Sunday, October 29, 2017

Real haunted places in Bohol

Scene:  Senior Girl Scout Nettel Peñaranda Cabalit, 14, and a Grade 8 learner of Tagbilaran Grace Christian School recently received the GSP’s Highest and Most Prestigious Award for having developed a sense of responsibility towards herself, and her community, and having worked determinedly on the Ecology Development Project when she spearheaded the construction of a concrete water tank as rain collector for the island folks of Mantatao, Calape, Bohol.  The project had been turned-over to the Barangay Captain Federico Flores last June this year. The 41st CGSM Awarding Ceremony was attended by the 735 awardees and the GSP national headquarter dignitaries, regional directors, council executives and troop leaders all over the country.  Cabalit together with her school field adviser and trainer,  Myrna Thea Garsuta-Hontanosas, received the Chief Girl Scout Medal, pin, and certificates at the Plenary Hall of the Philippine International Convention Center, Pasay City last October 20.  Cabalit is the eldest daughter of Noel and Nannette of Barangay Taloto this city. “I would like to thank everyone for all their help especially my family and relatives, my Troop Leader- Ma’am Thea, my school- TGCS and all the good people of Mantatao. Above all, to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, you are all part of my great success,” she said.

Girl Scout Nettel Cabalit with her school field adviser
 and trainer Myrna Thea Garsuta-Hontanosas. Contributed Photo
Scene:  The surgeons at Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH) were stepping up after some women went in for a routine checkup and were diagnosed with breast cancer. In an effort to help with their unexpected medical bills,  the surgeons hosted “Acoustic Night,” a benefit event last Oct. 26  held at Tablea de Maria Clara in Tagbilaran City.  The event featured the surgeons and volunteers!  The proceeds from the entire night donated to the Pink Fund to help the patients. 

Seen:  Spotted in Bohol last Saturday were celebrities Troy Montero and Aubrey Miles.

Bohol province seems to have its fair share of hauntings, and the villages where 11 Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)  members were killed in separate encounters in Bohol early this year offers some of the strongest chances for having a paranormal experience.

There are a number of famous locations where ghostly activity has been reported, as well as a few lesser known locations where residents have also reported unexplained occurrences.

The battlefield in Barangay Napo in Inabanga town is arguably the new haunted place in the province. It makes sense given its angry, bloody war history where the ASG members were killed by government troopers. 

There are stories of reported paranormal sightings here.

Some residents claimed seeing ghosts and shadows as well as heard agonizing screams from unseen beings.

The battle field where three of Abu Sayyaf members 
were killed in Barangay Caboy, Clarin town, which is now covered 
with tall grass and the coconut trees still carry the battle scars, has 
ghostly apparitions.  Photo by Leo Udtohan
The house which has bullet holes during the intense gunbattle still stands today, and locals claim to hear sounds of scratching coming from inside the walls. Residents have also reported screaming coming from inside the house as well as silhouettes of figures moving around, even though it's been vacant for months.

In Barangay Caboy in Clarin town, fear pushed residents to avoid the area where the bandit group had fallen due to alleged paranormal activities.

Cresencia Revilla, 86, and her sister Primitiva, 76, said their niece Antonia heard ghastly voices in the area.

The place is now covered with cogon grass although some coconut trees still carry their battle scars –. “Makadungog siya usahay, pasagdan ra niya (She heard ghostly voices, but she just ignored these),” said Primitiva.

Sometimes, she added, Antonia heard ghostly screams coming from the vacant lot especially during rainy days.

There were times that Antonio heard someone crying.

“Ingana tingali na kay wala pangajii (May be these happen because no one prayed for their souls),” said Cresencia.

 Primitiva said no one also dared to walk around the area after some residents reported sudden gush of cold area crawling their spines.

 In the hilly portion of Barangay Tinibgan in Calape, some residents claimed seeing strange flashes of light near at the graveyard where the two ASG members were buried.

Every year, come November 1 and 2, cemeteries all
over the country come to life when the living visit
their dead in what has come to be known traditionally
 for Filipinos as All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day.
  Photo by Leo Udtohan
The graveyards of the ASG members have become unwitting tourist attractions. Curious individuals flock to the public cemeteries of Inabanga, Clarin, Calape and Tagbilaran City to check out the unmarked gravesites of the 11 Abu Sayyaf members.

Some were also apprehensive that they might be mistaken as part of the Abu Sayyaf.

Only the grave of Joselito Melloria who brought the terrorists to Bohol was marked with a cross. The others didn’t even have a tombstone.

The graveyards in U-og Cemetery in Inabanga, Clarin and Calape had been covered with tall grasses and other plants.

In Tagbilaran City, the Marapao Street apparently has several ghostly residents. People share that they see “white ladies” and “pantasma”, a giant ghoul with chains on its arms and legs with fire and other strange creatures at night.

The Old Capitol building is also scary. Strange noises and infamous headless apparitions of priests are reported to be seen in this building.

It is believed that the headless ghosts and noises are from the priests and prisoners beheaded during World War II. Some workers say they don’t hear anything unusual, but no one works late.

The Binayran Road in barangay Dampas is said to be the most haunted road in Tagbilaran City. Drivers have reported everything from strangely dressed wanderers, to ghosts, to phantom vehicles that chase them to its end.

Habal-habal (motorcycle for rent) drivers have already encountered “agta” and big black dog including this woman who would walk to the middle of the road to stop a passing vehicle. Naturally, a driver would stop to avoid hitting her. She would then ask to be brought to the water reservoir, but would disappear before getting there.

The tragedy that took place years ago where a family died has contributed to its haunted reputation. Strange sights and sounds are reported at the crime scene. 

Schools in Tagbilaran especially those that have seen and survived the war have stories of haunting.  And most of the schools in Tagbilaran City were built on what used to be cemetery grounds.

Students and teachers often report sudden cold chills, odors with no discernible origin, phantom footsteps, and strange apparitions at Dr. Cecilio Putong National High School.

An unidentified girl showed up in a photo taken inside the classroom, no one can identify the blurry girl who appeared in the photo.  Some students and teachers claim to hear basketballs bouncing against the court and hoards of people cheering, but when they peer into the gymnasium... no one is there. The Imelda Building is famous for the apparition of the white ladies and duwendes. Until now, stories of strange apparitions and aromatic smell coming out of nowhere are consistently reported.

Sightings of the mysterious headless nun are reported by students and teachers of the abandoned Holy Spirit School.  Early morning joggers say that you can hear people inside the elementary building though clearly nobody is inside and all lights are off. A mysterious headless nun is said to haunt near the library.

There were also reported appearances of a white and red ladies at University of Bohol. Ghosts and wailing voices are heard from the school’s ST Building.

The Holy Name University in Lessage Street was famous for “ghostly apparitions” before it was abandoned.  Since, the school was demolished, the mysterious lady at the 4th floor and the giant dog were roaming around perhaps looking for a place to stay!

In Inabanga town, the Macaban Cave is known as the city of supernatural beings or engkantos.

Stories of angry spirits, unexplained orbs, pantasma and black ladies are reported along the national highway on Barangay Pig-ot in Loon town. The hilly part of the said barangay is a public market and a cemetery of the engkantos.


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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Boholanos remember devastating quake 4 years ago

Scene: Who will be this year's ICM Glamorous Prince and Princess? Find out on Sunday, October 22, 3 p.m.

Scene:  From Ariel E. Fullido:  Angelina Cruz Montano, a Universal Records artist, ASAP performer, Careline model, and the celebrity daughter of Cesar Montano and Sunshine Cruz, will perform together with CenterStage band in the Search for Miss Interschool Personality 2017 of Mabini, this coming Sunday evening, October 29, at the town center. Sponsors of the event are ELGS, A & A Original Organic Red Wine, 4Life, Ms. Josen Cesar; and Purok Kamansi of Poblacion, Mabini, through its president, Danny Cellan, and organizer/adviser, Jericho Vergara.

Angelina Cruz Montano Contributed Photo
Scene: Clement Ingking shares this story: An elephant and a dog became pregnant at same time. Three months down the line the dog gave birth to six puppies. Six months later the dog was pregnant again, and nine months on it gave birth to another dozen puppies. The pattern continued. On the eighteenth month the dog approached the elephant questioning, "Are you sure that you are pregnant? We became pregnant on the same date, I have given birth three times to a dozen puppies and they are now grown to become big dogs, yet you are still pregnant. What’s going on?" The elephant replied, "There is something I want you to understand. What I am carrying is not a puppy but an elephant. I only give birth to one in two years. When my baby hits the ground, the earth feels it. When my baby crosses the road, human beings stop and watch in admiration, what I carry draws attention. So what I'm carrying is mighty and great.". Don't lose faith when you see others achieving their success! Don't be envious of others results. If you haven't received your success, don't despair. Say to yourself "My time is coming, and when it hits the surface of the earth, people shall yield in admiration."

The provincial government of Bohol has been awarded as the “Most Business Friendly Local Government Unit” among all provinces in the Philippines, conferred by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and handed over by President Rodrigo Duterte during the 43rd Philippine Business Conference and Expo at Manila Hotel last Oct. 19.

“Among all the provinces, there were 14 finalists and Bohol was declared top! No second nor third! Only one,”  Balilihan Mayor Pureza Chatto posted on Facebook.

Last Sunday, Boholanos paused to reflect on a devastating 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck the province on Oct. 15, 2013, destroying scores of structures, killing at least 200 of people, injuring at least 800, and displacing more than 300,000 survivors.

At 8:12 a.m., residents of this city observed a minute of silent prayer as church bells tolled to mark the fourth anniversary of the quake that devastated the province in 2013.

Some of the kids who are part of The Art Nouveau Models
 are joining this year’s ICM Glamorous Prince and Princess.  
Contributed Photo
The commemoration struck a somber note and also emphasized deeply entrenched grief and trauma of the disaster.

Some said they couldn’t believe four years had passed since the tragedy that to many still felt like it had happened “just yesterday.”

In Tagbilaran City, a Mass was celebrated at the St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral by Tagbilaran Bishop Emeritus Leonardo Medroso of the Diocese of Tagbilaran.

In his homily, Medroso asked the parishioners to pray for one another.

“We asked his grace to look forward for better things,” he said. “But the better thing is to have that spirit to accept good things that come from God and also to accept whatever calamity that come to our lives… that power of charity, the power of love.”

After the Mass, Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto gave his message. He said that the earthquake allowed Boholanos to deepen their faith in God as they helped each other.

Chatto told VRS later that the recovery of the province was almost complete.

“We are very inspired with the recovery of the province of Bohol and its entirety,” Chatto said. “Generally, all the agencies that have committed their contribution in the quick rehabilitation of the province had delivered their 90 percent, 95 percent, and 100 percent.”

The collapsed facade of the Holy Trinity Church in Loay
 town after an earthquake in 2013 and finally 
it was restored after four years.  Photos by Leo Udtohan
Although he said certain agencies were able to achieve only 80 percent rehabilitation.

“The gaps that have identified have been quickly addressed with these agencies,” Chatto said. “We are not done with the whole process of the recovery, but definitely we are moving very, very quickly.”

Chatto said that some of the provincial statistics in the tourist arrival and business investments showed very good signs of the recovery of the province.

Several activities were also held in different towns on Sunday.

The Holy Trinity Church in Loay was formally turned over to local authorities on Sunday morning.

The 1855 Provincial Capitol Building, which was built in stone and lime as tribunal and garrison, was also restored and a soft opening was held Sunday afternoon. It took four years to restore it to make sure that the structure would not only regain its original form but would also be disaster-resilient.

In Maribojoc, local officials and residents gathered to commemorate the quake in synch with the 157th anniversary of the foundation of the town. A portion of a mountain in Maribojoc, which was scarred by the quake, was visible from the gymnasium where the event was held.

“The people have recovered from the tragedy,” Mayor Gumersindo Arocha said. “They have their own houses from the government.”

The families also visited cemeteries to remember those who had lost their lives.

Every Oct. 15, since the date of the deadliest earthquake, the Somoros and Empinados families would visit the Bayong Falls in Sagbayan town where their five children were buried.

“I’ll visit this place every year for the rest of my life,” Genara Somoro said.

“This is where I remember my children and this is where I get my strength. I will never forget,” she added.

The Barace family in Antequera town also visited the public cemetery to pay homage to their four family members who were all swallowed by a giant crack in the ground.

Full recovery will take awhile longer.


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Sunday, October 15, 2017

The floating umbrellas of Getafe; Boholano hailed as hero in Las Vegas shooting

Scene: Dismissed police officer Maria Cristina Brugada Nobleza  and her husband Reener Lou Dongon who were linked to the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) appeared in court on Friday morning to attend the arraignment of charges filed against them. But they were not able to enter their plea before Judge Jorge Cabalit of RTC Branch 48 in Tagbilaran City due to their pending motion to dismiss the illegal possession of firearms and explosives filed against them. Nobleza wore a hijab, a veil traditionally worn by Muslim women, while Dongon who sported a long hair was clad in a grey hood. Both appeared thinner and paler compared to their previous court appearances. Sarah Soriano-Hermida, Nobleza’s lawyer, said Nobleza has been suffering from eye problem-headaches and blurred vision, while Dongon was also suffering from mouth and head pain due to his dental braces.

Scene:  A hired consultant (HC) of a popular town tendered her resignation after she has a rift with the leader of the place (LOTP). HC posted on Facebook that someone insulted her to the nth degree by expecting her to be a part to such lies and deception.  HC said she was not just a teacher, a parent, an educator but also because her name means truth. HC said she was harassed by the constant calls and texts by the mother earth (ME) who copied her ideas.  HC retracted the entry she had written as attempted identity theft.  LOTP who posted on Facebook that HC is suffering a mental problem. LOTP said HC has no right to demoralize people and destroy the program.

Tourists are coming to Getafe town, Bohol, to see
the floating umbrellas. Leo Udtohan
Scene: The 4th Panubig Festival in Pilar town last Oct. 11.  Five contingents drew cheers as they danced in honor to Nuestra Señora del Pilar or Our Lady of the Pillar, the town’s patroness. Many members of the audience came all the way from neighboring towns to share in the celebration. The air was expectedly both festive and celebratory. After all, it was Pilar’s Panubig Festival 2017. “This festival is giving honor to Our Lady of Pillar for the good harvest, for the blessings, for the manpower and labor,” said Butch Bernas, Ph.D., the founder of Panubig.  The event was hosted by Inday Rufing.

Scene:  With a minute of silence, tolling bells and prayers, Bohol on Sunday will mark the fourth anniversary of the magnitude 7.2 earthquake which brought Bohol province to its knees.

At least 1,200 umbrellas are hoisted high above the town plaza of Getafe, 92 kms from the capital city of Tagbilaran, providing shade and an amazing sight.

When looking up from the ground the parasols appear to be floating all on their own. A thin string runs between the umbrellas- red, green, blue and yellow- in order to hold them up.

When it was introduced to the crowd last week, it draws hundreds who come to the town to enjoy the sights which is similar to the hundreds floating umbrellas in a street in Agueda, Portugal.

“The umbrellas are so beautiful and attractive,” said Edralenn Torreon, 13. “And the only in Bohol,” she added.

Erstwhile provincial board member Ma. Fe Camacho-Lejos, now the Sangguniang Bayan secretary, said people have enjoyed the excitement of the umbrella canopies which brings a refreshing pop of diversity and color to the area.

If you are visiting the town of Getafe, above your
 head floats an array of brightly colored umbrellas. Leo Udtohan
The idea of introducing a canopy of colorful parasols was part of the town’s 143rd founding anniversary.

However, the floating umbrellas would stay there for good.

Mayor Casey Shaun Camacho said he plans to add LED lights for the umbrellas to glow at night especially for Christmas.

Getafe is home of the largest man-made mangrove forest in Asia found in the island-barangay Banacon.

Maquindang of Loboc town hailed as a hero in Las Vegas shooting

Tales of heroism have emerged in the aftermath of the Las Vegas mass shooting, which left 58 people dead and more than 500 injured.

One of those hailed as a hero was 66-year-old Bohol native Winifredo Balbido Maquindang, a taxi driver in Las Vegas just four days on the job.

Maquindang loaded six wounded victims in his taxi and took them to the hospital, speeding through red lights to make sure they got treated as soon as possible.

Maquindang, who was on his fourth day working for  Yellow Checker Star Transportation, one of Nevada state’s largest taxi companies, said he decided to wait for fares in front of Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino during the Oct. 1 music festival.

Suddenly he heard a series of explosions that sounded like fireworks.

“We are used to fireworks here in Vegas,” Maquindang said.

He later realized that these were not fireworks as shards of glass rained down on the street from an upper floor of the hotel.

Winifredo Balbido Maquindang (extreme right)
 with Delfin Sumampong and Tani and May Balbido in the US. 
Contributed Photo
As Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, opened fire on the crowd of 22,000 people attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival, many became too frightened to move.

Maquindang saw some concertgoers so scared that they did know know what to do.

When a stampede broke out, he said he saw bodies on the ground amid deafening screams and cries.

Maquindang said he packed six who were injured in his taxi, which normally carries four passengers, and sped away to Sunrise Hospital about 6 kilometers away, never stopping for a red light.

“Two of them were in serious condition because they were hit by bullets in the back and in the neck,” he said.

He thought of returning to the site to ferry more people to the hospital but he worried about what his boss might say and the possible damage his cab might sustain during the chaos. So he decided to go home instead.

Six days later, Maquindang said he still didn’t know what happened to the people he took to the hospital.
“I don’t have time yet but I like to visit them to know their condition,” he said.

Maquindang, who hailed from Poblacion Sawang in Loboc town in Bohol province, has been living in United States for 47 years.

His family lives in Los Angeles, California, where he also drove a taxi, but he relocated to Las Vegas after he was hired by the taxi company.

Maquindang was hailed among the heroes of America’s worst mass shooting in recent years.

His daughter, Alyssa Mae, proudly posted her father’s heroic deed on Facebook.

“My dad was caught in the middle of the shooting in Las Vegas. Even though I know he's safe, watching this video of him with all the gunshots in the background scares me so much. He was working that night by Mandalay Bay and transported those who were wounded to the hospital. So thankful he's safe and proud of him for saving lives. Love you Dad,” she said.

But for Maquindang, he was just doing the right thing.

“Basta makatabang lang ta sa atong isigkatawo” he said.

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

Sunday, October 08, 2017

20,000 LED roses and tulips ‘grow’ in Bohol town

Jardin Necitas has been deliberately designed and “planted” to engage the emotions in a powerful way that evokes feelings of passion, love and intimacy.- Leo Udtohan

PILAR, Bohol-  Soon-to-be-married couple are on their way to forever on Oct. 28.

But for Leomando Diño, 32, and Rosemary Buaya, 27, they decided to have a pre-nuptial pictorial in landmarks in Bohol that have their own beautiful charms that will illuminate their pre-wedding photo album.

The Jardin Necitas Pilar Glowing Garden is now the 
choice of many couples for their pre-nuptial 
weddings since Jardin Necitas has been deliberately 
designed and “planted” to engage the emotions in a 
powerful way that evokes feelings of passion, love 
and intimacy.  Courtesy: Budz and Bags
They chose Jardin Necitas Pilar Glowing Garden in Pilar town as one of the iconic places as backdrops that can bring more life and different kinds of feelings to their pre-wedding pictures.

“It is very colorful, blooming, inspiring and romantic,” said Rosemary.

 “The view and the flowers took my breath away. It’s more romantic if you’re holding hands with the love of your life,” said Leomando.

Police officers Leomando Diño and 
Rosemary Buaya have their prenuptial
 pictorial at Bohol’s newest attraction- 
the Jardin Necitas Pilar Glowing Garden, 
a garden filled with thousands of faux flowers
 that light up at nightfall to bring life 
to their pre-wedding photo album.  
 Courtesy: Budz and Bags
The couple who are police officers were dating for five years before getting hitched.  They were the first couple to have their pre-nup pictorial taken at the glowing garden since its opening last Sept. 27 which the social media was abuzz over the weekend.
Located in a hilltop in Barangay Bagumbayan, Jardin Necitas Pilar Glowing Garden offers a scenic view of the mountain ranges of Ubay and Mabini towns and has a front yard that has thousands of plastic roses and tulips that light up at nightfall.

This place is adorned with 15,000 multi-colored tulips and 5,000 red and white roses made of plastic, with a steel bar to serve as a stem for the flowers to stand on.

At the entrance, visitors will enjoy taking “selfies” and “groupies” with 55 LED-light cherry blossoms and animals such as swans and flamingos.

The center has flowers arranged to shape like an “I”, heart and “U” to spell “I Love You.”

Another visitor, Helen Alagadmo, was enjoying clicking her camera at the glowing garden.  She said she would like to visit Dongdaenum Design Plaza in South Korea and the 10,000 White Roses & More in Cordova in Cebu.

But Helen said she changed her mind not to go to Korea and Cebu since roses have “grown” in the little island of Bohol.

Genellie Inting- Calipes, 34, brought her family and friends to see the glowing garden even it was 76 kms from the capital city of Tagbilaran.

Genellie like other visitors went to the garden at day time and waited until night time to see the flowers  burst into a sea of brilliance against the dark night.

“The garden is beautiful. I was amazed to see the glowing flowers and it relieved my stress,” said Genellie, a Filipino teacher at Dr. Cecilio Putong National High School in the city.

Many visitors find the garden intrinsically romantic and offer pretty pictures in all directions. After all, Jardin Necitas has been deliberately designed and “planted” to engage the emotions in a powerful way that evokes feelings of passion, love and intimacy.

But who is Necitas? 

Necitas, of course, is incumbent Pilar Mayor Necitas Cubrado.

Her daughter Vanessa brought the artificial roses and tulips to her hometown.

Vanessa, 32, said the artificial flowers are LED-lighted and are spread across a 2,000 square meter area at a hilltop lot in Purok 5, Barangay Bagumbayan.

Vanessa Cubrado ‘plants’ 20,000 LED-lighted 
flowers in Bohol, the first and only in the province.
Courtesy: Jardin Necitas Pilar Glowing Garden 
The Jardin Necitas is open from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. Entrance fee is at P30 for adults and kids to help maintain and clean the surroundings.

Would-be couples who intend to have their pre-nuptial photos taken in the garden can do so for a fee of P1,000.

The entire project was completed within two months and an estimated P10 million was spent for its construction, Vanessa said.

Vanessa said it was not really planned.  She just grabbed the proposal of her friend at MyLedOpto which is responsible for glowing gardens in the country. 

She said most of their visitors are locals and tourists coming from Manila although there are various nationals in the garden.

“I didn’t expect it will be a huge hit in Bohol as the first and only glowing garden. I think I was really into tourism and boasting the tourism of Pilar especially the 3rd district (of Bohol).  I was thinking it would be of big help,” Vanessa said.

At night, the beauty of the 20,000 roses and 
tulips sparkles when these are lighted at Jardin
 Necitas Pilar Glowing Garden in Bohol province.
 Leo Udtohan


The establishment which opened last Sept. 27 drew 5,000 visitors. From that day, many visitors frequent the place to have their pictures taken.

There is a small cafe which is offers food and refreshments to visitors who just want to relax while taking the scenic views.

Vanessa said her family plans to open a resort to accommodate visitors.

Visitors can take a bus or van (GT Express) at Dao Terminal in Tagbilaran City but make it sure to arrange a pick-up for your way back to the city.  If you own a private vehicle, you can drive your way to the glowing garden for at least 2 hours. 


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Sunday, October 01, 2017

Tourist driver to file case against Bohol cops

PANGLAO, Bohol—Police here said that the allegation of the tourist driver Jeffrey Galon Sarabia that he was beaten by a police using a baseball bat inside the police station was just a drama.

“Drama lang na niya para makakuha siya og simpatiya (It is his drama to get sympathy),” said PO1 Mark Yana, desk officer of the Panglao Police Station.

“During that time nakadungog man siya sa biktima kadtong taga DepEd staff nga eager mo-file og kaso against niya. Siguro naghimo-himo lang siya ana diversion or rason para para makuha ng simpatiya sa biktima (During that time, Sarabia heard that the victim who was a DepEd staff was eager to file a case against him. That’s why he made it, a diversion or reason to get sympathy from the victim),” Yana added.

Yana said Sarabia was a suspect in a case of theft based on their witnesses—the DepEd employees.

Sarabia, 36, a tourist driver, was with three employees of the Department of Education (DepEd) who went to Panglao Central School to conduct validation last Sept. 20 at past 4 p.m.

The victim (who asked for anonymity) said she left her bag at the vehicle parked near the town plaza. While waiting, Sarabia amused himself watching basketball at the town plaza that he forgot to lock the van.

After 30 minutes, when employees returned to the vehicle, they discovered that the things inside the van were scattered. One of the employees lost her P2,500 cash.

Sarabia admitted that it was his fault and told the employee that he will pay the P2,500 when they returned to Tagbilaran City. However, they decided to blotter the incident at the Panglao Police Station.

In a statement by the Panglao Police Station on Monday, it said the victim and her two other colleagues conducted inquiry in the area but a reliable source told them that Sarabia did not come down from the vehicle.

“At that time the victim confronted the driver suspecting that he was the one responsible in stealing her money. The commotion happened in the area and both were advised by the responding officers to settle their problem at (the) Panglao PNP station,” the statement said.

But the two DepEd employees said there was no commotion ever happened.

The statement added “at the station the victim narrated the incident and the same was recorded in the police blotter. Jeffrey’s name and the personal circumstances were taken for recording purposes. After the victim manifested that she was still undecided to pursue her complaint, the victim and the suspect left our office. That is why our office wonders on how it could happen that Jeffrey alleges that he was mauled while at Panglao Police station.”

Jeffrey Sarabia said he was beaten by a policeman using a baseball bat. 
However, the DepEd employees said they left for Tagbilaran and left Jeffrey at the police station since they were told by police that Sarabia had to stay for some interrogation.

“Ming-una mi og lakaw unya nagpabilin si Jeffrey sa police station. Wala nako kahibaw unsay nahitabo (We didn’t know what happened since we left him at the police station),” she said.

She also clarified she was not willing to file a complaint since she didn’t know who took her money.

Sarabia said he was brought by PO1 Heracleo Padillo Jr. to the second floor of the station. He was told to undress and he was beaten using a baseball bat in his left thigh that caused bruises.

According to Sarabia, another police who was not wearing his uniform, told him to admit that he stole the money.

“Ug dili nimo iuli ang kuwarta madugangan ang imong kaso, planteran ka nako og duha ka putos karun (If you will not return the money there will be another case against you since we can plant two pieces of (shabu) now,” said Sarabia who quoted the police.

Sarabia was diagnosed with hematoma or soft tissue contusion based on a medical certificate.

Yana insisted that there was no mauling happened. And for Sarabia’s bruise, he said Sarabia invented stories.

“Walay nahitabo nga pangbun-og ug pamunal kay diri raman sila sa lobby (No mauling happened because they were only at the lobby [of the police station]),” he said.

Sarabia said the incident was still rankling in his mind it had been six days since he was beaten.

“Wala ko namakak ug maggama-gama og estorya. Manghinaot ko mugawas ra ang kamatuoran para matagaan ang hustisya sa nahitabo nako (I didn’t lie or invent stories. I hope the truth will come out so that I can attain justice),” he said.

Sarabia said he will be filing charges against Padillo and three policemen this week.


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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Round Bohol

Bohol is our native land. Capital city is Tagbilaran. My hometown is Calape, four towns before Getafe. Tubigon, Clarin, Inabanga, Loay, Lila, Anda, Valencia, Loboc, Bilar, Sikatuna, Duero, Jagna, Antequera.  Carmen, Sierra-Bullones, Albur, Garcia Hernandez,  Talibon, Trinidad, Loon, Cortes, Baclayon, Panglao,  and Dauis. Maribojoc , Candijay, Ubay, Batuan, Mabini, Corella, Dimiao, Sagbayan,  Balilihan, Sevilla, Dagohoy, Catigbian. Danao, Pilar, San Isidro, San Miguel ug Buenavista, nadugang ang Bien Unido ug President Garcia. 48 ka mga lungsod ning lalawigan sa Bol-anon muhimo ka mulibot kung ikaw mo-excursion...

“Round Bohol Rock,” by  Yoyoy Villame

A new (funny) version of “Round Bohol” is circulating in the social media.  I chanced upon it last night, and well, it's kind of a delayed reaction, but still, I find it amusing.


Hindi dito, hindi diyan, LOON!

Hindi superman,hindi batman,  GUINDULMAN!

Not three,Not two, BATUAN.

Ug matulog ka, ayaw pag-LOAY.

Land of KPOP, South CORELLA.

It's always nice TUBIGON the day with a smile.

Sunod sa Pangako sa'yo, ANDA wings of love.

Para sa pamilya, Para sa ekonomiya, Para SAGBAYAN.

Nakaligo ka na ba sa dagat ng basura? Nagpasko ka na ba sa gitna ng kalsada? Manny BILAR.

Tongue Twister.  I wish to wish DAUIS you wish to wish, but if you wish to wish DAUIS the witch wishes, I won't wish DAUIS you wish to wish.

Kaon ug tarong para sa maayong PANGLAO-was!

Grizzly bear, Snow bear, PILAR bear

Move on na ko, ALBUR-ry all the bad memories.

Ug manglaba ka,ayaw butangig CLARIN ang dekolor kay magputi-puti

UBAY myself......don't wanna live....UBAY myself anymore

You and I.........CARMEN to be.

MABINI-bini sa aking pagtulog...

Dili sakyon kay among BACLAYON.

Son,is it true? Answer me!!  SAN, ISIDRO? Is it true?

Ang basketball, sa basketbolan, Ang tennis, sa tennisan, Ang billiards, SEVILLAran

Dili na kaya ang engineering, Mao tong mi-VALENCIA ug kurso.

Dili na kiss, JAGNA.

Lingaw diri. Naay CORTES ug kaon. Naay CORTES ug dagan. Singing CORTES, dance CORTES

Sa wala pay rice cooker, Naa nay kal-DUERO

What's chikchik mama? BIEN UNIDO fortified.

Tagay diri, inom didto, SAN MIGUEL.

TALIBON kung lumipad,sumabay sa hangin,ako'y napatingin....

Under my umbrella, ella..LILA eh eh.

Unsay tingog sa iring? Eh DIMIAO.

Do you know how? I DANAO.

Libro sa nag-take up ug Law, LOBOC.

Aalis din ako dahil aALICIA.

Napyansahan na ka. You are PITOGO.

SIERRA BULLONES nang tayoy nagkakilala. Martes nang tayoy muling nagkita

Abi kog ""I can't"" ,"" i CAN""DIJAY.

Habulin ng babae,araw man o gabi...DAGOHOY hoy hoy hoy, hoy hoy hoy hoy,

Sige ug dagan, TAGBILA-RUN.

Dili na Christmas tree ni Mom, Kay Christmas TRI NI DAD na.

Bakit CALAPE-t nang lapit sa akin?

Naunsa to? INABANGA ang bus sa kahoy.

Ang araw ay siSIKATUNA sa silangan at lulubog pagkatapos sa kanluran.

Sige man kag tabi ug storya sa tapad ,grabiha CATIGBIAN-na gyud nmo.

We will have an exam. GETAFE-ce of paper!

Abi kog ang tuko, AN TEQUE RA man diay.

I want to ""MARIBOJOC"".Di masabtan? I want her to be my wife.I want to ""Mary hair"".

Lumipas na ang isang taon at isang BUENA VISTA-basta ka na lang nagbago at naglaho.

suGARCIA.....HERNANDEZ,  Won't you come and put it down on me.

Mutya ka BALILIHAN katahom. Tinggas pa sa puti nga baybayon. Gugma ko BALILI HANdumon. Puro kaw Baliling sa katahom"

Speaking of Bohol, Juan Lumacang III shares his article for us to ponder. Here it is:

Bohol’s Danger Ahead
(An Open Letter to DENR and Bohol Media Practitioners)

Bohol is a home to many natural wonders, a truly God-given gift to the province and its people. We are known to be protectors and stewards of the environment, espoused thereafter the passage of the Environmental code, a first of its kind in the entire country.

How soon can we realize that the present conditions of the province are not pleasing and favorable to the inhabitants- the brave and hospitable Boholanos?

I am appalled and shocked upon seeing the photos below. These photos are recent pictures of Bohol Limestone Corporation in Garcia Hernandez, Bohol. I am no expert of this, but as a concerned Boholano who has great admiration of the God-given gifts in the province, it made me question the legality of this mining.

I am aware that the present administration under President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has a crusade against mining firms and corporations that had brought devastation to the environment. It was started during the tenure of the former DENR Sec. Gina Lopez. They called a halt on the operations on those firms that violated the mining law. Technically, they cancelled the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) which compels the mining firms to suspend their operations. On this premise, I thought the Bohol Limestone Corporation in Garcia Hernandez, Bohol was made to suspend theirs too.

 The once beautiful mountains of the Garcia Hernandez, source of water and life in the locality, are now flattened into an almost airport-size mining field. What benefits have it brought to the municipality and its people? I sure do know these benefits if there is any, are just a day-long benefits, not a long-term and sustainable one. We must not be blinded.

These past months, I browsed over the internet about recent developments in the province. I read the news and some blogs pertaining to Bohol’s progress. I must say, we are in the right track towards development. But never in a glance I saw these issues to surmise. Media Practitioners are mum about it. I don’t know if it is intentional, I hope not. Thus, I took to the leverage to air this out through social media. Let us see where this leads us.

A portion of the Provincial Government’s Vision states “Bohol is a prime eco-cultural tourist destination with sound environmental condition…”. These words should reverberate in every Boholano including gov’t agencies to forward our goals in keeping a sound environmental condition in the Province. Clearly, the mining in Garcia Hernandez deviates from our common vision for Bohol. Do we need to witness a tremendous devastation before we act? I think not. This is not the time for a wait-and-see system. We all want a safe and sound environment to live in.

 I call upon the DENR through Sec. Roy Cimatu and other concern agencies to look into the situation. It is incumbent upon you to call a halt on the operation of this firm. While this may bring a little good to the people, the destruction will haunt us down in the future. If this firm does not conform to the enabling laws and other regulations, their operation should be stop. We can’t afford a mud flood to come to our province. We are still recuperating from the great havoc brought by the 7.2 earthquake four years ago.

We can’t afford to be derailed once again towards our goals for a better future. Hand in hand we determine the future of our beloved province of Bohol. Together let us not allow that our children be robbed of their future, their wonderful environment, the place we call home. This is ours, we must protect it.


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

Sunday, September 17, 2017

24 hours in Ireland: History and beer

Scene: Isabel Iris Garsuta on winning Miss University of Bohol Personality 2017: “It is a dream come true. To God be all the glory!   I am so grateful to all the people who have helped me on my journey throughout this pageant.” Her proud mother, Mariz Garsuta, posted on Facebook, “I wish you all the best, your journey as Miss UB personality 2017 has just began. Continue to instill the Christian values, the University of Bohol trinity of virtues and inspire the youth.” Erick Karcher is Mr. UB Personality 2017.

Isabel Iris Garsuta and Erick Karcher  Courtesy: UB 
Scene:  Police Regional Office (PRO)-7 director Chief Supt. Mario Espino was the guest of honor in the blessing and inauguration of the new P14 million police station in this city last week.  “A very comfortable and welcoming facility for the residents of Tagbilaran City. Maganda and presentable,” said Supt. Patricio Degay Jr., city chief of police, in a phone interview.   However, police had been left red-faced after the marker of the building was revealed - along with prominent spelling mistakes.  A close-up photo of the marker posted on the social media received “negative” reactions. Some residents have found at least eight “errors”- like “Police Regional Police" instead of Regional Police Office and “governemnt” instead of government.  The names of councilors were also spelt incorrect: Dulce Philipp S. Besas instead of Dulce Amelia C. Glovasa, Albert C. Torralba instead of Alberta C. Torralba, Agalon N. Polinar instead of Vicente N. Polinar, Agustinus Gonzaga instead of Augustinus Gonzaga and Nicanor S. Besas instead of Philipp S. Besas. It had “Sanguniang Bayan” instead of Sangguniang Panlungsod. Some residents shared that it must be double-checked since it was a marker. Degay said he didn’t know of the spelling errors since the marker was from the regional office. “I don’t have control with it since it was the regional engineering office which was in-charged,” he said.   Seemingly seeing the funny side, Degay said the marker would be remove and correct.  “We will have it correct as quickly as possible,” said Degay.

DUBLIN, Republic of Ireland-  After London, I decided to visit Ireland.  The reason Ireland is so popular with tourists is the overall experience. It is full of beauty and punctuated by charming coastal villages.  Yes, U2 and Westlife.

I hate travelling alone.  Solo travel depression is very real thing.  Solo travel is boring, eating alone is depressing and I hate an album full of selfies.

But all of these were gone when I arrived in Dublin, Ireland’s largest city and capital.

Dublin's charm lies on scenery, people and the craic. The good news is these can be explored even in 24 hours. For one day, tourists can visit the Trinity College, Temple Bar, Guinness Storehouse, Dublin Castle and more.

Ireland’s capital needs no introduction. It has history, charm, sights, museums, galleries, theatres, shops, pubs, restaurants and an abundance of character. Photo by Leo Udtohan
There are two ways to explore Dublin faster – rent a bike at bike stations, a hop-on-hop-off bus but a little pricey or do a walking tour. For me, Dublin is one of the most walkable cities in Europe that I found to be best enjoyed by foot.

Tip: Start in the north at Phoenix Park and head south to the River Liffey, cross the famous Ha'Penny Bridge and find your way to the medieval streets of Temple Bar. Pause for a pint before heading to the Trinity College campus. Shop along nearby Grafton Street before jaunting on to the peaceful St. Stephen's Green. From there, literary fiends can drop by the Writers Museum or the James Joyce Centre while visitors that enjoy a drop of the good stuff can tour the Guinness Storehouse or the Old Jameson Distillery.

And no matter what you decide to do on your Ireland adventure, every destination you head to will captivate, surprise, and inspire the curious traveler.

Here are the “must-see’s” and the “must-do’s” in Dublin:

Pubs. That's what you likely know about Dublin. There are at least  2,000 liquor licenses in the Irish capital.

James Joyce, one of Ireland's most influential and celebrated writers, once said it would make a great puzzle trying to cross the city without passing a pub.

Your VRS at O'Neills Bar and Restaurant
in the historic heart of Dublin.
The city has at least 2,000 pubs to relax
and drink Guinness beer. 
The pub is the social hub of any Irish town, and here you’ll find friendly chatter while observing the finer points of pulling the perfect pint.

Some rudimentary Dublin rules to follow:

1)If someone buys you a drink, buy them one back.

2)Don't expect to drink all night.  Most pubs close at 11:30 p.m. on weeknights and 1a.m. on weekends. Something about curbing alcoholism.

3)If you are drunk and have awful lots of feelings, don't call an Irishwo/man British. You are starting a fistfight. The Republic of Ireland is independent of the crown. It has been a Free State since 1922. Northern Ireland is part of the UK.

If you are in Dublin, it is a must to visit the Guinness Storehouse where the beer was born to travel.  The dark, tangy porter beer first brewed by Arthur Guinness in Dublin in 1759 wins the hearts and minds of beer lovers in United Kingdom and Africa.  The Guinness Storehouse is very touristy. Here you will learn the history of Guinness, how Guinness is produced, how it is marketed, and even learn how to pour the perfect pint. The tour ends with a pint of Guinness at the Gravity Bar. From here, you have 360° views of Dublin.

Trinity College. Founded in 1592, Trinity College is Ireland's oldest university. The historic buildings, gardens and monuments are worth a visit. Famous students here were Samuel Beckett, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde. 

The statue of Molly Malone, an attractive 
young woman making her way in the world, selling 
seafood by the barrow, through the streets of Dublin.  
The city is so enamored with the legend of Molly Malone
 that a statue to her memory was erected near Trinity College, 
to celebrate the millennium anniversary of the city’s founding. 
Photo by Leo Udtohan
The school library houses the Book of Kells. It may seem like a crumbling old bible, but look closer at the amazing designs and colors on these manuscripts (a different page is carefully turned every day).  The Book of Kells was written in 800 AD by a group of monks and was buried in the ground for safe keeping against the Vikings. In the 1600s it was rediscovered and sent to Trinity College where it has been ever since.

Other displays include a rare copy of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, read out by Pádraig Pearse at the beginning of the Easter Rising in 1916, as well as the so-called harp of Brian Ború, one of the oldest harps in Ireland.

There are at least 200,000 of the library's oldest volumes at the 65- meter Long Room, the library's main chamber. If your eyes are tired from all the reading, take some time to walk down the enormous hallway and admire the marble busts that pepper the unending rows of bookshelves.  There are 51 busts that scattered across the library including Socrates.

Museums and castles.   Dublin has many museums, galleries, castles and churches. And they are really good. But best of all they are free. These are the Chester Beatty Library, Natural History Museum, Museum of Modern Art and National Art Gallery which are highly entertaining.

Dublin Castle is the heart of historic Dublin and is where the city gets its name from the Black Pool - 'Dubh Linn' which was on the site of the present Castle garden. Founded in 1204, Dublin Castle spans 44,000 square meters and has two museums, cafes, gardens and a conference center. The government buildings and the State Apartments are the most important state rooms in Ireland. The grounds are free to explore.

Cathedrals.  Ireland used to be the most Catholic country in the world. The church's connection to the island nation dates to St. Patrick's conversion in the 5th century. There are many ancient but empty churches here. According to a local newspaper here, in 1984, nearly 90 percent of Irish Catholics went to Mass every week. But by 2011, only 18 percent did. It's a massive cultural shift.

Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest university.  Photo by Leo Udtohan
I, however, still love to visit old churches when I travel. I visited Saint Patrick's Cathedral even the walk was long-ish and  a bit uninspiring. Saint Patrick's is the National Cathedral of Ireland which was built between 1220 and 1260. But for friends of world literature this is a pilgrimage, and a must - Jonathan Swift of "Gulliver" fame was dean of and is buried in the cathedral.

Horse drawn carriage to see Dublin City in comfort and style.
Photo by Leo Udtohan
Another lovely church to visit is the Saint Augustine and Saint John The Baptist Church. I passed the famous The Beer Market near Dublinia on my way to the church. Outside the establishment, I saw a Filipino who was very familiar. He smiled at me. I just smiled back since I was in a hurry to catch the Holy Mass. While inside the church, I realized that the man I saw was a Boholano priest! After the Mass, I went back to The Beer Market to see him. Unfortunately, he was no longer there. That night, I had a chat with Wilma Diez-Balag, a resident of Cogon District, who asked me if I met Fr. Julian Lupot who is in Ireland. I suddenly remembered the man I saw in Dublin.  Wilma confirmed it was Fr. Julian. I still can't stop feeling the regret not being able to talk and shake hands with him.  Sigh!

With 24 hours, you can get a good taste of Dublin. 48 hours would be ideal. But even with just 24 hours in Dublin, I manage to get a good taste of the city and find a lot of reasons to return.  When I return to Dublin (someday) I wish to visit the sheer cliffs of Moher on the emerald Isle to see how it feels to be one small step from infinity. The cliffs have appeared in several films, including The Princess Bride (1987) (as the filming location for "The Cliffs of Insanity"), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), and Leap Year (2010).  In music, the cliffs have appeared in music videos, including Maroon 5's Runaway video, Westlife's My Love, and Rich Mullins' The Color Green. Most of singer Dusty Springfield's ashes were scattered at the cliffs. 


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