r) Candy Cumayas (with trainor and “yayo” Deo Guden), Mary Rose Butalid and Catherine Tabaniag.
Is it true that they have strict diet, mainly egg white and water, coupled with physical activities to stay slim and fit?

“Well, I don’t have any specific diet. I just eat less, I stay away with carbs,” revealed Mary Rose, the youngest candidate of this year’s Miss Bohol 2014.

Deo admired the commitment of Candy and Mary Rose to their eating plans.

“No rice at all. Carbs maybe like root crops and fresh fruits. No sugar, as in no candy, no desserts,” shared Deo. “Last but not the least, eight hours of beauty sleep daily is prescribed.”

At 16, Mary Rose stands 5’8” that even Miss Tourism International beauties were starstrucked when they saw her.

“She’s tall and beautiful,” said Lucie.

Mary Rose Butalid
During break, I had Q and A session with Mary Rose:

How do you feel about competing at the Miss Bohol 2014? I feel privileged given the chance to represent my municipality but at the same time, I feel pressured and challenged because I am the youngest of the batch and I am competing with a set of competitive girls.

How do you stay motivated to eat healthy, exercise, and prepare for your upcoming pageant? Imagining myself wearing the Miss Bohol crown keeps me motivated.

If you were to change something in yourself, what would it be? None for two reasons, I will always be thankful for whatever strengths and weaknesses I may have because it makes me who I am and I am contented of what God has given me.

Other than confidence, what would you say is the most important quality for a pageant contestant hoping to capture her next crown? She should be self-motivated, that drives a candidate in winning the crown.

What is your favorite quote? Money is the universal provider for everything but not for happiness and love, a passport to everywhere you wanted to go but not in the kingdom of God.

What do you find sexy in a man? His expressive eyes!

Anyway, the early favorites of Miss Bohol 2014 (not reflective of the final outcome) who are already catching the attention of pageant fans are: Miss Tagbilaran, Miss Loon, Miss Tubigon, Miss Dauis, Miss Panglao and Miss Anda.  Binibining Pilipinas or Mutya ng Pilipinas potentials are Miss Panglao, Miss Getafe and Miss Barbra Pearls.

At the pageant night, there will be surprises from dark horses. So, watch out!

Who will be Miss Bohol 2014? Find out on July 19, 8 p.m. at the Bohol Wisdom Gymnasium.

(Tickets are now available for Miss Bohol 2014. Tickets are priced at P50, P200, and P500. To buy, contact 09177937435/09173125700/09276190091/09153716337.)

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

Monday, July 7, 2014

Shaping-up tips from Miss Tagbi

This early, a quick look at the Miss Bohol 2014 official candidates line-up shows some of the early favorites already catching the attention of pageant fans from here and abroad.

Among them is Miss Tagbilaran Geraldine Topsnik. She was crowned Mutya sa Tagbilaran this past April, and she will compete for the Miss Bohol title on July19.

 “She has a good fighting chance to win the crown,” according to a beauty pageant watcher.  “So far, she’s doing very well.”

Geraldine, who was born on April 15, 1997, stands 5'6", 110 lbs, and with vital statistics of 34-26-36, became Miss Cristal-e College 2013, Miss Teen ICM 2013 and then Mutya sa Tagbilaran 2014.

“Being Miss Tagbilaran 2014 doesn’t only mean that I was crowned that night, my work is done, but it means that I was crowned, my work is just beginning,” shared Geraldine. “I plan to utilize my title by influencing different people and promoting our tourism.”

The 17 year-old half German half Filipina will convince tourists to visit Bohol, which was devastated by the killer quake last year, through the power of social media. “Social media is one way of conveying the tourists to explore Bohol after the quake, although the quake might have devastated lives it also has sprouted different opportunities,” shared Geraldine.

In this season of Sandugo festival, VRS asked Geraldine for her fitness insights and sundry.

How do you feel about competing at the Miss Bohol 2014? I feel proud to be able to represent the City of Tagbilaran, but there’s always this uncertainty in pageants especially this one, that makes me nervous. Who wouldn’t be? It’s Ms.Bohol2014 and I’m competing against 17 beautiful girls, but I am hoping that on the 19th of July I’ll be able to represent the province of Bohol. I am hoping and praying.

What is your favorite category (Swimsuit, Evening Gown, Interview, casual/On-Stage Question), and why? My favorite category is non-other than the casual on stage question because in this category the people get to know who the candidate truly is as a person and they get a glimpse on the candidates personality other than her beauty.

What is your least favorite category, and why? My least favorite category would be the swimwear category although this is the favorite of some, and I do respect that, but it’s my least favorite because behind that beautiful body is hours and days of diet and exercise and it’s also makes me feel very conscious about how I look and the way that people think about how I look and portray who I am as a person in the swimwear category of the competition.

What would you say to someone who says that pageants are superficial and/or demeaning to women? I would tell them that to personally get to know a previous pageant winner or a contestant and I’m sure just by getting to know them, they’ll instantly know how pageants have improve their lives and personalities as it did with mine.

How do you stay motivated to eat healthy, exercise, and prepare for your upcoming pageant? I stay motivated to eat healthy and exercise by thinking of the people who believes in me and by thinking about the advocacies that I want to be implemented if I become Miss Bohol 2014.

What kind of diet do you have? I was obese when I was younger, and in Mutya sa Tagbilaran, I still had some of that baby fats on, and right now I’m doing my best to have my body toned. I’m having a less rice diet, less sweets, more protein, vegetables and the healthy stuff with exercise.

How much sleep do you get per night knowing that you have busy schedules in the Miss Bohol? It really depends, on some nights I get 8 or more hours of sleep but in some, 5 or 6 , But I do try to get up to 8 hours of sleep a day because having enough sleep makes you a lot healthier, makes you glow and have more energy.

Other than confidence, what would you say is the most important quality for a pageant contestant hoping to capture her next crown? I think that other than confidence the most important thing that a beauty should possess is the passion for what she is doing. I believe that you can expect greater things once you love what you do. And in order for her to get her next crown she must be confident and passionate and of course, she must never forget where she came from and never forget the Lord.

What is your favorite quote? My favorite quote is “live life without any regrets, trust in the Lord and he will keep you safe”.

If you were to change something in yourself, what would it be? Right now, I am changing my persona of thinking too much of what other people would think about the things that I do and about me. I think that , I am doing my best to change this part of me, because I believe that to live happily means to not care that much on other people’s perception ,as long as you believe in yourself and you are happy , then what other people think of you really doesn’t matter that much.

What do you find sexy in a man? It would definitely be how a man carries himself, his height and his eyes... I don’t know why, but I just find it sexy. (Laughter)

Will Geraldine join the Miss Bohol Honor Roll?

In 2006, Bb. Pilipinas World-2006 Anna Maris Igpit shared to me her strict diet days before she went to Poland to compete for the Miss World 2006. To stay thin, she followed a healthy strict diet and practice few exercise.

When I saw Maris in Poland, her wait was 24 inches! Maris is a person naturally thin, and doesn't have tendency to increase weight.

The MISS BOHOL SANDUGO ( admins and other beauty watchers have noticed that some of the girls have "baby fats"...and they have less than two weeks to trim down!

“A lot of people have noticed that some of our Miss Bohol 2014 candidates need diet and exercise,” the fanpage said. “A beauty contestant's diet does not consist of starvation and countless hours on the treadmill. Instead, it is about adopting a healthy lifestyle and working to achieve long, lean muscles. They have 17 days to do it before the finals night on July 19.”

The fanpage shares the pageant secrets to diet and exercise:  find opportunities to exercise, eat clean, and stay prepared. “Cravings are natural, even for a beauty queen. However, pageant contestants combat these with preparedness --- always with healthy snacks and fruits on hand,” added the fanpage.

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

Fresh from Europe, Bohol’s Tableya Princess Dalareich Polot (extreme left, with Andrea Trinidad Echavez of the US Embassy and VRS), is back in Bohol. Dalareich was in Belgium (the home to some of the world’s finest beer, most decadent chocolates, and mouthwatering delicacies) on a scholarship grant about chocolate-making.  She was the grand winner in the First Young Entrepreneur’s Bootcamp 2013.