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Elorde vs. Ilarde

Yesterday, I met and spoke to an 85-year old Filipino American US Navy veteran and retired merchant marine seaman. He has practically travelled the world and lived in Europe and the United States most of his life.


He’s never been home for a very long time and in his old age, he could only reminisce about his youth while living in Mabolo, Cebu. He said he sold “Bisaya” magazine and was a shoeshine boy in the streets of Cebu. He recalled being paid 2 pesos for shining 22 pairs of shoes of the Governor of Cebu.


He then said, “Do you know Mr. Elorde in the Philippines?” And I said, “Do you mean former Senator Ilarde?”


“Yes. He was a boxer too. Senator boxer,” he replied. For some reason, I had thought of Senator Manny Pacquiao.


He wouldn’t stop talking about him and how he’d become a legend during his time.


“That guy was my friend and neighbor in Cebu. He was very tall and strong. He was a legend,” he added.


I pulled out this photo and showed it to him. I said, Ilarde once visited me in my office in Manila.

He was stunned.


“Oh my God. Oh my God,” he said. And he kept staring at me.


“I can’t believe it. Oh my God. Is that you with him in the picture?” he continued. I responded in the affirmative.


His eyes now watery, he said, “Too bad he died young.”


I quickly responded, “No, he didn’t! I just saw him a couple of months ago.”


“No, he died already,” he forlornly glanced at me.


And so I quickly Googled and here’s what I found out: Gabriel “The Flash” Elorde, Filipino professional boxer from Cebu died of lung cancer in 1985.


With me in this photo is former Senator and broadcaster Eddie Ilarde with #Komiks legend, Joe Lad Santos. Very much alive.


“We were talking about two different persons,” I told him. This is Senator Ilarde in the picture not your boxer friend, The Flash Elorde. ”You’re right, he died a long time ago,” I said.


“Giingnan ta ka,” (I told you so) he responded without looking.


I died laughing.



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