HISTORY OF PHILIPPINE PIGEON RACING
The history of Philippine Homing Pigeon Association of the Phils, (PHA) is nostalgic and inspiring. The pioneers led by Jose Montilla, PHA first President, triumphed over the seemingly insurmountable odds when PHA was still at its infancy stage. Mr. Montilla, a member of the Homing Pigeon Club in the Phils established in 1935, actively participated in the club races. The club was organized and supported by General Conrad of the US Army Signal Corps. When the war broke out, the Club ceased and died but the birds from the Loft at Fort Mckinley now popularly known as Fort Bonifacio were distributed to the 20 members. These members patiently bred the pigeons even without the benefit of a club or races.
After the war, Mr. Montilla acquired three pairs from the US Signal Corps through the help of Gen. McArthur's headquarters. Before the army left the Phils. in the early 1950's US Signal pigeons were given to Montilla and Company. It is notable to think that thousands of our (Filipinos) present pigeons are descendants of these sturdy "GI" birds.
There is one individual however who purchased racing pigeons from the United States, France and Belgium from 1945 to 1957 who became one of the pillars of PHA. Mr. Eulogio Chua. His stocks definitely improved the local breeds available during that time. In 1958, them Philippine Homing Pigeon Association (PHA) was established. It was affiliated with American Racing Pigeon Union in the same year. 12 determined individuals formed the core of the association. They are: Jose Montilla, Celso M. Estrella, Eulogio Chua, Salvador Gorostiza, Antonio D. Tengco, Ben Araneta, Peter Yap, Cham Teng Hui, Perfecto Domingo, Nick Bustamante, Tony Dee, and Elias Hechanova.
All of these men pooled their resources and interests together. The club encountered some problems with the police and the defunct Philippine Constabulary which ignorantly thought that the birds were used for illegal activities. It was only in 1960 when the club was formally registered with the Securities & Exchange Commission as a non-stock organization. There were 15 active members who held regular races in Southern Luzon- Gumaca, Naga and Legaspi. Using PNR trains, a few hundred pigeons in 15 or more baskets were entered. There were no loft distance, no timers and telephone calls were the basis in determining the winners. Members living in the southern fringes of Manila had definitely the advantage. They won all the races.
The races were shifted to the North in 1960 to extend race distance and due to better travel time with buses flying the North. Using the services of a land surveyor contacted by Cham Teng Hui, accurate distances between release points and lofts were adopted. For another year, telephone calls were still used in determining the winners. Again, thru the efforts of Mr. Cham Teng Hui, second hand but still reliable timers from Belgium were sold to members in 1962. Scientific and accurate racing has arrived in the Philippines.
excerpt from "PHA 40 Glorious years"
Contributed by Erwin Miranda