About Us

 

    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 firstly extend the race distance and secondly, due to the shorter travel time of public buses plying the north. A significant improvement in the manner of determining winner was made in 1960. With the assistance of a land surveyor contacted by Cham Teng Hui, accurate distances between point of release and members loft were introduced. The telephone remained for another year as the basis of determining time. Through the effort of Cham Teng Hui, PHA finally acquired secondhand clocks from Belgium in 1962 which were sold to members at cheap prices.


        Not satisfied with the so called "East Races" , and with the prodding of aggressive members like Peter Yap, who always support holding more challenging routes to test the capabilities of the pigeons under local conditions. PHA held races from Calapan, Mindoro and from Basco, Batanes in 1961 and 1963, respectively, As anticipated by reluctant members, the outcome of both races was a disaster.


        Through the American Racing Pigeon Union, PHA was invited to join the International Futurity race in Tokyo in 1963. This was the first and last time the association entered an International Competition. With 15 members, Antonio Tengco's entry was surprise finisher among the 20 birds.


        With the combination of young and old fanciers mutually energetic and enterprising, the association has undergone a series of changes to promote the sport in the Philippines. From an initial of 150 birds, the entries have multiplied by ten times. No more bus to catch or basket to carry or telephone to dial. The members can now enjoy the conveniences of a new training truck. Modern timers are now utilized alleviating the problems of the race officials. Even the association is now dominated by members between the ages of 20 to 30 years.