Boholano embracing adventure in Vietnam

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Boholano embracing adventure in Vietnam

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 Fr. Leo Dalmao, CMF Courtesy: CBCP
Fr. Leo Dalmao, CMF Courtesy: CBCP


Scene:  For the first time, a Filipino Catholic priest was elected to the new general government of the Claretians worldwide. Boholano priest Fr. Leo Dalmao, current provincial superior of Philippines, was elected consultor and Prefect of Formation. The election which was held last week in Rome coincided with their 25th General Chapter, bringing together representatives of more than 3,000 Claretians in 65 countries. A native of Tagbilaran City, Fr. Dalmao, 45, was ordained priest in May 1997.

Scene:  Primo, a popular music trio, is composed of Floyd Tena, James Uy, Laurence Mossman. For a long time the trio has charmed listeners and bar regulars with their unbeatable take on popular songs, Broadway, jazz and many, many more.  Being world-class, Primo is constantly performing in the United States, Europe and Asia. Catch Primo live in Bohol on Sept. 18 (Friday), 7:30 p.m. at the Bohol Cultural Center.  Tickets are: P500 (VIP), P300 (Patron) and P150 (general admission). For inquiries, call/text 09395977498.

Scene: Treat everyone with kindness and respect, said the roving VRS, who shared that an accounting staff (AS) in one of Bohol’s college where students can see the world free has terrible manners while inside the mall. “Since the counters were occupied, I went to the counter for senior citizen. While waiting for my turn since there were two ladies (not senior citizens) ahead of me, this AS suddenly rushed in with her alalay, a student who was still wearing his uniform of the see the world free, put her cart as if she was ahead of me,” narrated VRS.  AS didn’t smile, raised her eyebrows as if she had a stiff neck, according to VRS. AS’ alalay told VRS that “She is a senior citizen!”  So, VRS gave way…and looked for another counter. “She is rude! She could ask me politely. Saying please is by far one of the biggest issues with people these days,” VRS lamented. VRS also asked some friends about AS. Her colleagues shared terrible stories about her being ill-mannered. Giagwanta nalang namo na siya oi because she has two years more to go na to retire,” said Lady V.   Code? Children, let us sing together…Papaya, Papaya, fruit salad-salad.


Scene: For his works in empowering the local communities and helping the rehabilitation and recovery of Bohol after the killer quake, poet and community builder Nestor Maniebo Pestelos, has been selected by  Rappler’s Move Awards as one of 15 finalists. Move Awards was developed “to celebrate outstanding Filipinos who don’t let reality get in the way of their dreams: they look at the status quo and inspire others to change it with them for the better.” Pestelos is the president of Bohol Local Development Foundation (BLDF). To vote, visit


Rachael Annear (with Analyn Pollenza-Arbilo of the Philippine Port Police), one of the top 20 finalists in Miss Universe-New Zealand, says Philippines is a country of hospitable and warm people.  And the Top 20 finalists of Miss Universe-New Zealand. Photos by Leo Udtohan
Rachael Annear (with Analyn Pollenza-Arbilo of the Philippine Port Police), one of the top 20 finalists in Miss Universe-New Zealand, says Philippines is a country of hospitable and warm people. And the Top 20 finalists of Miss Universe-New Zealand. Photos by Leo Udtohan

Miss U-New Zealand Top 20 enjoy Bohol trip

For Rachael Annear, a visit to the Philippines is a learning experience of people and culture.

“It’s very important since New Zealand is multicultural,” said Annear, one of the top 20 finalists in the Miss Universe- New Zealand competition.

Annear, who is in her final year of completing her bachelor of education studies at Bethlehem Tertiary Institute, said joining the Miss Universe-New Zealand is her opportunity to represent her place Tauranga, one of New Zealand’s fastest growing cities.


So when Annear and other contestants were here in the Philippines for a 10-day finalists retreat, she was overwhelmed.


“Oh my goodness! It’s been amazing,” Annear told VRS.

She said they have been travelling in the Philippines for many days and it has been a good experience. “I love the culture here. People have been very friendly, very welcoming,” she added.

On Tuesday, the candidates were warmly welcomed at the Tagbilaran port where students danced the ‘It’s More Fun in the Philippines” theme song upon the arrival of the candidates. The candidates later joined the dancers.


Bohol has been selected as one of the country’s choice destinations for their final leg of the retreat with last year’s title holder Rachel Millns.

“The candidates’ visit in Bohol will surely help the tourism of Bohol,” said Jaypee Orcullo of the Bohol Tourism.


The candidates had the chance to savor the natural and cultural heritage of Bohol in a guided tour.  They visited Panglao Island, Loboc River, tarsier and the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park.

Miss Universe New Zealand is not the first pageant to visit Bohol as part of its official pre- pageant activity. The top 10 finalists of Miss Czech Republic visited Bohol in 2013 for photo sessions.

Miss Universe New Zealand is a national pageant with the winner going on to the international competition.

The Miss Universe-New Zealand organization had taken its finalists to Thailand the last two years, but this year CEO Nigel Godfrey has decided to bring them to the Philippines upon the invitation of Bench owner Ben Chan, according to the pageant’s official page on Facebook.

The candidates visited the historic sites in Metro Manila such as Intramuros and Fort Santiago; shopping areas such as the Glorietta Mall in Makati City; and Tahan-tahanan in Quezon City to meet children with cancer. The top 20 presented gifts to the children, parents, medical staff and volunteers, while Miss Universe New Zealand presented a cheque for 30,000 pesos, said the pageant’s official Facebook page.

The candidates had visited Cebu last Monday for a sight-seeing. They also visited the Island Girl Philippines  and Alegre Guitars in Lapu-Lapu City.

The coronation night of Miss Universe New Zealand will be on October 24.


jhoel lim in halong bay (1)
Jhoel Lim shares that Vietnam is a dynamic and a beautiful place. Contributed Photo

Jhoel Lim in Halong Bay in Vietnam

There’s so much beauty in the world. One of my favorite Asian countries to visit is Vietnam.  Imagine Halong Bay where 2000 or more islands rising from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin and you have a vision of breathtaking beauty. Then, there is Son Doong cave, the world’s largest cave…  Sad to say my plan didn’t happen.

Anyway, Jhoel Lim of the National Food Authority (NFA)-Bohol has just ticked Vietnam off his bucket list. He was in Cambodia and Vietnam last week together with his sister lawyer Jhella Lim of SSS-Bacolod to explore our Asian neighbors.

Vietnam is shedding its old look to become a tourism gem in Asia. Halong Bay, the jewel in Vietnam’s crown, remains an essential stop on any Vietnam tour.

“People have compared that Halong Bay is like a giant natural museum,” said Jhoel Lim. “Once you are there, you feel lost in its attractive beauty.”

Jhoel has visited El Nido or Coron, but the mists that slowly drifting over Halong Bay and the majestic sunset made his experience far different. He also said he was enjoying moments of solitude in this world famous site.

“The sight of hundreds of limestones karsts rising up from the emerald water is unforgettable,” said Jhoel.

In Cambodia, its attractions are many and varied.  He said that Angkor Wat is a must-see jumping off point, but the best of Cambodia lies further afield.

“The ruins of Angkor Wat draw crowds of visitors—the temples are breathtaking,” added Jhoel.

Here is Jhoel on Halong Bay:

After a couple of days exploring the city of Siem Reap, Cambodia, we headed to Hanoi, Vietnam to explore another popular tourist destination.  Vinh Ha Long which literally means “descending dragon bay” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located at Quang Ninh province which administratively belongs to Hạ Long City, Cẩm Phả town, and the part of Vân Đồn District.

 From our hotel at Hanoi, we were picked-up by our driver and English speaking tour guide to begin our four hour journey East of Hanoi. En route, we passed by fields of busy workers farming their rice fields using traditional methods of cultivation. We also came to stop by various artisan shops showcasing Vietnam’s finest handicrafts to include embroidery, lacquer wares, jewelries, sculptures and some delicious “pasalubong” goodies. We also came to drop by at Ha Long Pearl Farm and Workshop where we had a guided tour on how they cultured various species of oysters for pearl production.

 Upon arrival at Ha Long Bay’s Bai Chay Tourist Wharf, we boarded a private traditional junk as we set to sail around the magnificent bay and among thousands of karst limestone formations that jut out of the sea in various shapes and sizes. On board our private cruise, we were served with sumptuous local cuisine for lunch while enjoying the scenic view of the bay. The six-hour cruise travelled us further to

Hang Sung Sot Cave (Cave of Surprises) which was discovered in 1901 and welcomed its first visitor in 1993. The entrance is high above the bay on Bo Hòn Island, one of the 1,969 limestone monolithic islands that are topped with thick jungle vegetation. We then continued our cruise to the southern part of the bay where we admired the view of many strange-shaped islands, visit floating village of local fishermen and go kayaking to a remote area of Ha Long Bay before we bid farewell and head back for another four hour travel back to Hanoi City.

What’s next on Jhoel’s bucketlist?


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