Despite all the threats: the A H1N1, the plummeting world economy, the mass lay-offs in workplaces abroad, still thousands of Boholanos abroad took all these lightly and packed for home last July 2009 to join the TBTK Global Homecoming. For them, it was real joy to spend their hard-earned dollars to be with their loved ones, to get involved in class reunions, to go to places to reminisce the good old days, and many more.

TBTK Chairperson Betty Veloso Garcia did not count the cost of visiting Boholanos spread in various countries to remind them that their families they left behind are so excited to be with them no matter how briefly. Whether they registered or not was not so important as coming home to embrace an aged and ailing Nanay or Tatay – perhaps for the last time.

What everyone observed in the two-week TBTK celebration spoke of the pomp, pageantry, revelry in every social function. The fund-raising each group organized for its various purposes was more than enough to bring Balikbayans together and experience the great satisfaction that they have left something to our fellow Boholanos who are in need. Even those who did nothing but roamed the streets felt that money was in circulation. Vendors in our markets enjoyed the opportunity of earning much, much more than they did in ordinary days.

Not all may have noticed the tree planting, the medical missions, the recognition of Boholanos who excelled in their various professions, the organized tours to see what’s new in Bohol.

What was most touching was the visits made to their ailing classmates whom they will not see anymore because they died after they were back to their respective work areas. This reminded me of one who said, “Show that you care while one can still feel your love.”

But despite the beauty of the homecoming, those who simply folded their arms as they watched the activities unfold, they saw nothing but “faults”. Sometimes faults are there for a purpose – to satisfy those who come only to find faults.

With the election days just a few months away, some politicians make adverse comments to enhance their political ambitions. These critics even found their way to our community newspapers, to radio stations. This they did “in aid of legislation” and also to improve the next TBTK. This was baloney!

On the issue of public funds appropriated by the Provincial Government during the TBTK Medical Mission conducted at the Bohol Cultural Center, we deny that such funding was received by the TBTK. It would be best that they do some kind of research so that they can be sure where their money went.

While we appreciate the Medical Staff assistance provided by the Provincial Government, nevertheless, we assumed the cost of operation of the medical mission funded from our own contributions. The medical men who came to Bohol to extend free medical assistance to the Boholanos, brought their own equipment, medicines, etc. Furthermore, they spent their own plane fare, hotel billeting, and cost of everything during their stay in Bohol.

At this juncture, the TBTK organizers especially the Chairperson Betty Veloso Garcia would like to thank the many men and women who so generously gave of their time, effort and commitment towards making the TBTK a big success. We thank our many advertisers, benefactors and sponsors for their generosity, and their confidence and belief in this unique event. Last but not the least, to everyone who took part of this great reunion, we thank them for coming!

Let us talk about the Search for the Miss Bohol International Beauty Pageant. This activity has always been among the highlights of the Global Homecoming since its inception in 1999. Like any other Beauty Pageant, they were never without a Swimsuit Competition. What was indecent in their attire? The Boholanos are now used to wearing appropriate attire for swimming except perhaps the octogenarians who wear the “porontong.” May we address this to the critics, “Why did you miss to see the appropriateness ( ? ) of the swimsuits worn in the Sandugo Beauty Pageant sponsored by the City Government?

We call on our politicians not to meddle in future TBTK affairs. We just want to come home to where we belong. The City Mayor of Tagbilaran instead of welcoming us, he made things difficult for us : denied the TBTK with Mayor’s Permit for the venue of our activities, prohibited us from soliciting advertisements to promote the business of our local businessmen through our Souvenir Program. What a pity! Boholanos not welcome in their homeland.

We also urge our Vice Governor Julius Herrera and Board Member Aster Piollo not to engage in political grandstanding at the expense of Boholanos whom people call “unsung heroes”. These politicians are seeking a new mandate in the 2010 elections and they should look at the TBTK as a group who come home to bring cheer and material benefits to our people. Let us instead help one another because we love Bohol.

In 2012, God willing, we will be back for another homecoming under the same able leadership of Betty Veloso Garcia whose passion and love for Bohol knows no bounds.

Let us prepare now for the next homecoming. Let us pray and hope we will not be missing anyone. We say this because we do not have the promise of our tomorrows.

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