NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
A former Boholano boxing Olympian who hanged his gloves four decades ago to catch fish for family livelihood has finally what he longed to own—a new boat.
Gov. Arthur Yap delivered the fishing boat to 1968 Mexico Olympics boxer Teogenes Bernales Peligrino, now 70, in Basdio, Guindulman on Wednesday.
Yap turned over to Peligrino the brand new boat, fulfilling in a month a promise he made to him just last December.
After his rare Olympic bout, Peligrino had 32 professional fights and was rated number three in the featherweight division when he decided to retire from boxing and settle down.
He went home in Guindulman and has since turned to fishing for main source of income for his family.
Regrettably, it has been years since his long-used fishing boat gave up.
On his social media account, the governor recalled his chance meeting with the pugilist, who also attached to his boxing career an Asian Games silver medal.
It was in last December when Peligrino knocked on the governor’s door to seek help.
Little did Yap know that the well-built old man infront of him was a former Olympian yet underrated boxer in the country.
Peligrino fondly shared his story when he fought in the Asian Games featherweight division against a Korean boxer.
It was before the Olympics and he was 18 years old then, with nothing but pure guts and sheer skills, when he bagged the silver medal.
Peligrino recounted being one of the finalists in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, although he failed to get a medal.
After the Asian Games, Peligrino stayed in Manila while waiting for a reward the late Pres. Ferdinand Marcos promised him.
But the boxer went home three weeks after crestfallen, with nothing.
Listening intimately to the only Boholano boxer who had gone to the Olympiad, the governor wondered, “How on earth did we have our very own Olympian and not know about it?”
The 1966 Olympiad in Mexico was the first to be staged in Latin America and the first in a Spanish-speaking country.
Then Gov. Edgar Chatto, now First District congressman, honored Peligrino during the Bohol Day Celebration in 2015.
SEEKING HELP BEFORE
It was almost two years ago, in a sports forum, that the old boxer met a candidate for governor (not Yap) and asked for help.
In all fairness, the candidate listened to him and did promise help, Peligrino recalled.
But the promise has remained an empty word until today.
Yap felt for Peligrino as he “could not understand why and how an Olympian who brought honor into our province was that treated.”
The governor was too willing to provide for the boxer and his family, but Peligrino just asked him one thing—a new fishing boat.
True to his word, Yap in just a month, granted Peligrino’s wish, a brand new fishing boat which the governor requested from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
The aged boxer sported a delightful face, as if sure of an Olympic medal, in receiving his new fishing boat from the governor. (with reports from Ven rebo Arigo)