Monday, January 18, 2016



I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees.  While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes. The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership.  In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond.

As many of you know, we have implemented changes to diversify our membership in the last four years. But the change is not coming as fast as we would like.  We need to do more, and better and more quickly. 

This isn’t unprecedented for the Academy. In the ‘60s and ‘70s it was about recruiting younger members to stay vital and relevant. In 2016, the mandate is inclusion in all of its facets: gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. We recognize the very real concerns of our community, and I so appreciate all of you who have reached out to me in our effort to move forward together.

The statement was issued after Spike Lee has decided to skip the Academy Awards on February 28 due to the overwhelmingly white nominations.

The 58-year-old filmmaker explained his decision in a lengthy Facebook post hashtagged ‪#‎OscarsSoWhite‬, which was fittingly shared on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

'Dr. King said, "There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but he must take it because conscience tells him it's right,"' the controversial director wrote.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Tagna-Tagna 2016


Scene: Spotted in Bohol last week was comedienne Giselle Sanchez.

Scene:  The singing policeman PO3 Janew Villame has become a sensation after bus passengers listened to him with admiration while belting out Yoyoy Villame’s songs at the Integrated Bus Terminal. It’s his way of educating people about the dangers of illegal drugs while trying to keep police-community relations closer. Fact: He is the grandson of Yoyoy Villame, the king of novelty songs.

*   *   *

Astrologers, feng shui experts and die-hard believers of horoscope said that great unexpected fortune will find its way in the Year of the Red Monkey (which will officially start on Feb. 8).

Giselle Sanchez visits Bohol. 
Courtesy: Melinda Mendez-Basalo
2016 is a period of renewed fighting spirit, they added.

White, blue and gold are lucky colors of 2016.

And as tradition is hard to break, VRS is up with its annual “Tagna-tagna” for the 2016. Modesty aside, last year’s “tagna-tagna” was 98 percent credible! Clap! Clap! Clap!

Now, let’s take a quick look at what the notorious and the famous Boholanos have in store for them for the Year of the Monkey.

• Finally, former beauty queen Anna Maris Igpit and her Aussie football player Thomas Taylor will march down the aisle this year.

• The stork will pay former child actress Rebecca Lusterio/Thomas Mejiso, Karen Digal/Doxson Asoy, Chandrina Elluiska Schreurs/Abdul Wallace and Jenissa Laguda Peteros/Dave Maulas a surprise visit .

• A fashion show which is very “bongga”  will feature Boholano fashion artists and couturiers—Shanon Pamaong , Maximiel Tallo, Omie Auza, EJ Relampagos, Jong Magallano, Omie Auza, Henry Baron, Rhigel Dulfo and Tracy Remolador Torres— to display their artistic collections! And another art exhibit for our Boholano artists, too!

Tableya Princess Dalareich Polot will remain loveless even she’s worth ginto!

•dyRD’s Glee Orcullo will release a new album. It’s a sequel of “Unang Gugma” that will re-open love wounds.

• Poet and community organizer Nestor Pestelos, Direk Maryo delos Reyes and cultural icon Lutgardo Labad will have a busy, busy good year.

•Pinoy Aquaman Ingemar Macarine will make a world-breaking record.

• The Touch of April of Dr. April Lumuthang-Froilan will have a new clinic to beautify the province.

• Something big for Gian Ale will happen this year.

• Something “big” is in store for AR dela Serna....and another student cum model will shine in the modelling world.

• Beauty queen Imaculada Cleofe Leopardas will be the face of a new beauty soap in the market and a popular website.

*   *   *

And now, the blind items:

• A former high-ranking official whose influence is highly visible will make an “important announcement” in the early months of the year.

• The wedding of a couple who announced their engagement in 2015 will either not be pushed through or will be postponed indefinitely. The bride-to-be will cry a river of the shocking news!

• Another big scandal will shake the political scene!

• For the first radio program for kids and about kids will air this year. 

• Great news: Despite financial constraints, an international film festival will be held in Bohol. Perhaps, it will win accolades in international film festivals.

• The crystal ball said that a new talent from Bohol will make name this year. He/she will give honor the province.

•Bohol will produce more topnotchers in the field of education, nursing and engineering.

• A young and flamboyant high-ranking official will “out” himself. You see your true colors. True colors are beautiful. Like a rainbow.

• A young politician will find himself in a headline-hogging controversy.

• A popular radio program will undergo a major revamp. Note: There will a new additional host.

• A popular couple will break up but won’t say why while another couple might reconcile after letting bygones be bygones.

• A beauty pageant will draw controversies. Take it! Take it!

• A beauty queen will make a “controversial” announcement! Dios mio!

• Women who are running in the May elections will have a reason to celebrate.

• The winner for Bohol governor has letters “O” and “E,” while for the Vice-Governor, the winner has letters “O”, “I”, “L”, “E” and “N”.

Note:  I don’t claim to be 100 per cent accurate. As I said, these are all “tagna-tagna” and I could be wrong, you know. He! He! He!

*   *   *

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

Sunday, January 10, 2016

No mountain too high for Nazarene’s devotees in Bohol

No mountain was high for hundreds of devotees who visited Mt. Calvary in barangay Malinao, Garcia-Hernandez town, for the feast of the Black Nazarene Saturday. 

Luzonia Bajao, 46, along with her 11-year-old daughter, Myra, walked at least 3 kms from barangay (village) proper and climbed the mountain to pay homage to the Black Nazarene. 

She said the Nazarene granted her wish to heal her daughter who was previously suffering from rheumatic heart disease. 

The night before the operation, Bajao said she prayed to the Black Nazarene for a miracle. 

“She had a rheumatic heart disease and tuberculosis as well.  The heart surgery didn’t push through because the surgeon found no more inflammation of the heart lining muscles and valves. It was indeed a miracle,” said Bajao. 

The doctor was surprised why her daughter was healed without any medication, she said.

“The Nazarene was always so good in proving himself as the greatest physician,” said Bajao. 

Concordia Galon, 80, said that she has been attending the annual feast for straight two years.

Bragging she is still strong, Galon, who came from Jagna town, said she walked for several kilometers just to see the Nazarene.

“Abtik pa ta mutungas sa bungtod para makita ang Mahal nga Nazareno, (I am still strong to climb the mountain just to see the Nazarene),” she said.

She said that she was wishing that the Nazarene would grant her a longer and healthy life.

Devotees try to touch the statue of the Black Nazarene in Mt. Calvary
 in Garcia-Hernandez town Saturday during the feast 
of the Black Nazarene.  Contributed Photo/Genevieve Virador 
Asked how long she will still attend the annual feast, Galon said: “Hangtud naa pa koy kinabuhi nga ihatag ni Nazareno (Until the Nazarene will give me life).”

The Mt. Calvary (originally named Mt. Kalagan) is a “holy” mountain for the devotees of the Black Nazarene.

In May 2011, Marina Reblinca, a purported visionary and healer, brought the image of the Black Nazarene from Palawan to Mt. Calvary and established a small chapel funded by devotees. 

 “We were from Palawan. The Nazarene told me he wanted to be here in this place. I followed his order.  Then people flocked here,” said Reblinca. She also said that the Nazarene protected the place during the strong earthquake in 2013. 

She said the Black Nazarene heals the sickness, gives hope and comforts people.

“The Black Nazarene would never abandon you if you have strong faith in him,” she said. 

Saturday’s feast had holy mass officiated by Rev. Fr. Cleofas  Silagan. After the mass, people were treated to a free lunch. 

People would fall in line to kiss the image of the Black Nazarene. Reblinca carried the image of the Nazarene for the patunob. She touched the heads and shoulders of the devotees for healing and miracle. 

Mt. Calvary continues to lure pilgrims and devotees proving that indeed, there ain't no mountain high enough to keep God from them.

In Talibon town, Nekolo Gonzales, 30, left his office in Ubay town to pay homage to the image of the White Nazarene, the “white” version of the Black Nazarene, which is believed to have miraculous powers. 

Gonzales, who is from Trinidad town, said that he has been a devotee of the White Nazarene when he was a teenager. 

Marina Reblinca, mystic and visionary doing the "patunob" .
Gonzales’ visit was for thanksgiving that he was able to get a job at the Philippine Coast Guard last year. 

“He helped me when I was looking for a job.  I have to admit that I am not religious but I believe in miracles,” said Gonzales, “And for me the Nazarene is miraculous.” 

He also said that the color of the face of the Nazarene doesn’t matter.

“It doesn’t matter if the face is white or black, he is still the same. As long as you know in your heart that he is the Santo Cristo Jesus Nazareno,” he said. 

Gonzales is one of the many devotees of the White Nazarene located in barangay San Agustin, Talibon town. 

Gregoria Cresencio-Fuentes, 63, narrated that the White Nazarene appeared to her aunt, Eutiquia Cresencio, in her dream.  She said Cresencio, a purported visionary, had received private revelation from the White Nazarene but she had remained silent on the claimed apparition until her death. Instead, she asked someone to carve a White Nazarene for her devotion. 
The “White” Nazarene in barangay San Agustin,
 Talibon towne, has attracted devotees and pilgrims.
Leo Udtohan/Chronicle

The image of the White Nazarene was originally made of wood and has been around for at least 80 years, she said. The first image was displayed in sitio Sudlon, about 7 kms in barangay San Agustin, but it was transferred to its present location in Purok 7 in the same barangay when the Nazarene told Eutiquia to have him transferred.

With the passing of the years, the wooden image decayed because it was exposed to heat, humidity and rain. Cresencio had the image replaced with cement in 1970s.  Fuentes said the cemented image of the White Nazarene was donated by the late President Carlos P. Garcia, a relative. 

She also said that there was a time when the White Nazarene requested Eutiquia to have the image placed in the center of the road but the plan didn’t materialize. 

The image is facing east. 

“The Nazarene said he will protect those who have faith in him,” said Fuentes. 

A Philippine flag is placed in front of the image.

“That’s what the Nazarene wants to have a Philippine flag. It means that he is Jesus of Nazareth in the Philippines,” she said. 

What noticeable is the image is not housed inside a chapel or church nor covered for protection. 

“Our Aunt (Eutiquia) told us that the White Nazarene wants to be outside the chapel. He wants the sun to beat down on him and the rain fell on him as his suffering for the sake of his children,” said Fuentes. 

Simplicio Polestico, 61, said he has been a devotee since he was 10 years old when his parents exposed him to the White Nazarene. 

“I believe in him because I am a Catholic,” he said. He said that he was wishing that the Nazarene would grant him a longer and healthy life.

The White Nazarene in Talibon, Bohol. -LPU
Annalyn Juarez, 35, said that the White Nazarene helped his husband, Crisben, 38, found a work in Saudi Arabia.  She said her wish is for a better life for her family. 

“The White Nazarene is our father. He is our refuge and our strength,” she said. 

Pilgrims and devotees also visited the White Nazarene on Saturday, the feast of the Black Nazarene where devotees flocked to the Quirino Grandstand for the yearly “Pahalik”. The image was brought back to Quiapo Church via the traditional Traslacion. She said, however, the feast of the White Nazarene is on March 21. A mass and procession will be held with devotees from Bohol and Mindanao, she added.

For the devotees, the White Nazarene has become an emblem of passion, struggle and faith for Filipino Catholics.


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

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Revving up 2016

No doubt you’re still recovering from the New Year’s Eve revelry, and the only thing you want to do right now is to get a chance for a fresh start.

And what better way to start 2016 than by making a list of New Year’s resolutions.

I asked my fave Boholanos how they plan on revving up their lives in 2016 whether it’s by pursuing their dreams or cultivating their passions. In short, how they will own 2016!

Fireworks light up the sky over Tagbilaran City during the New Year 
as Bohol greeted 2016 with champagne and cheers. Leo Udtohan/BC
Some of our Boholano “who’s who” asked simply ignored the question. Here are those who did not:

Leah Tirol-Magno— I look forward to 2016 spending more time with the Lord God, to myself and to my family. I also look forward to further enhance my baking skills and create more beautiful cakes.

Anna Maris Igpit —  2016 will be a new chapter for me as I build myself to become a wife and start my own family. I have finally found my bestfriend and soulmate who I will share this dream with and I am looking forward to what our future will bring us.

Fiel Angeli E. Araoarao-Gabin —  Embracing 2016 means not making promises you can't keep. It means living life in moderation, getting rid of or dealing with "vexations" creatively by pursuing passion like dancing... More than ever, spending quality time with my family.

Charina Aumentado-Jones —  I will make 2016 cultivate my dreams to pursue my passion...and for  world peace.

Tessie,Labunog-Sumampong — My “Cuisina ni Tisay,” as the best Boholano restaurant, was a dream come true. This year, we’ll continue to serve the Boholano cuisine and hospitality. It’s really my passion to serve people while pursuing my dreams. Entering politics is one way of serving other people because I believe that a heart with a true service is a heart that truly cares.

Vilma “Ate V” Yorong —  My officemates and I will give importance on the JobStart Philippines project implementation. Good health and more blessings!

TinTin Bueno Ng —  How will I own 2016? I'm planning to take a focus on the enhancement in my acting skills so that I can pursue my one of my dreams in life which is to be a great actress someday. It may be impossible, but all I have to do is to pray and do my best and God will do the rest. We all know that, "For with Him, God, nothing shall be impossible."

Chandrina Elluiska Schreurs-Wallace—  A little hence of both.

A good beginning makes a good end... or so for our Boholano friends who want to rev up 2016. 
Contributed Photos
Ferome Almine — Taking care of my health specially my voice and giving time to the people of Mansasa (in Tagbilaran City) as public servant. As a host, I want to take care of my health by not exhausting myself to work. That’s taking ease of everything.

EJ Relampagos —  More healthy lifestyle. Good food and good exercise! Less travel and more time with family!

Bon Ryan Bongato—  2016 is a new opportunity for a more compassionate year. Since 2015 was a wake-up call to us Filipino, a gear towards this new year of spreading humanity through advocacy and setting the right example, no matter the status we have, not the beauty outside but the inside and fulfillment of making the new generation secured knowing someone cares for them. It will be, for me, the year to extend to others in making them aware that the past heroic deeds did not die with them, but has transcended to a more pure form and bravery is facing the consequences and criticism that attacks us emotionally and the fuel of our being, it is what I desired and is my true calling.

Sam Pingkian —  Wanna make a lot of changes this year. More time with my family specially my daughter. Be better in terms of work. Good health, will exercise more and eat less. And to be financially stable... And hopefully magka- lovelife! Cheers to awesome 2016!

Jammy Ungab —  This 2016, I just really want to travel more and try to live a plastic free life as much as possible. My strong environmental concern has made me decide to do beach clean up more this year and hopefully able to spread awareness about plastics and why we should not throw them anywhere. I'm also going to expand my small business (crossing fingers) so I can help more organizations that protect our ocean and the marine wildlife.

Engr. April Lupot —  I stopped doing so long before. But my 2016 will be a year for a more prosperous year for my career. Perhaps making myself better in my field and taking bigger risks to see how far I can go.

Ryan Sines — I have a simple New Year’s resolution that is do my best as a stylist. I also wish for a good health for me and for my family. More clients. Brides and beauty queens to work with soon. I wish to become an inspiration to other gay stylists to be their best.

 2016 is a year of new opportunities. A leap year, too. Let's make it a good one. Happy New Year!


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

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Bohol's big moments of 2015

As we near the end of the year, it’s time to take a look back.

VRS is bringing you the big moments that defined 2015 and the people that inspired us the most.

Mercy and Compassion
Five Boholano survivors— Veneranda Gentallan of San Roque, Maribojoc; Shirley Bongay of Lintuan, Loon; Niza Flores of Poblacion, Sagbayan; Saturnino Barace, Jr. of Tagubaas-Obujan, Antequera;  and Salome Israel of Tubigon— met Pope Francis on Jan. 17.

Flores lost her youngest son, Geevie, 12, who was covered by rubbles of the collapsed internet cafe. She said that she can hardly overcome what happened to her youngest son.

Look back on the biggest news stories and best moments from the year on VRS
Contributed Photos/ABS-CBN/BC/Ric Obedencio/Panglao PS/Vatican 

Israel lost her right arm and broke her pelvic bone when earthquake struck. However, the cheerful Salome said that “everything happened has a purpose.”

Bongay of Loon town lost her right hand after being trapped in wreckage for nine hours.

Gentallan almost died when her house collapsed. She suffered a head injury and was brought to Cebu province to undergo an operation. She stayed at the hospital for one month. Her recovery was said to be a “miracle.”

Half of Jr's body was buried underground after the quake. He, too, was injured, but he managed to survive. Unfortunately, Barace lost four of his family members who died during the earthquake.  After the tragedy, Barace entered the seminary.

All of them were excited — and nervous — during their meeting with Pope Francis. They said they found comfort with the Pope.

In Manila, some Boholanos were lucky to see the Pope in person.

“Surreal. Unexplainable. Magical,” said Engr. Aprimel Lupot when she saw the Pope along Finance Road, going to Manila Cathedral in Intramuros. “I cannot describe the feeling of being so close to Pope Francis even for just a few seconds. Such an unforgettable moment. It's like I'm closer to God or something. I love you, Pope Francis!”

JP Maslog also shared his experience, “So this is how it feels to see the Pope... I cried and I cannot explain why!”

The Pope had been a few feet away from couple Benjie Oliva and his wife lawyer Joan.

“Honored to have joined the crowd of Catholic faithful today at SM MOA and Roxas Boulevard to experience a personal encounter with Pope Francis, the vicar of the Lord Jesus Christ on earth,” said Oliva. “Father in Heaven bless the Pope and the Filipino people.”

Hundreds of thousands showed up for the Pope including Engr. Dionisio Neil Balite who was at MOA Arena to join the “Encounter with Families” with the Pope.

May Pope Francis continue to smile and spread his message of mercy and compassion.

Viral celebrity
Jenali Alexis Mandin Calipusan sounds like Justin’s. Her voice is a replication of Justin’s and Alexis can dance as well. She does a lot of things that are very appealing.

A Belieber since 2009, her YouTube video gone viral, the world knows it too.

Apparently, Alexis is not new in singing. She was a member of the world-famous Loboc Children’s Choir. She had toured Europe, the USA and China together with the other members of the Loboc Children’s Choir.

For Alexis, her rise to Internet stardom was a mix of the right song at the right time.

Dream and Believe
Gian Luigi Ale, 9, of Cogon District, this city, had spiced up the stage with his undeniably amazing blind auditions performance in The Voice Kids Philippines Season 2.

Ale made all the three coaches turned for him when he sang the hit song Thinking Out Loud while playing guitar. Just when I thought I'd seen every cover of Thinking Out Loud in the known universe, Ale’s might be the best (and the cutest) version.

Also joining The Voice Kids were brothers Emmanuel and Sandy Tanio who sang the (unofficial) Visayan version of Pink’s Give Me A Reason.  Their performance made a huge impression on Bamboo who turned his chair as he watched them singing with their diwdiw (an invented musical instrument with two strings) and ukelele.

From Amakan Village in Dampas, Tagbilaran City, Emman, 12, and Sandy,9,  are singing for various people in the beach in Panglao, terminals and restaurants, to help their parents-- Sanny, an occasional construction worker and Elizabeth, a housewife.  Until The Voice producers saw Emman and Sandy were caroling in Acacia de Bubu on Burgos Street.  The Voice producers sent them straight through to the judges in Manila.

Unfortunately, Ale and the Tanio brothers didn’t win. However, Ale’s version of Thinking Out Loud has gathered 10 million viewers on Youtube.

‘Feelings’ over Miss Bohol results
Miss Tagbilaran Mary Eda Cimafranca won the most coveted crown and the “hakut queen” award ---with at least 12 corporate and major awards during the Miss Bohol 2015.

Cimafranca’s win met with boos and criticisms as the audience reacted intensely that she was booed repeatedly during the pageant night.  However, beauty watchers said Cimafranca kept her poise despite the boos. 

Boholanos turned to social media to express their opinions with bitter and hilarious posts to express their dismay with the results of the Miss Bohol. Much has been said about this year’s pageant; not only about the organizer’s unpreparedness but it was pre-arranged (lutong Macau), and a “cooking show.” 

Some netizens were also entertained by how some people can post humorous feedback like “luto na ang lechon (the lechon is ready) and some rejoinders said, “kalami ba anang lechon, (the lechon is yummy)” and “paghukad na kay excited nako mo hiwa sa panit sa lechon. (Get it ready because I am excited to get the skin of the lechon).”

A popular website posted their review on the pageant saying “Miss Bohol 2015 is the best cooking show at its finest.” The website said that “a clear gesture that everybody disagreed to the final decision as it was very different based on what we’ve seen and heard during the entire ‘cooking show.’ I pity Miss Tagbilaran as she’s now on the hot seat and the target of all bashes.”  The post was deleted.

Miss Bohol 2014 Queenie Melody Fullante said, “That was a well-deserved win. I salute Eda for being able to handle pressure with such grace.”

‘Twilight’ actor visits Bohol
Hollywood actor Kellan Lutz, known for playing Emmett Cullen in “The Twilight” Saga film series; as Poseidon in the 2011 film “Immortals”; as Hercules in the 2014 film “The Legend of Hercules” and as ex-US Marine John Smilee in the action-thriller “The Expendables 3”, visited Bohol last July.

He was in Panglao town to attend the wedding of his friend Jeremiah who married Miss Bohol International 2003 Maya Calope Galvan in a beach wedding.  During the reception, Lutz joined the CenterStage Band performing on stage.

Lutz was mobbed by fans who said, “He’s so mabait at sobrang guapo.”

Bohol’s Mister
AR dela Serna (real name: Alberto Rodolfu), the son of Alberto and former Poblacion 2 barangay captain Glorivic, was a runner-up in the Mister of Pilipinas (MP) 2015.  MP is responsible for selecting the country’s representative for four international male beauty contests--Mister International, Mr. Tourism International, Mister Model International and Mister Globe.

He said his modeling and acting workshops helped him become more conscious, confident and disciplined-traits he believes can help him in the competition.

He already joined other male beauty pageant in previous years. He won the title Mr Generation East 2013  of  Sta. Lucia Generation East Model Search. He was also declared first runner-up in Mr Philippine Youth in 2002 but he replaced the dethroned Mr. Philippine Youth 2012 Leo Angeles Flores of Parañaque in Nov. 2012.

Prayers and hardwork paved the way for three Boholano nursing graduates to land in the 10 topnotchers of the May 2015 nursing licensure examination. Thus, a good year for Bohol's nursing schools.

Euben Hope Olaso Gamutan, Krissa Mae Duco Lapiz and Christine Joy Camilotes Roferos went to different schools, prayed in different churches and reviewed in different styles but there’s one common denominator---topnotchers! Gamutan finished fifth place with a rating of 85 percent, Lapiz was ranked sixth place with a rating of 84.8 percent and Roferos landed on the eighth spot with a rating of 84.4 percent.

They shared only one secret in preparing for the board exam.  Prayer.

“Prayer. That is my best secret. I prayed for wisdom and for strength that I can endure all the sleepless nights,” Gamutan told VRS. “Of course, I also had to do my part in studying. I usually isolate myself when studying because that is where I can concentrate the most.”

“Prayer. I prayed a lot. When I had time I went to the Sto. Niño and I prayed not just to top but to pass including my classmates as well,” Roferos said.

Gamutan, Lapiz and Roferos were among the 9,707 aspirants who passed the May examination out of a total of 17,896 examinees, according to the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

Heroes of the Year
This year there were no shortages of heroes.

Poet and community organizer Nestor Pestelos was Rappler’s The Enterprise Mover awardee.

As president of the Bohol Local Development Foundation, he launched the Bohol Quake Assistance Fund Drive to help families who were homeless by the strong earthquake. "This award will inspire our young volunteers and fieldworkers to work harder to expand our current work," he told Rappler after accepting the award on Sept 26 at the World Resorts Manila. The Move Awards is Rappler’s first effort to celebrate those who actively campaign and move for social change.

Friends Michael Horcasitas, Alejandro Bonita and Fulgencio Esterado turned-over to police officers P138,000 cash they found inside a belt bag that fell from a car in Panglao town.

The three chased after the car to warn the driver but the vehicle sped off. Instead of splitting the money among themselves, the three went to the police to track down the owner and return the money.

Not one of them was tempted to keep the money even if only Esterado had a regular job which barely paid him P10,000 a month.

Esterado works as a merchandiser at the City Hardware in Tagbilaran. His wife, Isabel, 39, is a housewife. They have two children- Issagene, 11 and Ian Jay, 4.

Horcasitas and Bonita don't have regular jobs.

Esterado said, “Returning the money is the right thing to do because we didn’t earn that money.”

The honesty shown by the three came a month after a tricycle driver returned an envelope containing P88,135 left by a female passenger in Tagbilaran City.

Reynaldo Ingking, 45, turned over the envelope to radio station dyRD which started looking for the owner.
A tearful woman went to the station and profusely thanked Ingking who was later cited by the city government for his honesty.

They taught us a lesson, didn’t they? That money didn’t matter.

In a year with so much darkness comes a beautiful lesson from all of these heroes on how to view the world.

Pia ‘confidently beautiful amid chaos’, say Boholano fans

Boholano supporters who travelled miles away from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to support Philippines’ Miss Universe bet Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, who was crowned Miss Universe 2015 held on Dec. 20 (Monday, Manila Time), was worth watching.

“42 years is a very long time waiting for the crown. This is our time to win the Miss Universe again,” said US-based Boholano socialite Mikey Gatal, who along with his friends , including Boholano Andy Doria, watched the pageant at The Axis in Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Boholano fans who were watching the Miss Universe 2015 at the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, say Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach (shown in Bohol for a glorious summer shoot and a much-needed break in April 2015) deserves to win the title. 
Contributed Photos/Mikey Gatal & Philippine Daily Inquirer  
Gatal and Doria were in the same group when they watched the Miss Universe in 2006.

“Her presence is strong. We are captivated by Pia,” he said.

Wurtzbach, according to Gatal, said she felt she never left home and she felt the love of her kababayans.

For Digal, “Wurtzbach is a complete package: Beauty, grace and brains.”

However, before Wurtzbach was announced winner, the crown went to Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo by mistake when host Steve Harvey read the wrong card.

“My first reaction was so mad. I even cried, and everybody was shocked,” he said.

He said Miss Colombia was not deserving since Wurtzbach aced her Question and Answer.

“I said some words that Miss Colombia is not deserving of the title and the crowd agreed to me then all of a sudden Steve Harvey calmed down the people after two minutes because he realized he made a mistake then the thought I had that he would day that came true and everyone was stunned,” he said.

“Gubot (Chaotic)” was how Gatal described this year’s pageant. He said previous Miss Universe pageants he had watched were “smooth” and “organized.”

He said that it was the moment when both countries were victims of a pageant blunder.

“What happened to Miss Colombia was very painful. To have the crown on your head and to have taken away from you for seconds,” said Gatal. “The moment of ecstasy turned to sour and because they one of the biggest supporters during the entire pageant, it can’t be denied that literally they hate each other now,” he added.

At the lobby and inside the stage area, Gatal said there was “so much drama” as  Colombia and Philippine supporters had chanting bout before and after the pageant.

 “Even the crowd and all the candidates were focusing now to Colombia not to Pia. It’s so sad, the moment of happiness for Colombia and Pia were taken away from them,” he said.

Earlier, Gatal had predicted that Wurtzbach would win the crown for “I believe this is Pia’s time. She is very fierce, very lovable and most of all, she is very intelligent as well.”

For Andy Doria, he admired Wurtzbach’s humility. He said that Wurtzbach had no hint of arrogance when she was crowned by Miss Universe 2014 Paulina Vega from Colombia.

“She looked happy yet sad for Miss Colombia,” he said.

Wurtzbach was the third Filipina beauty queen to win the crown after Gloria Diaz won it in 1969 and Margie Moran in 1973.

During the Question and Answer portion, the top three contestants were asked, "Why should you be the next Miss Universe?”

Wurtzbach answered, "To be a Miss Universe is both an honor and a responsibility. If I were to be Miss Universe, I will use my voice to influence the youth and I will raise awareness to certain causes like HIV awareness that is timely and relevant to my country, Philippines. I want to show the world-the Universe, rather-that I am confident and beautiful from the heart."

Miss Universe Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo was named first runner-up and Miss Universe USA Olivia Jordon was named second runner-up.

Wurtzbach visited Bohol during the pictorial of the Bb. Pilipinas. She was seen at the Punta Cruz, Baclayon Church and the Chocolate Hills in Carmen.

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

Sunday, December 20, 2015

My 'recycled' Christmas list; Why Mikey and friends in America won’t be home for Christmas

Seen: Spotted in Bohol was Dawson's Creek star Joshua Jackson. He was in Bohol on Thursday  as part of his 21-day adventure to travel the world for “Years of Living Dangerously,”  a National Geographic documentary series on climate change which will start airing its second season in 2016. The actor seemed to have a good time during his stay on one of his social media posts while in Bohol.  Jackson is best known to his fans for his roles as Pacey Witter of Dawson's Creek and Charlie Conway of The Mighty Ducks.

OMG Outreach in Pilar, Bohol
Scene:  Former city councilor Anne Mariquit Derikito-Oppus was the guest of honor during the launching of "We connect and your voice counts" project at Bohol Police Provincial Office. She said, "It's not late to change our society. Our duty is to serve and protect the people no matter what."

Scene: At least 145 pupils of Bagacay Elem. School in Pilar town were recipients of early Christmas gifts (school supplies and apples) from Mikey Gatal and OMG Friends in America--Atty. Sandy Roxas and Blaine and Malou Points of Seattle, Washington.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

Through the years
We all will be together,
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough..
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now. 
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
A big break for Gian Ale. Contributed Photo

It’s five days before Christmas. Have yourself a “Merry Little Christmas”! This heart warming Christmas song, one of my favorites because of its ever-timely message, was immortalised by Judy Garland when she sang this song to Margaret O'Brien and brought tears to the eyes of the audience. The lyricist was Ralph Blane and the haunting music was composed by Hugh Martin. (FYI: Sam Smith has an amazing cover of this song).

Here’s my own list of "recycled" gifts to my favorite Boholanos.

For  Gian Luigi Ale— To perform on  The Ellen Degeneres Show. Why not? After all, Gian’s version of Thinking Out Loud has gathered 10 million viewers on Youtube. Paging, Ellen!

For Imaculada Cleofe Leopardas —Another beauty pageants to join to prove that Bohol is a land of charm and beauty.  Same for Candy Cumayas.

For Benjie Oliva and Atty. Joan Jagonos-Oliva —Another “joint venture.” The night is getting colder! He He He Same for  Rebecca Lusterio and Thomas Mejiso, David Maulas and Jenissa Laguda Peteros, Abdul Wallace and Chandrina Elluiska Schreurs-Wallace, and Doxson Asoy and Karen Digal.

For Dame Rose Soy —Good health for Bohol's Queen of Tourism.

For Elvie Bongosia and Erol Macalandag—  Wedding bells! Wedding bells!

For Rep. Aris Aumentado— He can maintain his level of good governance amidst rampant corruption. And that he will continue his high standard of ethics. Same for our leaders as I look forward to seeing their enthusiasm, creativity and critical thinking skills translated into endeavours that will help the people and the entire Bohol.

For Tessie Labunog-Sumampong — Laurels! (Figure that out.)

For EJ Relampagos— Another European trip to broaden his travel experience!

For Van Delima— A hot girlfriend!

For Dr. April Lumuthang-Froiland and Arch. Junibe Froilan- A long-delayed stork’s visit.  Same for  Eden Descallar–Ceballos and Mikel Ceballos.

Beauty and brawn Neil Namuag can flaunt.
 Contributed Photo
For Zenaida Darunday, Pat Ruiz,  Marianito Luspo, Atty. Kins Aparece, Salvio Makinano, Judge Raul Barbarona, Rosalinda Paredes, Mightee Palo, Alvin Acuzar, Dorris Dinorog-Obena, Liza Macalandag,  Isidore Ancog, Ellen Gallares, Lester Ouano and Vera Gesite —  Strength and guidance to  continue their advocacies!

For Rep. Art Yap — His good-old fashioned desire to serve the people will triple.  

For  Kimpoy Mainit, Humfrey Nicasio and Hannah Precillas— A concert and a big break to showcase their singing prowess!

For Baby Tagoctoc—Good things in life for Bohol’s most influential and powerful bading. She has been working hard to beautify Bohol with her magic touch!

For Alexis Calipusan — A duet with her favorite singer Justin Bieber.

For Queenie Melody Fullante- A hot boyfriend! It’s about time to love someone.

For Loboc Children’s Choir, Alicia Bamboo Ensemble, Dimiao Children’s Rondalla, Loboc Youth Ambassador, Katipunan Elem. School Rondalla, HNU Diwanag Dance Troupe and Bohol Master Singers — Performances abroad to show to the world what hidden talents we have.

For Dalareich Polot —A boyfriend. Hopefully, she will meet her ideal man in the land of milk and honey.

For Peddy Bolanio and Glee Orcullo — An hour of Showbiz Rampa with more “daring,” “talkative," and “controversial” guests.  Same for  Inday Charity of dyTR’s Showbiz Chikka.

For Atty. Victor dela Serna, Nestor Daarol, Felix Cempron and Allan Mangmang —A silencer that will prevent them from flaunting on radio to throw “feisty” words. They can do it after Christmas. Peace! Love!  He He He

For Inday Rufing — Another program to tickle funny bones.

For Rich Asuncion and beau— Marriage contract (indefinite)!

For  Fred Araneta, Chito Visarra and Gerry Pabe (dyrd’s Inyong Alagad) — More  interesting, more explosive news and more  “controversial” guests in 2016.  Same for Atty. Salva Diputado, Lito Responte and Edgar Tumanda of dyTR’s Cuentas Claras and Bohol’s Queen of All Media Ardy Ines Araneta.

For  Shanon Pamaong , Maximiel Tallo, Omie Auza, Jong Magallano, Omie Auza, Henry Baron, Rhigel Dulfo and Tracy Remolador Torres— Another fashion shows to display their artistic collections!

For AR dela Serna— More male pageants to showcase what Boholano men can flaunt! Same for  Neil Namuag and Danilo Torcende

For Ryan Sines, Ramil Dolauta, Donna Vitos, EP Relampagos, Jonathan Ocat, Rholly Ingking, et al — Colorful love life!  And dreams of our moments together, color my world with hope of loving you!

For Alfeo Jabinez and Amy Fiel Booc — A chain to bind them and lock their hearts forever and ever. Amen! 

For Mila Lim — Good health to continue making her home the “Most Christmassy House” in Bohol.

For RC— A chastity belt! Cuidao! He He He  Same for “Ms T” who said she many lonely nights. He! He! He!

For those who are running in 2016 elections (you know who you are), a big goodluck!

VRS is wishing you a bountiful Christmas. May all your hopes and wishes be fulfilled to the utmost.

Why Mikey and friends in America won’t be home for Christmas

My whirlwind visit in L.A. last month for a 10-day vacation was a reunion. It was seeing and visiting old friends.

It was US-based Boholano socialite Mikey Gatal who fetched me at the Los Angeles International Airport.

So many reasons to love L.A., the weather, Hollywood, foods and good friends.

“English please,” I told Mikey. “And no Filipino food.” And he laughed.  

From the airport, Mikey brought me to a cozy Chinese restaurant to have lunch with the Galaura family- Lorenzo, Richel and Loraine-who were so thoughtful and kind. Over wontons and dumplings, my cousin Alot Bagotchay with another friend celebrity make-up artist Roy Tambong arrived to greet me.

After lunch, we went to visit Hollywood and Highland Center for coffee.  I told myself, “It‘s nice to see you again, Hollywood!” I enjoyed walking down the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame looking at the different names of celebrities.

For millions of visitors, Hollywood is an essential part of the Los Angeles experience. Things to do in Hollywood include must-see shows and attractions, celebrity-frequented restaurants and world class hotels.

One can experience Tinseltown glamour at TCL Chinese Theatre or the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which has honored celebrities for over 50 years.  There is the state-of-the-art Dolby Theatre (formerly the Kodak Theater) is home to the Academy Awards.  The Universal Studios- Hollywood is a world famous theme park that includes the mind-blowing “Transformers: The Ride 3-D.

Mikey’s slim physique is getting lots of attention when he is attending fiestas and events in the Filipino community. He insisted that he follows a grain-free diet (only apples and little cereals). And he has a glowing pinky face. His secret? He admitted he is using “Beauche” beauty soap by former Carmen Mayor Che Toribio-delos Reyes.  “Only Beauche touches my skin,” said Mikey, “You can see the results in just few days- whiter and younger beautiful skin!”

In the States, it’s bonding with friends over food.  Babat Bagotchay brought me to Pink’s Hot Dogs, a land mark hot dog restaurant in Los Angeles, while Andy Digal Doria brought me to BCD Tofu House.  A fashionista, Andy is famous for his sexy facial hair.  

Alaska is a breathtaking state to visit. Your VRS had
 a “selfie” at Chugach State Park to feel the cold!
After four days in California, I went to Alaska to see Aunt Flor and Uncle Ray Weaver. It was Aunt Flor who convinced me to “come to Alaska in the winter.”

No question: winter in Alaska is colder and darker than summer. But that doesn’t mean the state shuts down—at all.  Uncle Ray told me that what sets Alaska apart from the rest of the world is the length of the winter. If they would use the first snow as the benchmark, winter arrives in September and stays around until April.

In Alaska, there’s no time to hibernate. I took advantage of what makes Alaska special: the northern lights, plenty of snow (Snowflakes! Snowflakes!), wildlife (eagles and moose), salmon and cozy urban amenities. 

It was in Alaska when we celebrated Thanksgiving Day in advance (two days ahead before the last Thursday in November).  Thanksgiving is a very important holiday, especially in the busy lives of Americans. Theygather to thank and bond over food and family.

I asked Mikey and friends if they were going home for Christmas but they said they were busy. Incidentally, Mikey and Andy will be watching the 64th Miss U pageant on Dec. 20 (Dec. 21 in Manila) at The AXIS in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Alot and Babat will come home in Jan. 2016.

Mikey and Babat wanted me to stay longer for Christmas. I begged off.

Again, so much to see, so little time!  


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