Friday, February 15, 2013

1999 Miss Bohol Sandugo: Ria Nina & Jenifer

Year 1999 proved to be one of the most competitive editions of Miss Bohol Sandugo.

With the first- ever Tigum Bol-anon Tibuok Kalibutan (TBTK 1999) taking place in July that year to coincide with the Sandugo Festival, pageant organizers were pressured for TBTK was also launching the first Miss Bohol International Pageant.

With the first- ever Tigum Bol-anon Tibuok Kalibutan (TBTK 1999) taking place in July that year to coincide with the Sandugo Festival, pageant organizers were pressured for TBTK was also launching the first Miss Bohol InternationalPageant
To be staged only a week apart, it was inevitable that people would talk and compare both pageants.

The Rotary Club of Tagbilaran was designated by the Bohol Sandugo Foundation, Inc. to organize the annual beauty spectacle. The club scoured the entire province, met the town mayors, school administrators and govt. agencies to invite them to send candidates. Sixteen girls from all over the province who met the minimum requirements were named as official candidates.


The top favorite was Maria Ria Nina Cubillo who first joined the pageant in 1997. She had generated some buzz already for she had placed in the 1999 Miss Mandaue Pageant two months earlier. 

Other faves were Miss Catigbian Jenifer Apayor Ejoc, Miss Tagbilaran Marime Marapao who exuded the Julia Roberts vibes, Miss Loay Kristal Lim who would later on win the 2001 Miss University of Bohol title, the stunning Eurasian beauty from Alicia, Jane Eurlings and the vivacious and sultry Miss Tubigon Rosemary Baura.

The town of Alburquerque sent an exquisite chinita porcelain doll Liezl Tinio who reminded everyone of Miriam Quiambao who won the Miss Universe 1st RU title that year.

Another worthy contender was the voluptuous Jan Varquez Morisawa of Loboc who had flawless skin, impeccable English and an angelic face


Even the line-up of judges was impressive. The Spice Boys from Congress composed of Ace Barbers, Mike Defensor and Miguel Zubiri were among the 17 high- profile panelists who were tasked with choosing Bohol’s fairest who would reign during that year’s Sandugo Festival

Maximiel Tallo, Bohol’s mega designer & eventologist, choreographed and directed the entire show. After the girls competed in the swimsuits, evening gowns and interviews, the names of the Top Ten were revealed


As far as I can remember , making the Top Ten were Miss ABENA, Miss Tubigon, Miss Loboc, Miss Panglao, Miss Loay, Miss Tagbilaran City, Miss Candijay, Miss Alicia, Miss Catigbian. I forgot the name of the 10th finalist. You have to understand that all these pageant night data have been culled from my memory bank.

Who can recall the name of that girl?

The biggest upset and most shocking moment of the night was the non- inclusion of heavy favorite Liezl Tinio from Alburquerque.

Time has proven that Liezl should have been up there in the Top Ten. Today, she even looks more stunning and more sophisticated. 
The Fabulous Final Five


After another round of interviews, the next cut was made and the following advanced to the final round: the crowd favorites Miss ABENA, Miss Alicia, Miss Catigbian and Miss Tagbilaran City confirmed their frontrunner status when they all made the Top Five.

A pleasant surprise was Miss Candijay, the morena beauty Jake Cadorna who came out from nowhere to snatch the fifth and final spot. To date, Jake still holds the record as the highest placed Candijaynon in Miss Bohol.

The first Candijaynon to place was Haidee Ingking back in 1991 where she was 4th RU

After the final question, the judges then deliberated and compared notes. The lengthy discussion only heightened the tension inside the jampacked DWCT Gym.

After Josely Yap Ferniz, 1998 Miss Bohol Sandugo, made her farewell walk, the final results were announced.


The announcement of winners was made in reverse order. Named 3rd RU was Miss Tagbilaran City, 2nd RU was Miss Candijay and 1st RU was Miss Alicia, The last two girls left onstage were Miss Catigbian and Miss ABENA.
The final announcement proved to be anti- climactic for both girls were already assured of a title each. It was just a matter of assigning the right girl for the Bb. Pilipinas and Mutya ng Pilipinas pageants. 
3rd RU, MB Mutya, MB Binibini, 1st RU, 2nd RU


For the first and ONLY time in Miss Bohol Sandugo’s history, two ladies were crowned as Miss Bohol Sandugo with the two titles of equal importance for the two new beauty queens were to be Bohol’s automatic bets to Bb. Pilipinas and Mutya ng Pilipinas, then the two most important national pageants in the Philippines

Incidentally, both girls declined to enter their respective national pageants because of their priority on education


Pageant experience gave Maria Ria Nina Cubillo of Calape who represented the Association of Bohol Executives of National Agencies (ABENA) headed then by Rtn. Fancy Baluyot the Miss Bohol Sandugo- Bb. Pilipinas title. She first joined Miss Bohol Sandugo two years earlier where she was selected Miss Photogenic

Her second try for Miss Bohol Sandugo finally gave her the crown. The 5’9” Latina- looking stunner also won the Best in Swimsuit & Best in Evening Gowns. She was also declared Miss Photogenic.

Today, she is happily married to Jun Datoy and are blessed with kids. They operate the successful Pidro's Fastfood Village and Ang Lechon Manok ni Sr. Pedro

Another tall and willowy beauty, Jenifer Apayor Ejoc gave the Municipality of Catigbian, her hometown, its first Miss Bohol title when she was named the 1999 Miss Bohol Sandugo- Mutya ng Pilipinas

Aside from the coveted crown, Jen also won a handful of corporate awards.

Jenifer eventually finished her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science degree in 2001 and took her BSED qualifying thereafter so that makes her a double bachelor’s degree holder.

She then took her Masters in Public Administration but decided to take a break.

Love beckoned and she tied the knot with her college sweetheart Dustin Michael Sarmiento in April 2003. They have two kids, Dana Mariaye and Diana Mave.

She resumed her educational pursuit and so took her Masters in Political Science at the Cebu City- based University of San Carlos.

Today, the family is based in the Middle East where both husband and wife are currently working.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love's an Exaggeration

It's that time of the year when everyone seems to be cheerful and ecstatic and when the malls are bedecked with the ubiquitous heart and Cupid.

Everywhere you look, the pavements and flower shops are awash with roses, tulips and other floral varieties.

Yes, it's Valentine's Day once again and love is in the air.

Well, count me out. I hate to say this but I have come to believe that L-O-V-E has always been exaggerated.

Call me a cynic. A skeptic perhaps but I'm not really the type that goes swooning when the the four letter word is mentioned.

When I was a tad younger and that was a long long time ago, I did fell hard for two or three special loves that I would always hold dear and keep locked up in my heart.

Somehow, along the way, my views and beliefs became twisted, contorted and distorted. 
Every time someone catches my fancy or someone eyes me with that unmistakable hint of mischief or intimates to me a promise of more than just friendship, I shy away and laugh it off.

Why complicate my life?

Every time I fall in love, everything goes awry. The bouts of depression when you don't see or hear from the object of your affection, the tinge of jealousy, the compulsion to stalk, the obsession and getting stupid.

Nah, I don't want to go through that stage again even if it means depriving myself of the intimacy and the rapture

Going home to a cold and empty bed every night 

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But of course, I will end up telling myself "Raul, convince yourself that".

Yeah, at the end of the day, I always end up going home to a cold and empty bed. How depressing can that be? Would I end up with a fairy tale ending?

Would I find that special someone?

Isn't there someone in this planet of four billion people who is destined to be my soulmate and lifetime partner?

Guess, I have to wait for another 46 years before I find the answer to my stupid questions.

Who knows, my destiny  just might be out there waiting and hoping for our  paths to cross.

For the meantime, excuse me while I nurse my heartache with another shot of Jose Cuervo tequila laced with Red Horse

Here's a bittersweet song about a special someone

I Think of You by Sixto Rodriguez
Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Make Way for Thomas Michel Christe

As a rule of thumb, I don't blog about promising male newcomers who are waiting by the wings for that all- important break that would catapult them to international fame and fortune. 

They all seem to come from the same cookie cutter that churns out the same set of tall, beefy and impossibly handsome demigods. One or two of them might get noticed but sadly, the others would falter and fade into oblivion

I am deviating from my usual feature on beautiful Boholanas for I want to make way for one such gorgeous hunk who interestingly enough considers himself very Boholano in traits and values


He left his native Jura, Switzerland to study English in California, USA. 

A lot of our stars were complete unknowns before they were discovered. The same thing happened to Thomas. 

While walking in the busy streets of Los Angeles, he was approached by a model agent who asked him if he was interested to be a model. 

Initially, he refused but the model agent was persistent perhaps he saw something in Thomas. 

Eventually, he gave in and very soon was modeling clothes across the runway and was part of the last Los Angeles Fashion Week

Like fish to water, he took to runway modeling with surprising ease and confidence.

Everytime he strides onstage, he walks and sashays like a seasoned model


Thomas Michel Christe is of Swiss- Italian and Spanish descent. He speaks French, English, German and Italian. 

Thomas aspires to do movies, land an important advertising campaign  and star in his own music videos. Yes folks, Thomas is a lyricist and composer

Don't let his looks deceive you. With his imposing 6' 2" frame, he might come across as pushy or arrogant but he is not. Inside the well- built physique is a gentle and sensitive guy  who has a soft spot for children and the elderly. 

In fact, he has lent his image and time to the MikeyGatal Kids Foundation, a non- stock non profit organization that assists orphaned  kids and children with special needs. 

For the past few months, he has been modeling the I Love MG shirt because he wants to help the organization raise funds for its  various humanitarian activities. 

with the iconic Mikey Gatal, the popular owner of
Want to be a model? check out the website for details

A few months back, Thomas graced the fiesta celebration of the association of US- based Guindulmanons to be with his Boholano friends 

Photo opportunity with US- based Guindulmanons 
Charisma and charm

His amazing adventure in the U.S. has not been without sacrifices. "It's hard being away from my family and I had to break up with my girlfriend who lives in Switzerland, "admits  Thomas.


Thomas is already planning to come to the Philippines to try out the local modeling scene and check out possible opportunities in Philippine showbiz.

Part of his itinerary is a three day whirlwind visit to Bohol

Good luck Thomas!


I'm now on my way in achieving the 20,000 mark for blog hits ever since I started blogging last September 13, 2012. 

What started out as a curiosity and as a diversion has proven to be a tool for empowerment and self- expression

Today is the fifth month anniversary of my blog. To all of you from all over the world who have visited my blog, thank you so much 

To all the subjects of my blog features, thank you for entrusting me with your stories and for sharing your pictures and other mementos with your admirers who have been requesting me for features on you LOL

Once again, thank you 


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Thank God for Another Birthday

Me & Eileen Thornton: Joint Feb Bday Celebrants
I am overwhelmed with the number of birthday greetings that swamped my FB Timeline today. 

Can you imagine scrolling down on a seemingly endless parade of greetings and inspirational messages from friends, strangers, peers, colleagues, acquaintances, and even from former students who are now professionals? 

I feel so loved and somehow, the aches that I have encountered lately have been assuaged.

To all of you who remembered and who took time to write something, create cards, gave presents and even baked a birthday cake, thank you so much

All the messages, the greetings, the hugs and the beso beso were a shot in the arm. 

with lifestylebohol staff : DJ Arro & Sonieta Labasan

You boosted my low morale and helped me fight off the bouts of depression that I have been wrestling with lately.

Call it the coming to terms with midlife crisis but I'm sure that this too shall pass

Thanks again everyone. 


Monday, February 11, 2013

The Actor in Me

 It has been two years since I essayed the dual roles of Potiphar and the Pharaoh in Holy Name University's Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. 

The adaptation was the main offering of the Languages & Communication Arts Department for the 2011 University Days of Holy Name University of Tagbilaran City

As an English and Communication Arts faculty member of the the school's College of Arts and Sciences, I was always given the opportunity to be part of the department's annual musical adaptations for three consecutive years

I was supposed to play only the supporting Potiphar role since we always believe that the students should be given the spotlight since we want them to hone and polish their thespic and terpsichorean talents onstage

As Potiphar

Two weeks before the show was to open before a sellout crowd of students and alumni, still no Pharaoh. 

So Sir Marianito Luspo, HNU's Cultural Affairs Director and Ramon Boloron, Languages Department Chair decided to hold auditions but still no Pharaoh. 

Finally, in exasperation (or was it desperation?), they both looked at me and asked "Can you do an Elvis Presley impersonation?" "

Oh, that would be a breeze for me" I said and the rest, as the cliche goes, was history 

During Technical Rehearsals

Curtain Call: Jubilation and Elation

As Magaldi in HNU's adaptation of Evita

In a P.E.T.A. Production

But what I am really excited and proud about is the fact that I was cast by Teatro Bol-anon through Gardy Labad for a re-interpretation in Visayan of excerpts from F. Sionil Jose's Balikbayan

It was directed by Philippine Educational Theater Arts’ Melvin Lee and assisted by California-based Center Theater Group’s Lorely Garrote Trinidad. 

I got one of the meaty parts after a read through for "Dong-Ao", the second act of Balikbayan. 

Dong-Ao is the traditional Ilokano ritual wailing usually performed by friends or relatives of the deceased during the wake and before the coffin is lowered into the grave

After the show, respected historian and HNU Cultural Arts Director Marianito Luspo summed it up when he approached me and remarked" 

Raul, you know what? F. Sionil Jose said that your performance was up to par with that of the actor who essayed the role in the Cultural Center of the Philippines! 

And to think I've always thought that you were only good for hosting jobs! " 

Wow! I was speechless

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Jackie T. Yap: Captivating Boholana


This lovely and captivating Boholana is truly an epitome of beauty, brains and breeding. 

Well, not a surprise considering that she inherited the Chinese, Filipino & Spanish genes of of her parents, the very successful and well- respected Boholano dentists Dr. Ven & Dr. Joy Yap

She has two equally lovely sisters. 

For me, her best physical assets would be her limpid doe- eyes that are so expressive and her long and lustrous hair that reminds me of those shampoo commercials on TV

A quiet but intimate birthday bash for our twenteen girl

Jackie reminds me of my grade school classmates Louella "Weng" Butalid and Pamela "Patti" Bullecer. Both girls were close to me. While Patti was the voluptuous type, Weng was the willowy type with the chic & fabulous cheekbones to die for. 

Weng Yap- Butalid, the first Boholana to make a splash in
the Ford SuperModel- Philippine Search 
She eventually became a top model in Cebu and was chosen, together with four other ladies, to represent Central Visayas in the 1988 Ford SuperModel of the World- Philippines finals


Born on January 3, 1991, she celebrated her coming out birthday bash at the imposing and majestic Waterfront Lahug at the height of Sinulog 2009

Getting to emcee and help with the preparations gave me the chance to get to know the family even better. 

My verdict? Very humble and unassuming parents and very well- brought up daughters 

Jackie's ethereal  & ageless mom, Dr. Joy Yap
at the family- owned Yap Dental Clinic Main Branch
Remolador St corner San Jose St,
Cogon, Tagbilaran City
indeed, Papa Ven's girl
All in the Yap Family: Two Dentists & A Nurse
Jackie's mom and sisters during the Yap Clinic Re-opening

She finished her grade school and secondary studies at the Bohol Wisdom School in Tagbilaran City, Bohol.

She earned her BS Nursing degree from Cebu Doctors University. 

Presently, she is taking up French lessons for she is dead- set on becoming a nurse in French- speaking Quebec, Canada


Believe it or not but this delicate looking and seemingly fragile beauty is an equestrienne who is taking her horseback riding lessons at Tarsier Botanika in Panglao, Bohol


When asked for her greatest passion, she readil replied “Traveling!”. She has been travelling since she was a child. 

In mystical and exotic Asia, she has been to China, HK, Macau, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Korea and Japan.

Amazing Thailand
In the United States, she has stepped foot in LA, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Seattle, Maryland, Florida, New York, and New Jersey. She also had a stopover in Vancouver, Canada.

with hunky US- based cousin


She has been in the cast of Kapalaran and Soledad teleseryes although the latter hasn't been shown yet. Both were directed by her cousin, Kuya RD Yap Alba. By the way, if you travel to Cebu via OceanJet, you will catch her in their seacraft safety video.

During the OceanJet video shoot
That's her tita Dr. Disi Yap- Alba with cousin RD Alba 
She was recently chosen to be the image model of an advertising campaign which I am collaborating with some of Bohol’s best lensmen and stylists. 

The world is indeed Jackie’s oyster!.

Extra Special Blog Feature

Part 1: The Tragic Story of Amparo Munoz

  no fairy tale ending SPAIN CONQUERED THE PHILIPPINES AGAIN. Whenever discussions and debates center on who is considered as the ...