Preparing for TBTK 2015Posted by loypalapos on August 2nd, 2014
With Loy M. Palapos
July 13, 2014
Preparing for TBTK 2015
Planing in from Chicago, Illinois on July 4, 2014, (which used to be the Philippine Independence Day, now Fil-American Friendship Day) Dr. Neil Banghal Bonje (NBB) was with Governor Edgar M. Chatto and Mayor Baba L. Yap at the People’s Mansion on July 5 to launch “TBTK 2015.” In attendance were representatives from the public and private sectors. I represented the Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc.
Prior to this gathering, I had been communicating with Dr. Bonje, for I have been a part of the triennial Boholano homecoming, previously spearheaded by Dr. Nick R. Lopez and Mrs. Elizabeth V. Garcia in the last 12 years. Unlike last 2012, when TBTK was held in May (obviously for political reason), TBTK 2015 will be back in July, in time for the annual Sandugo Festival.
Dr. Bonje went to USA as a Nurse, and got his diploma in Dentistry at the University of Illinois. His Presidency of CONBUSAC (Confederation of Boholanos in USA and Canada) and Chairmanship of (TBTK) Tigum Bol-anon Tibuok Kalibutan confirms his leadership skills.
Before he flew back to USA, via Hongkong, he made himself available for this interview in “Nangutana Lang,” DYRD-ZD, 6:30-7:00 PM last July 5, 2014.
LMP: When did you arrive from the States?
NBB: I arrived yesterday, July 4. It is good to be home in Bohol, as always.
LMP: What are your plans now that you are here?
NBB: Last Saturday, July 5, we launched the TBTK (Tigum Bol-anon Tibuok Kalibutan) 2015 at the Governor’s Mansion, together with Governor Edgar Chatto, and Mayor Baba Yap. Among others, we did some preparations and planning.
LMP: How long will you be staying here in Bohol?
NBB: I am bound for Hongkong this coming Wednesday, and on Friday, I will be back to Chicago.
LMP: The reason of your coming to Bohol is to prepare the initial plans for TBTK. What are the things that you would like to happen, as far as TBTK 2015 is concern?
NBB: Our vision is that TBTK will have an overwhelming response from all Boholanos all over the world. Whenever they are now, I am confident that they will support TBTK 2015, and come home to Bohol, because that is what we are as Boholanos.
LMP: The CONBUSAC (Confederation of Boholanos in USA and Canada) is a biennial affair, meeting every two years. Last year there was a meeting in Chicago. How was it?
NBB: The CONBUSAC 2013 was a smashing success. There were about 400 registered delegates who came from USA and Canada. As a matter of fact, we were afraid if we could not accommodate all of them, but the whole event went well.
LMP: What are the big events you have for TBTK 2015?
NBB: We have TOBAW (Ten Outstanding Boholanos All Over the World) and Ms. Bohol International, the family evening, and the Bohol Gala Night.
LMP: For TOBAW, I think this is the seventh time. It is Mr. Richard Uy of First Consolidated Bank, who is handling everything. In fact, what you have to do, and those who are members of TBTK, is just to appear and be there.
NBB: Yeah. It is a very important event because TOBAW showcases accomplishments of Boholanos in the world arena.
LMP: In the previous years, the first day of TBTK is the welcome led by the City, and there is always the final day, which is the despidida, and that used to be hosted by the Provincial Government. Maybe, perhaps, it will be revived. It is a way of thanking everybody for being here, and it also ends the entire Sandugo Celebration.
NBB: I agree that it should happen again. But as of now, I am more focused on the main frame of the event because it needs a lot of preparation. Without the frame, the others will not fall into place.
LMP: You of course know that Sandugo starts July 1, which is the Charter Day of Tagbilaran, and usually it ends in July 22, which is the Charter Day of the Province of Bohol. But in your case, TBTK is scheduled in the last week. This will be an addition, so the entire Sandugo Celebration is really one month. How many people do you expect from USA, Canada, and other places in the world who will be coming here? Because I remember, there was a time, when there was a group coming from Hongkong, Singapore, and other places.
NBB: It is our hope that we could tap all the venues.
LMP: Who are the other people helping you from outside of the country? This kind of undertaking cannot be done by just one person.
NBB: I have been establishing contacts for the past few months with Boholanos in Australia, USA, Canada, Hongkong, Singapore, Middle East, and Europe. Their response is positive and they are excited about it.
LMP: So, we are expecting that there will be a wider participation, as far as TBTK 2015 is concerned.
NBB: Yes, that is what I expect also. I am also encouraging my fellow Boholanos here in Bohol to invite their relatives and friends all over the globe to come home, and celebrate with us in the forthcoming TBTK.
LMP: I remember in the launching at the Governor’s Mansion, no less than the Mayor said, TBTK used to mean “Tagbilaran Buslot Tanang Karsada” and he mentioned that these roads were already repaired and rehabilitated. It is still the Boholano spirit of being the host, “Mangortina ‘ta kon duna’y pista.” But there is still one thing that I want to tell you, because there are people who say that TBTK is “Tihik Bol-non Tibuok Kalibutan.” Can you comment on that?
NBB: I disagree to that notion. I have seen Boholanos shop in the best malls in USA. They always send balikbayan boxes back home, send money to their family, support their nephews, nieces, and relatives to school, so I would say, Boholanos are not tihik. But, we are frugal because we work hard in order to make a living.
LMP: What is your message to all Boholanos?
NBB: To my fellow Bol-anons all over the world, TBTK 2015 is fast-approaching. Mark now your calendars for this once-in-every-three-year gathering, which will happen on July 24-27, 2015. The TBTK Committee is working hard to make sure that your visit to Bohol will become more memorable. I look forward to your participation and homecoming for TBTK 2015.
TBTK promises to be a big event in the Sandugo calendar, which starts on July 1 (Charter Day of Tagbilaran City), and culminates on July 22 (Charter Day of the Province of Bohol. From the 24th to the 27th of July is the slot allotted for TBTK. Highlights for this gathering of Boholanos all over the globe are: the selection of Ms. Bohol International and Mrs. Bohol International, and the proclamation of TOBAW (Ten Outstanding Boholanos Around the World), which will be sponsored by First Consolidated Bank (FCB) for the seventh time.
Dr. Neil Bonje exuded high hopes (in the interview) that TBTK 2015 would be a successful and unforgettable affair for all Boholanos around the world.