I am dedicating this article to an old friend and fellow Bacolod native, the late MANFREDO P. ALIPALA. Although his achievements in amateur boxing in the Philippines and Asia have brought pride and fame to Bacolod City, it pains me to think that there was not even a recognition and appropriate honor bestowed by the city to a forgotten Bacolod hero. I am filled with regrets that, having been a high ranking city government official for almost 8 years, I failed to initiate a move to acknowledge a friend and fellow Bacoleno’s outstanding contribution to the fields of both amateur and professional boxing. For appeasement, I cannot convince myself that my failure to do so was due to my hectic and heavy workloads as a former Secretary to the Mayor and later City Administrator with concurrent job positions. Even as a private citizen based in a foreign land, I will try my best to make this right by seeking the help of current Bacolod City officials to distinguish the first Bacolod native to win the (only) Gold Medal in amateur boxing in the 1962 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia and the first Olympian from Bacolod to represent the Philippines in amateur boxing to the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
At 5’8’ and taller than most Filipinos in those days, “Noning” as we fondly called him, was a handsome and mild mannered guy with a physique that would easily earn envy from other young men and adoration from the young ladies on and off campus. Although “Noning” was a little older than me and taking a different course in WNC, we, together with other friends (Eli Hilado, Erning Abrico, Denny Yunque) would spend hours in the campus bench and ogle at the passing campus beauties during our vacant classes. I can still remember one incident when a ‘drunken’ student approached our group and started shouting invectives at us. Out of fear, we kept our silence until “Noning” came. After seeing him, the intoxicated bully’s face turned ashen and looking scared, hurriedly went away.
Our friendship remained close until I finished my general 2-year course in Engineering in 1960. Since WNC then was only offering the first 2 years of the 5-year engineering course, I went to Manila to pursue the last 3 years major in Mechanical Engineering at FEATI Institute of Technology (now University.) While in Manila, I learned from a mutual friend, Eli Hilado, who was enrolled in civil engineering at National University, that “Noning” became a member of the amateur boxing team of FEU. That time, the amateur team of FEU, was a formidable boxing squad that dominated both the UAAP competitions and national boxing team tryouts. “Noning”, with his top physical condition, boxing skills and “fearless” attitude easily became a mainstay of the team composed of young and talented boxers under the tutelage of reputable amateur boxing Coach Aling Enriquez. Among the mainstays of FEU were Dominador Calumarde, Rodolfo Arpon, Catalino Arpon, Eginio Grafia and Jose Ramirez, among others.
Manfredo Alipala’s biggest international success was in winning boxing's only gold medal in the welterweight category at the 1962 4th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, the first Filipino to do the feat.
As the best amateur welterweight boxer in the whole Asia in half a decade, “Noning” was selected to the Philippine national boxing team to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. To add prestige to his status as an outstanding amateur boxer of the country, “Noning” was chosen to be the flag bearer of the whole Philippine contingent to the said Olympics. Although he won his first bout in the 1964 Olympics by defeating Khalid Al-Karkhi of Iraq, unfortunately “Noning” lost to Kichijiro Hamada of Japan, whom he beat in the 1962 Asian Games for the gold medal.
It should be noted that in the same Olympic, another Filipino amateur boxer, 19 year-old Anthony Villanueva, won the Olympic silver medal in a controversial loss to eventual gold medalist, Russian Stanislav Stepashkin in their featherweight final bout.
Later in his boxing career, after turning into a professional boxer, “Noning” has fought against Filipino boxing champions such as Eduardo Canete, Fil Ravalo anad Phil Robinson, among others. His professional boxing campaign in the welterweight and middleweight class included Oriental and World title bouts for the OPBF Middleweight Championship against Korean champion Ki-Soo Kim in 1968 and Light welterweight champion Paul Fuji (Takeshi Fujii) of Hawaii in 1969.. Although he never won the championship boxing title, “Noning” was considered by World Champion Paul Haji as a tough contender for the welterweight world title.
After retiring from professional boxing, “Noning” reportedly joined the Philippine Sports Commission and worked as a consultant with that agency.
In a short biography by Wikipedia, Manfredo “Noning” P. Alipala was born on October 25, 1938 and died on October 8, 2006 at the age of 67. His listed residence was Barangay San Roque, Tarlac City, Tarlac.
Note. I have tried to seek the assistance of the old residents of Barangay Villamonte, Bacolod City with the hope of updating additional information for this article however no response has been received as of the date of the writing.
May 6, 2013
Fresno, California USA