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Friday, April 12, 2024

Teófilo Yldefonso, first Filipino Olympic medalist, honored

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CHOOKS-TO-GO posthumously honored the first Filipino Olympic medalist and war hero, Teófilo Yldefonso, with a perpetual supply of 100 oven-roasted chicken every month. 

The grant—to continue for as long as the business is alive—was given to his great-great-grandson Raul Yldefonso, the designated representative of his surviving heirs.

Yldefonso was the country’s first Olympic medalist, clinching bronze in the 200-meter breaststroke in 1928 in Amsterdam.

He repeated the feat four years later in Los Angeles and became known as the “Ilocano Shark” and “The Father of the Modern Breaststroke.”

Yldefonso’s legacy, however, does not have the same recall as modern-day sports heroes.

“Teófilo is not just a sports hero but also a war hero during World War II,” Chooks-to-Go President Ronald Mascariñas said. “He was at the battlefront during World War II where he met his untimely demise.”

Teófilo served in the 57th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Scouts of the United States Army. He survived the Death March, but died at the Capas Concentration Camp on June 19, 1942, at the age of 38.

“During World War II, he became friends with his former 1936 Olympics Japanese foe, Reizo Koike, in Capas,” Raul Yldefonsosaid. “They met again in Capas and Bataan where they were both officers on opposite sides. At that time, the Filipino soldiers were being besieged by the Japanese.”

“The Japanese official told him to escape and leave his men behind. He refused, saying ‘Forget it, I would rather die if I have to be alongside my men,’” he said. “He eventually died in the Japanese concentration camp.”

Raul recalled that Yldefonso once had a bust sitting on top of a hill in Ilocos Norte. 

“What is left of his memory now is a bust that stands at the plaza,” he said.

Up until this day, Raul and the Yldefonso clan are still fighting to keep the memories of their great-great-grandfather alive so that the next generations will remember his heroism. Raul hopes that Chooks-to-Go’s initiative to honor Yldefonso will generate support for this cause.

He decided to send a portion of what they will be receiving from Chooks-to-Go to Piddig, Ilocos Norte, where the Yldefonso clan will be distributing them to the needy members of the community.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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