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Bared... 9 days of 'Misa de Gallo' officially starts Christmas season

Tagbilaran, Sunday, 16 December 2012


Students from neighboring town pose at the 25 ft tall Santa
Claus in Sierra-Bullones, Bohol.- LPU

Seen: The giant Santa Claus, which measures 25 feet high, in Sierra-Bullones, Bohol colors the Yuletide Season! The biggest and tallest Santa Claus in Bohol and probably in the Philippines has been attracting visitors for years.

Scene: Supreme Court Associate Justice Roberto Abad will visit Bohol on Monday, Dec. 17 to give a lecture to judges, prosecutors, government and private lawyers and police investigators on the Judicial Affidavit Rule (A.M. No. 12-8-8-SC).

Seen: 3rd District Rep. Arthur Yap is the only Boholano solon who showed up and voted against the Reproductive Health Bill in Congress. Yap cited some provisions in the Reproductive Health Bill that need to be scrapped or heavily amended for being unjust, unconstitutional and harsh or unnecessary at all.

Seen: Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Manager Rey Anthony Chiu received the "Most Prolific Writer." He has written the most number of news stories and features for 2011. PIA-7 RD Minerva Newman assisted by PCOO Sec. Sonny Coloma presented the award to Chiu.

Rep. Arthur Yap, the only Boholano solon who
showed up and voted against the RH Bill in Congress,
delivers his message during the inauguration and
turn-over ceremony of the modern Bohol Rice
Processing Complex in Pilar town.
Courtesy: Ric Obedencio

Seen: Paul Emerson Salinas Almontero was recently adjudged as one of the Ten Outstanding Expat Pinoy (Overseas Filipino Worker) Children -- Ibang Klaseng Talino Category -- 2012. He is the first Boholano to receive such prestigious award from the Bank of Philippine Islands search for outstanding expat children that made its final judging from among 86 national finalists nationwide.

What a busy, busy schedule I had last week! After watching Pacman-Marquez IV, I hurriedly went to JJ's Seafoods for the preliminary interview of the Mr and Ms Teen Bohol 2012 organized by Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Provincial Federation headed by Jethro Nathaniel Imboy.

The 28 contestants sat down for a conversation with Jeycelle Espejo and yours truly. I could say, this year's contestants are "one of the best batches" of Mr and Miss Teen Bohol. Many of the contestants were recruited from the modeling field so we're seeing familiar faces. There were also neophytes and veterans.

Last Friday, Dec. 14, Adryan Mila of Panglao and Thea Rose Rizaldo of Tubigon were crowned Mr and Miss Teen Bohol 2012.

As we were about to end our interview, I saw Alvin Acuzar and Myttee Palo who were busy preparing the function room for senatorial aspirant Aurora Rep. Edgardo "Sonny" Angara. Rep Angara was the guest of honor during the State Colleges and Universities Athletic Association (SCUAA)- Regional Meet.

Rep. Angara, who was named one of the country's Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) in 2010, is the author of the measure seeking to create a Philippine High School for Sports (HB No. 3825). This will answer the clamor for a stronger national grassroots sports program that will help young Filipino athletes become more competitive in the global arena.

Rep. Angara gladly listened to the queries and concerns from the people's organizations/civic organizations and from the media.

Aurora Rep. Edgardo "Sonny" Angara is out to
prove everyone he can also rise above his father's
shadow. Courtesy: Ric Obedencio

We ended the night saying, "What a Sonny Day! Angara ang buhay!"

The next morning, Edward Guyano, Janet Villarojo and other media friends went to Pilar to cover the inauguration and turn-over ceremony of the modern Bohol Rice Processing Complex (BRPC) funded by the Korean International Cooperation Agency (Koica).

The BRPC intends to improve efficiency in the rice postproduction system through the reduction of postharvest losses, enhancement in the quality of milled rice, improvement of the distribution system and maximization of rice by-products.

It is very modern that Edward and I witnessed how brown, red, pink and white rice separate from each other. The rice processing complex has post-harvest facilities like modern rice mills, mechanical dyers and warehouses.

Rep. Sonny Angara with the people's organizations and the media. Courtesy: Ric Obedencio

According to Gov. Edgar Chatto, Bohol is considered as the rice granary of the Central Visayas and farmers from the 18 towns of Bohol will be benefited from the modern rice complex.

"Ang RPC po ay magbibigay sa mga magsasaka  ng mataas  na kalidad ng bigas dahil sa makabagong makina nito," said Usec Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, DA for Special Concerns.

Hon. Lee Hyuk, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Korea to the Philippines, stressed the importance of Korea-Philippine relationship. He said that BPRC is a testament to the continuing and deepening commitment of the governments of the Philippines and Korea to develop the agricultural sector of the Philippines.

"I hope that this PRC project will set a milestone, a starting point for the national growth of the Philippines as well as the helping and empowering of the Filipino farmers."

Rep. Arthur Yap recalled that the project was proposed in 2009 during the administration of then Bohol Governor now second district Rep. Erico Aumentado. Yap said, "As our population is increasing, we have also to increase the use of our land and we have to increase rice production. Koreans and Filipinos stand side by side together in this battle against poverty, in this battle for self sufficiency in food."

Also spotted during the event were Pilar Mayor Wilson Pajo, Mabini Mayor Esther Tabigue, Pureza Chatto, Ae Damalerio, Larry Pamugas, and other officials.

The event was also an opportunity to see ABS-CBN Star in A Million 2005 grand champion Jerome Sala who sang the Philippine Anthem after years of inactivity.

The nine-day Simbang Gabi (Tagalog term that literally means "Night Mass") or Misa de Gallo (Spanish term for "Mass of the Rooster") begins today, Dec. 16, officially starting the Christmas season, the longest Christmas celebration in the world.

The Catholic Church says that the nine-day dawn Masses are held at 4 a.m. to commemorate the actual birth of Christ. The liturgy for nine consecutive days is in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The tradition dates back to 1587 in Mexico, when Fray Diego de Soria, prior of the convent of San Agustin Acolman, petitioned the Pope to hold Christmas Mass outdoors to accommodate the huge number of mass-goers.    

However, the novena Mass has no longer been strictly held before dawn. The Catholic Church has adjusted to modern urban schedules.

In our times, the Misa de Gallo has also become an opportunity to keep in touch with relatives and friends. And, ehem, it is also the time for young boys to court girls and many lovers also tend to spend more time in the churchyard rather than inside.

Some people still challenge to complete all nine masses especially if they have special petitions this Christmas.  A friend told me that if someone can attend the nine masses, wishes will be granted.

During Misa de Gallo, our love affair with food is heightened. We don't have puto bumbong (sweet taro steamed in small bamboo tubes) here but we have native rice cakes such as bingka, suman and puto maya. To keep warm during the cold weather, there are salabat (ginger tea) and sekwati.

One who is excited for Misa de Gallo is the young entrepreneur Dalareich Polot, owner of Dalareich Tableya (Booy District, Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Tel No: 038-501-9549/411-0584/+63939-902-3462/+63927-214-1456, website:, email:, Bohol's finest homemade native chocolate solids.

Young entrepreneur Dalareich Polot and her tableya. Courtesy: Facebook

"I can't wait for simbang gabi, hot chocolate after mass!" Dalareich posted on Facebook.

Dalareich, who started her tableya business years ago, shares how to make sekwati (hot chocolate drink): Add 3 pieces of Dalareich Tableya on a cup of boiling water. Stir for two minutes. Remove from heat. Add sugar. Milk maybe added to make it creamier. Serve hot.

Make sure you have something in your stomach to have a memorable Misa de Gallo experience.

Meanwhile, join Bared for a look back at all the buzzed-about newsmakers who made the year--and decade--so unforgettable. Send your feedback to or text +639212446791.

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

Leo P. Udtohan

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