A couple, 4 others feted at 163rd Bohol Day celeb

Six Boholanos were conferred with the Governor’s Award during yesterday’s 163rd Bohol Foundation Day as the Bohol government acknowledged theirrespective achievements as fitting contributions to nation building.

Bohol Gov. Edgar M. Chatto, together with other provincial officials, gave the awards to the top Boholanos for their meritorious efforts and contributions.

Two foreigners were given special citations for their dedication and commitment in helping Bohol’s development initiatives and improving the lives of the people here.


The Governor’s Award is conferred annually to successful Boholano individuals during the celebration of the province’s founding anniversary.

FOR THE FIRST TIME in history, the City of Tagbilaran positions itself as a distinct tourism destination in the country, and first in the list of its impossible-to-duplicate attractions is the city’s menu of centuries-old cultural heritage structures, which were formally introduced yesterday to tourism stakeholders in an event dubbed as “Balik Sa Kagahapon” Tagbilaran City Heritage Tour. The tour culminated at the Balili Heritage House, which has been restored to its former glory. In the photo are (right to left) culture guru Gardy Labad, Amparo Balili-Castañeda, Dr. Cristeta Balili-Tirol (aunt of the Balili heirs, sisters Gloria and Amparo), Architect Gloria Balili, Dr. Bernardita Cortes, and NCCA official. Standing in the back is writer and costume designer Cooper Resabal. Not in the photo is Professor and historian Marianito Luspo.


On July 22, 1854, Bohol was separated from Cebu and, together with Siquijor, was created into a politico-military province during the Spanish rule in the Philippines. Thereafter, it was recognized as a province during the American regime.

Republic Act 7683 provides that July 22 of every year is a special non-working public holiday in the Province of Bohol and the City of Tagbilaran.


A true-blooded Boholano, Fernando “Ding” Borja is from Tagbilaran City. He is the special envoy of the President to the People’s Republic of China.

He is a Cebu-based businessman and was part of the official presidential entourage during the President’s state visit to China in October 2016.

He is the president of Adnama Mining Resources, engaged in real estate, nickel production, and other business interests.

As a special envoy of the President, he considers his position in the administration as the biggest challenge of his business career.

He is one of the few Boholanos given high positions in government. In turn, he can help facilitate in the strengthening of friendly relations, international peace and improved economic ties and amity.

Borja has given pride and honor not just to Bohol but also to the country


Fr. Zamora is a composer, musical arranger, song writer and music director.

He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Music at the Conservatory of Music of the University of the Philippines.

While in UP, he joined the world-renowned Philippine Madrigal Singers and served as the group’s resident manager.

He was also an apprentice of Maestro Ryan Cayabyab. He also served as Cayabyab’s personal music assistant, assisting in concerts, TV shows, recordings and publications.

He was a recipient of the 2012 Ten Outstanding Boholanos Around the World (TOBAW) for Culture and the Arts. He was also awarded as among the Ten Outstanding UP Alumna in America for Culture and the Arts in 2015.

He is a founder and music director of various singing groups including the Chorus Paulinus.

Chorus Paulinus is a multi-awarded choir composed of students and young professionals based in Metro Manila. He also organized the Singing Priests of Tagbilaran, UST Central Seminary’s Psalterion and the Philippine Center Chorale in San Francisco, California.


He is the first man and only Filipino to conquer several lengthy bodies of water in the country and abroad. He is one of the top 50 best Open Swimmers of the world.

He swims to promote his life-long advocacy on clean seas, climate change awareness and environmental tourism.

Of his many crossings, he considers these accomplishments to be most challenging swims.

Among his swims included: President CPG Island to Maasin City, Leyte; Argao, Cebu to Cabilao Island, Bohol; Alcatraz Island Penitentiary to San Francisco City, California, USA; Silliman Beach, Dumaguete City to Tambisan Port in San Juan, Siquijor; Guinsiliban Port, Camiguin Island to Calamcam Beach, Talisayan, Misamis Oriental.

He is the only Filipino who is consistently looking for new adventures in open water swim. He has shown great endurance, dedication and significant achievements. His inspiration has caught many minds and provided great pride to the Province of Bohol and the Boholanos.

He was awarded as the Hero of the Environment in 2015 given by the World Wildlife Fund-Philippines and nominated by the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA) of Huntington, California as the Man of the Year for three pioneering marathon swims for the environment.

He is the first man from Southeast Asian to be accorded such honor. He is ranked 21st in the world of the 50 most adventurous open swimmers by the WOWSA.

When he swims, Macarine follows Marathon Swimming Federation Rules, that is without any floating aids and no contact with other humans or boats while swimming.

He has been featured in national newspapers and TV stations.

He has been dubbed as the “Pinoy Aquaman.”


Ms. Gatal has been long involved in various organizations with her right mix of loyalty, fairness and personal integrity in the midst of varied challenges.

She never failed to earn the trust and admiration of the people.

She is a public and community servant who never avoided taking on the challenge of public service and continued to carry out her mission to help government and non-government organizations in various capabilities.

She is a retired DILG Provincial Director and a former municipal councilor in the town of Baclayon.

From 1988 until now, she actively chairs and spearheads the Sandugo Street Dancing Competition, a major event in the Sandugo Festival.


Known as the power couple of Boholano business, the synergy brought great achievements and contributions in the field of business and entrepreneurship.

The couple’s efforts have lead in the advancement of economic and enterprise development for the province as well as for providing employment opportunities for Boholanos.

They founded and established Bohol Tropic in April 1993. Through the years, this iconic hotel and resort has become the best choice for weddings, debuts, birthday celebrations, presidential visits and political gatherings. The name Bohol Tropics have become synonymous with “place of occasion.” With this auspicious beginning, the Bohol Tropics Resort brand was born.

John and Geesnell Yap are the parents of the incumbent mayor Tagbilaran City, John Geesnell “Baba” Yap II.


Two special citations were given to two foreigners whose efforts have greatly benefitted the lives of the Boholano.


Dr. Lee is the country director of the Korean Project for International Agriculture (KOPIA).

His efforts resulted to the enhancement of the Boholano farmer’s technical knowledge and skills in agriculture.

Dr. Lee provided inputs to use mechanical farming towards improved farming practices and systems, increased income and upliftment of the living condition of farmers in the province.

He is being cited by the province for His immeasurable, unselfish, and dedicated contribution to Bohol’s agricultural development, most notably in advancing the province to be recognized as the rice tropical japonica capital of the country.


Engr. Aoi is the project manager of the Japan Airport Consultant.

He has been giving whole-hearted support to the infrastructure and developing the thrusts towards the realization of the New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environment Protection Project.

It is an essential element to the investment, tourism and livelihood development for the province that will greatly contribute toward the upliftment of the lives of the Boholanos. (Dave S. Albarado)




About the Author

The Bohol Tribune is the leading newspaper in Bohol, Philippines, circulating in Tagbilaran City and in Bohol's 47 towns. Widely considered as the best newspaper in Bohol, The Bohol Tribune offers the most comprehensive coverage of news and features, presented in a world-class printing quality. For feedback/inquiries: 0920-630-1130 (smart) | 0927-6310-965 (globe) Landline: 038-501-0919 | E-mail: boholtribune@gmail.com

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