Regino Ylanan: Asia’s first ‘Man of Steel’


Most everybody know Dr. Regino Ylanan as many-time official of Philippine delegations to international competitions like the Asian Games and Olympic Games. He was once the secretary-treasurer of the now-defunct Philippine Amateur Athletic Federation who had a hand in the preparation of the layout and the supervision of the construction of four stadiums inside the Rizal Sports Complex.

Not many know, however, that Dr. Ylanan was an outstanding athlete who won three gold medals in athletics in the First Eastern Games I 913 and one in baseball in the third staging of the biennial conclave in 1917.

In the 1913 Games alone, held in Manila February 1913, Ylanan ruled the shot put, discus throw and the multi-discipline pentathlon. He was, too, a member of the Philippine baseball team that finished with the silver medal, also that year.

His gold medal triumph in pentathlon could have earned for versatile Ylanan the title “Asia’s First Man of Steel” had there been one. Pentathon is a five-discipline event that included 220-yard run, shot put, discus throw and one mile race.

His triple gold medal harvest could have also accorded the soon-to-be physician athlete the “Most Outstanding Male Athlete” Award. But unlike now, however, there was no such recognition being handed out in those times.


Ylanan went home though as the undisputed most be-medalled athlete of the Games outshining compatriot Pio Robillos, who swept the 100-yard and 200-yard runs. Robillos, actually led a 1-2-3-4 Filipino finishes in the 100-yard that included Jose Lozada, who won the silver medal, Numeriano Rojas, bronze medallist, and G. Quintana, fourth placer.

In the 220-yard run, Robillos towed Quintana to the medal podium with the latter’s silver medal finish and Lino Castillejos father of tennis ace and television personality Dyan, fourth.

Ylanan’s 18.76-metrer effort in shot put, 27.28-meter in discus and 226 points in pentathlon as well as Robillos’ 10.8-second and 23.6-second clockings in the 100-yard and 220-yard, respectively, went into the books as the Games records put to be broken in future editions of the meet.

The Filipino runners, jumpers and throwers ended up with a total 11-gold medal haul in track and field, seven silver and seven bronze medals to emerge the overall champions in athletics.

Robillos actually matched Ylanan’s three-gold production, the last in the 4×220-yard relay, which he anchored in a team up with Numeriano Rojas, Simeon Paz and Lorenzo Enriquez.

Other Filipino individual gold medal winners in the inaugural staging of the triangular gathering of the best athletes from the Philippines, China and Japan were Vicente Macairan in the 440-yard run, Paulino Samarinas in the 880-yard run, Jose Lozada in 220-yard hurdle and Remigio Abad in pole vault.

Lino Castillejos more than made up for his fourth place finish in the 220-yard sprint by leading the quartet that also included Victorino Abrera, F. Lizares and Nicanor Atillo to another gold medal.

The national basketball team made up of Jose Alemani, Tirso Garcia, Jovito Gonzales, Lorenzo Onrubia, Eustaquio Sebastian, Geronimo Suva, Pascual Torres and Jose Wilson started what was to become the Philippines’ domination of the sport that soon will the nation’s favorite pastime by beating China in the gold medal play.

And in a performance that had never ever been repeated by any national squads that followed, not even by the much-ballyhooed Azkals of today’s generation, the Philippine XI overpowered China, 3-0, to win the country’s first and only international title in the sport.

Members of the team were Henry Duland, W.Duland, F. Elizaga, Angel Gachitorena, Damaso Garcia, Rafael Iboleon, J. Llamas, Enrique Lopez, Joaquin Lopez and Joaquin Loyzaga, father of basketball great Carlos Loyzaga.

The national spikers and swimmers, likewise, returned home with the gold medals in their pockets. Gil Fargas and Leandro Suarez swept the singles and double events in tennis.


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