Sunday, January 20, 2013

*321. ADOLFO "Chito" FELICIANO JR. : Shooting Star, Dancing Star

POINT AND HE'LL SHOOT. Adolfo "Chito" Feliciano, Olympian marksman, fencer, dancer, TV host, archer and military man, with roots in Bacolor.

No single word can best describe Kapampangan Adolfo “Chito” Feliciano—after all, he took on many roles and excelled in all—as an Olympic marksman, world-class fencer, archer, military man and TV dance host.

It is in the sports of marksmanship and in the art of dancing however, that he found national fame, two unlikely disciplines that he pursued with passion in his relatively short life.

 Nicknamed Chito, he was a great grandson and a direct descendant of Valentin Ventura of Bacolor, a Kapampangan personality closely associated with the national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal. He was raised in Manila, where he spent his elementary years at the Ateneo Grade School (Class of 1941). He continued his secondary years at the same school, until his graduation in 1949.

 He opted to enroll at the University of the Philippines for his Fine Arts course and it was here that he discovered the sports of shooting. Earlier, he had also dabbled in fencing and even became a national champion. But in his sophomore year, he was asked to try out for the U.P. six-man shooting team. When the trials were over, he was ranked no. 1 in a field of 80 students. In his first year of competition at the national open, Chito did not even place.

This setback did not faze him ; in the next 2 years, he topped the 3-position rifle event. His performance qualified him for the quadrennial Asian Games, held in Manila in 1954. Entered in the small bore rifle, 3-position, Chito had to fight for top honors to the last bullet. Way below in the morning shoots, he was able to pip his rival just by one point—who turned out to be his team mate Martin Gison.

 At the end of the Games, the Philippine team had garnered 15 golds—the most for the country since 1951—and 4 of these were courtesy of the Philippine shooting team led by the sharpshooting Chito Feliciano. In the next edition of the Asiad in Tokyo, Chito again won gold for the same event. Chito’s next stop was the 1960 Rome Olympics, which was every athlete’s dream. Pitted against the world’s best, he could only place 51st among 54 shooters in the small-bore rifle with 1,083 points in three positions.

Upon his return, Chito took a respite from his demanding sports by hosting a Sunday variety dance show on DZBB Channel 7, a station founded by American Bob Stewart. Stewart was married to Loreto Feliciano, a relative of Chito. Aside from being a sharpshooter, Chito had already established himself as a dancer of great skillin Manila’s social circle—adept at Latin style dancing. On 29 October 1961, “Dancetime with Chito” hit the Philippine airwaves for the first time. Chito and his group featured dances like chacha, tango, rhumba and ballroom dances. His pioneering dance show was an instant hit and helped Channel 7 pull in more viewers and advertising revenues.

 Chito hosted the show until 1964, when he had to leave again to represent the country at the shooting events of the Tokyo Olympics. He competed in the small-bore rifle prone in 3 positions—a demonstration sport—and came in 2nd. His winning streak continued at the World Shooting Championships in Germany in 1966, winning a Gold, 2 Silvers and a Bronze. He upped his medal harvest to 2 Golds and a Bronze at the next year’s championship in Phoenix, thus earning him the distinction as the country’s top marksman.

The Mexico Olympics in 1968 would be his last Olympiad, finishing 22nd of 30 shooters in the Free Rifle event. After his sporting days were over, he put his sharpshooting expertise to good use by joining the Philippine Navy as head of the Sniper Training Unit during the Marcos Administration.

As a marine officer, he rose to the rank of a Major, tasked with honing the skills of Philippine marine snipers. In one such military exercise in 1972-- in which he was supervising combat manuevers of Marines, Maj. Chito Feliciano’s helicopter crashed killing him instantly. He left behind his wife, Julie Murphy and daughter Joannie Feliciano, herself an accomplished actress-dancer-singer-painter-sportsman.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

*320. His High School Yearbook: REP. EMIGDIO A. BONDOC

One of Pampanga’s popular solons, Emigdio Aliwalas Bondoc was born in Macabebe on 22 November 1928. He started his illustrious legal and political career when he enrolled at age 18 at the Ateneo de Manila in 1946 for a pre-law course.

 In his freshman year, Emigdio made his presence felt quickly by joining various school clubs—from the Aquila Legis Fraterrnity, Social Order Club, Sodality to the Sanctuary Society. On top of that, he was elected as Vice President of his class on his very first year.

 In 1952, he earned his law degree, graduating alongside classmates like Ernesto Maceda and Cesar Bengzon. He passed the bar and joined the roll of attorneys only on 8 February 1955. In 1957, he finally joined government service as the legal adviser of the Senate financial committee.

 Even as he was making a name in Philippine politics, he found time to settle down with Margarita Puyat. Their union was blessed with two children: Dr. Anna York Cristina and Juan Pablo (Rimpy). In 1987, Bondoc became the Representative of the 3rd District of Pampanga.

When the province was redistricted into 4 congressional districts under the new Constitution, Bondoc became the representative of the 4th district of the restored House of Representatives, which covered the towns of Apalit, Candaba, Macabebe, Masantol, Minalin, San Luis, San Simon and Santo Tomas.

 As a congressman, Bondoc was named chairman of the powerful House committee on ethics which decided on the controversial case of Zamboanga solon Romeo Jalosjos and the lobby fund for the approval of the jai-alai bill. Likewise, Bondoc was designated as Vice Chairman of the House Committee on foreign affairs. 

On Nov. 25, 1999, Bondoc was riding his Nissan Patrol car en route to Manila when his driver lost control of the car after the right front tire blew. The car hit a post and the good solon was injured. Rushed to the St. Luke’s Hospital, Bondoc succumbed to his injuries at age 69.

 Bondoc’s son, Rimpy, a U.P. graduate, continued his political legacy by being elected as representative of the same district at the 12th congress. He would serve 2 terms, only to be succeeded by elder sister Dr. Anna York Bondoc-Sagum, now also on her last term of office.