Bilar celebrates Sinulog Festival, too; Pinoy Aquaman conquers Surigao Strait

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Bilar celebrates Sinulog Festival, too; Pinoy Aquaman conquers Surigao Strait

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Members of Batch ’77 of Cogon Elem. School in Tagbilaran City repaired and rehabilitated the corridor and canal lining of their alma mater last Friday to improve sanitation at the school and make sure that the environment is conducive for teaching and learning. Contributed Photo/Lorna B. Suello
Members of Batch ’77 of Cogon Elem. School in Tagbilaran City repaired and rehabilitated the corridor and canal lining of their alma mater last Friday to improve sanitation at the school and make sure that the environment is conducive for teaching and learning. Contributed Photo/Lorna B. Suello

Wake-uppers:

Scene: Former students (Batch ’77) of Cogon Elem. School in Tagbilaran City repaired and rehabilitated the corridor and canal lining of their alma mater last Friday.  According to Lorna Bagotchay-Suello, the event aimed to improve sanitation at the school and make sure that the environment is conducive for teaching and learning. “We want to help the school in improving the pathway. We feel that the school did a lot to us and that it is our turn to do something for the school,” said Suello. She also added that the school has produced many students who are successful in life. “And we feel we need to mobilise ourselves to make sure that the school continues to deliver its core function,” she added. Eleonor Balatero is the Batch ‘77 president.

Scene: A talent handler-manager (THM) is surely among the richie-rich in town these days. THM has been deluged with all sorts of projects of late, said a socialite VRS. In spite of newfound affluence, THM can be quite stingy, added VRS. “THM is not the type who would shower friends with gifts or treat friends,” said VRS. “Now you know why THM is wealthy!”

Scene:  Delegates have arrived in Cebu City for the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) on January 24 to 31, 2016. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI chose Cebu as the venue of the, announcing his pick during the Mass at the closing of the 50th IEC in Dublin, Ireland, in 2012. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines had expressed intent to host the 51st IEC in the Philippines, which would be a fitting prelude to preparations for the celebration in 2021 of 500 years of Christianity in the country.

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Aileen Sendrijas Pasagad (with Butch Bernas) holds the image of the Sto. Niño during the Sinulog Festival in Bilar, Bohol province, an evident that the devotion for Sto. Niño is not just evident in Cebu but in other provinces as well. Leo Udtohan/Chronicle
Aileen Sendrijas Pasagad (with Butch Bernas) holds the image of the Sto. Niño during the Sinulog Festival in Bilar, Bohol province, an evident that the devotion for Sto. Niño is not just evident in Cebu but in other provinces as well. Leo Udtohan/Chronicle

Aileen Sendrijas Pasagad, 44, was ready for Sunday’s street dancing in her hometown, as the city of Cebu held its Sinulog festival on the same day.

Pasagad, the led dancer of barangay (village) Zamora, one of the 24 contingents which joined the 34th Sinulog Festival in Bilar town, had checked her costume since Saturday.

“I just want to make it sure everything’s okay for our performance,” said Pasagad, a barangay kagawad of Zamora.

She also said she was a devotee of the Sto. Niño since 2008.

“Even if we were not in Cebu where the original Sinulog Festival, here in Bilar, we celebrated the Sinulog Festival every third Sunday of January as paying homage to the Holy Child, our second patron saint,” she said.

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It’s Pasagad’s second year to offer her dance.

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“While I was dancing, I also had my wishes to the Señor Sto. Niño,” she said.

She prayed for blessings and good health for her family.

This year, however, church officials of the Saint Isidore the Farmer Parish Church decided to cancel the contest and make the event simple. It was to give priority to the on-going church restoration. The church was damaged by the strong earthquake in 2013. The Sto. Niño should be the main focus of the celebration and should not the contest, church officials said.

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But for Pasagad and other dancers, it didn’t matter.

“It’s not a problem to us if we have a simple celebration as long we could dance as our way of thanksgiving,” she said.

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Teofila Sarabia, 90, from barangay Villa Suerte, at least 18 kms from the town, was among the crowd who witnessed the festival. She said she was happy that her town had the festivity since she had no time anymore to visit Cebu’s Sinulog as she used to when she was young.

“I am already old and weak for that. And the fare is expensive, she said.  She said she was contented to witness the Sinulog in Bilar though not as grand like in Cebu.

“I just hope this tradition would continue,” said Sarabia who was asking for the Sto. Niño to grant her good health and guidance.

Twenty four contingents from different barangays joined this year’s festivity.

“The performance was impressive. Nice dance steps and colorful props,” said Butch Bernas, 33, a choreographer based in Tagbilaran City.

Three towns in Bohol celebrated last Saturday its annual fiesta honoring its patron saint, Sto. Niño. These were Cortes, President Carlos P. Garcia (CPG) and Valencia. A street-dancing competition was  held in Anda town last  Monday.

The Sinulog in Bilar was a proof that the devotion for Sto. Niño is not just evident in Cebu but in other provinces as well.

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"Pinoy Aquaman" lawyer Ingemar Macarine swims across the Surigao Strait nonstop last Sunday to promote clean seas and Surigao tourism. Contributed Photo
“Pinoy Aquaman” lawyer Ingemar Macarine swims across the Surigao Strait nonstop last Sunday to promote clean seas and Surigao tourism. Contributed Photo

Pinoy Aquaman conquers Surigao Street

Ingemar Macarine aka Pinoy Aquaman, swam across the Surigao Strait non-stop last Sunday.

Macarine, an environmental lawyer by profession, spent 10 hours and 37 minutes to swim the 10.99-kilometer distance between Sumilom Island to Punta Bilar, Surigao City.

He aimed at raising awareness of the need to promote clean seas and Surigao tourism.

He said strong currents kept pulling him off course so he had to change direction at  five times.

“It was not that difficult because the weather was fine,” he said. “Though the current was strong and it changed direction five times. And also thousands of nasty jellyfishes.”

He said prior to his swim, he  took time to read the Bible and pray.

“I read the Bible for guidance. And my favorite is Psalm 23,” he said.

Macarine, the founding president of Surigao Runners Club, was escorted by two boats — a small one carrying his navigator and a bigger boat loaded with rescue team and friends.

He said he constantly used freestyle and had no difficulty with his swimming techniques.

“I’m so happy when I reached Punta Pilar because I was able to reach my target,” he said.

He also said that he exerted effort against the strong currents as the same in real life.

“In real life, we need to fight strong currents-problems, challenges and situations- to make us stronger,” he said.

Macarine had done similar feats in the past. He was acknowledged as the first Filipino to swim the 2.7-kilometer from Alcatraz Island Penitentiary to San Francisco City in April 2014.

He was also the first man to swim  the 4.2-kilometer stretch in two hours from Basul Island to Surigao City in Dec. 2013,  the first man  to conquer the Babuyan Channel by swimming from Palaui Island to Mainland Sta. Ana, Province of Cagayan with a distance of 7.2km in 2hours on June 15,  2014.

He was also the first man to swim from Santa Fe in Bantayan Island to San Remigio in mainland Cebu, covering the distance of 19.99 km. He spent seven hours and 45 minutes to reach mainland Cebu.

He was also the first man who attempted to swim from Visayas to  Mindanao by swimming from San Ricardo, Southern Leyte to Surigao City, Northern Mindanao. Although the swim was unsuccessful,  he made a personal record of swimming 23 kilometers in five and half hours in may 2014.

In November 2015, he was named by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) as one of its Filipino environmental heroes for pioneering solo channel swimming in the Philippines to promote marine conservation.

He is planning to swim Pamilacan Island,in Baclayon, Bohol on Jan. 31, and in Europe, this year.

Macarine, who hails from Surigao, is currently the election officer of Tubigon town.

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