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Home Sections Obituary-Memorial Park Remembering the 'Boy-Scout' Filipino Tragedy of July 28, 1963
Remembering the 'Boy-Scout' Filipino Tragedy of July 28, 1963 PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 23 July 2007 03:08

Some older Filipino Americans can still recall vividly the crash of an EgyptAir jetliner in the Bay of Bombay, India, on July 28, 1963. EgyptAir was called at that time the United Arab Airlines. The Egyptian airliner, a British-made Comet jetliner, was bound for Athens, Greece. Its flight originated in Hong Kong and had a stop over in Bangkok, Thailand. The ill-fated plane carried 52 passengers and eight crewmembers. Among the passengers were 24 Filipino boy scouts and scout officials en route to the 11th World Jamboree in Marathon, Greece.

According to eyewitnesses who were mainly fishermen from Mahd Island off Bombay, India, the Egyptian airliner plunged into the sea in one piece. Among the members of the Philippine scouting delegation, only five bodies were positively identified from the human remains that were recovered in the Bay of Bombay. There were no survivors in the plane crash.


Editor's Note: This online publication is inviting the relatives of the Filipino scouts and scouters who perished in the July 1963 tragedy to contribute photos and other materials about the deceased delegates. We intend to build a lasting online memorial to them in this publication. The materials and pictures can be sent to photos@mabuhayradio.com.Here's the story of ill-fated Filipino delegation to the 11th World Jamboree in Marathon, Greece.

The Filipino delegation was composed of 24 scouts and scouting officials (called scouters in the Philippines). The delegates composed a happy bunch when it called on then Philippine President Diosdado Macapagal on July 25, 1963, at the Malacañang Palace. During the courtesy call, a Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) official, Dr. Bonifacio Lazcano, introduced the members of the delegation. Among them were the Manila Boy Scout Council's Dr. Florante L. Ojeda and Librado Fernandez, an assistant scoutmaster. Fr. Jose Ma. Martinez, SJ, a faculty member of the Ateneo de Naga, who was an assistant scoutmaster in Naga City, was the delegation's chaplain.

The boy scouts who died in the plane crash: from the Manila BS Council: Ramon V. Albano, Henry Chuatoco, Jose Antonio Delgado, Pedro Gandia, Wilfredo Santiago and Ascario Tuason, Jr. From the Quezon City BS Council: Roberto Castor, Romeo R. Rallos and Rogelio Ybardolaza. Felix Fuentebella, Jr., represented both the Manila and Goa, Camarines Sur BS Councils. The rest of the scouts: Victor de Guia, Jr. (Baguio City), Antonio Limbaga (Zamboanga City), Roberto Lozano (Dagupan City), Paulo Madriñan (Pasay City), Jose Fermin Magbanua (Negros Oriental), Filamor Reyes and Antonio Torillo (Cavite) and Benecio Tobias (Tarlac)

Two days later the delegation took a KLM flight for Hong Kong to catch a connecting United Arab Airlines flight to Athens, Greece. The plane departed for Bangkok, Thailand, on the night of July 27, 1963, for a stop over and refueling.

Only the bodies of Jose Delgado, Henry Chuatoco, Roberto Castor, Ascario Tuason, Jr., and Librado Fernandez were positively identified from among the human remains recovered in the Bay of Bombay. Aviation authorities were not able to ascertain conclusively the cause of the accident. Sabotage was ruled out.

The head of the BSP delegation and three other scouting officials left ahead of the main group. The four "lucky" ones were Gabriel Daza, the BSP president and chief scout, H. B. Reyes, BSP vice president and deputy national scout commissioner, J. Plaridel Silvestre, BSP vice president and Godofredo Neri, a BSP executive.

1963 0728 d...
1963 0728 destination_marathon greece 1963 0728 destination_marathon greece
1963 0729 2...
1963 0729 23 rp boy scouts perish in crash 1963 0729 23 rp boy scouts perish in crash
1963 0729 2...
1963 0729 23 scouts in missing jet 1963 0729 23 scouts in missing jet
1963 0730 l...
1963 0730 lucky trio 1963 0730 lucky trio

The Filipino people of all walks of life mourned the deaths of the 24 scouts and scouters. World leaders from Pope Paul VI to President Sukarno of Indonesia sent messages of condolence. At the world jamboree in Marathon, Greece, all the flags were flown at half-mast. More than 14,000 scouts and scouters at the world jamboree mourned the untimely deaths of the Philippine delegation members. Bishop Benedict Parientis of the Athens Archdiocese conducted a necrological service and mass in Marathon in memory of the 24 Filipino scouts and scouters.

The BSC decided to send a third group on Aug. 3, 1963, to the world jamboree. The group was composed of Nicasio Fernandez of the Far Eastern University, Louis Santiago of the Mapua Institute of Technology and Guillermo Flores of San Beda College, which was the school attended by Scouts Jose A. Delgado and Felix Fuentebella, Jr.

The City Council of Quezon City renamed on April 24, 1964, streets in the Kamuning and Roxas Districts after the 24 scouts and scouters. At San Beda College, a memorial plaque was dedicated in honor of Delgado and Fuentebella. # # #

Editor's Note: Bobby M. Reyes, the writer of this article, wanted to join the Philippine delegation to the 11th World Jamboree. Reyes was a scout of the BSP Sorsogon Council and he attended the 10th World Jamboree in Mt. Makiling, Laguna, Philippines, in July 1959. When he returned to Sorsogon in August 1959, Bobby asked his father support for his participation in the 11th World Jamboree. The father, Dominador S. Reyes (now deceased), who was then a candidate for provincial governor in the November 1959 elections, said that Bobby would attend the jamboree if he won. The father said that he could not afford the expense of Bobby's attending the world jamboree if he lost his electoral bid. Fortunately for Bobby his father lost the election and he gave up his dream of attending the Marathon, Greece, jamboree. The election defeat of his father was Bobby's blessing. In July 1963 Bobby was then a first-year AB student in San Beda College and he felt that part of him died with Bedan scouts Delgado and Fuentebella. He compiled the news reports about this tragedy and wrote a summary about it. This article was previously published in the now-defunct www.yimby.com in 1999 and some other Filipino-American hardcopy magazines in 1988 and in the early 2000s, some of which have also ceased publication. # # #




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Last Updated on Thursday, 27 July 2017 14:54
 
Comments (19)
1 Thursday, 02 April 2009 07:48
My late uncle Jesse Luntok was also in the 10th World Jamboree.
2 Sunday, 05 April 2009 06:38
PLEASE CORRECT MY SONS FAMILY SHOULD BE CASTOR not castor please contact me at tel no 7497138 7123579 or e mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it I can give you a souvenir program for the history and stories in behalf of 24th boyscout
mother of ROBERTO CASTOR
3 Sunday, 05 April 2009 06:39
PLEASE CORRECT MY SONS FAMILY SHOULD BE CASTOR not castro
please contact me at tel no 7497138 7123579 or e mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it I can give you a souvenir program for the history and stories in behalf of 24th boyscout
mother of ROBERTO CASTOR
4 Tuesday, 07 April 2009 14:41
Dear Jojo Aguirre:

Thank you for your report on Scout Jesse Luntok. Can you please provide this website with more data about him and even his photos? We will gladly publish them in the same article.

Please send the articles as ordinary text of an e-mail and photographs by JPG to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , with copy to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Mabuhay,

Lolo Bobby M. Reyes
Editor
5 Thursday, 07 May 2009 00:47
Dear Virginia Castor:

Can I ask for a copy of the souvenir program, history of the event, and stories about the scouts? I have an assignment about this.

I am also very interested about this event, knowing two persons who would
have been part of the group but had backed out. One is my friend's father and the other one is a prof at UP Diliman.

You can contact me at neri18@gmail. com or at 09185166737.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Nerissa Molejon
UP Diliman
6 Wednesday, 06 January 2010 05:21
hi. I'm really fascinated with the boyscout story. I'm only 13 years old and the tragedy of the boy scouts really touched me. It is great that we give honor to the brave little scouts who died in 1963!
7 Saturday, 20 February 2010 04:44
I was too young to remember this bu t recently I chanced upon the news articles during my readings at the national Library of the old newspapers. I took photos of the news articles and the photos and I would like to share it with you..I will email it to you..
Nicasio Fernandez , Louis Santiago and Guillermo Flores failed to join the ill-fated group. Flores had trouble with the release his passport while Fernandez needed P600 more for his expenses...
Sad story....
I just felt bad the QC government had to change the street names that were given in honor of the scouts.....
8 Saturday, 20 February 2010 04:49
I was too young to remember this bu t recently I chanced upon the news articles during my readings at the national Library of the old newspapers. I took photos of the news articles and the photos and I would like to share it with you..I will email it to you..
Nicasio Fernandez , Louis Santiago and Guillermo Flores was part of the contingent but failed to join the ill-fated group.
Flores had trouble with the release his passport while Fernandez needed P600 more for his expenses...
Sad story....
I just felt bad the QC government had to change the street names that were given in honor of the scouts.....

The other week, a Channel 5 show featured the scout tragic incident...
But the story was so shallow...no in depth research was done..
They should have mentioned those part of the original contingent that avoided the tragedy...
and probably talked to them, if they are still alive today...
9 Monday, 22 February 2010 20:32
mabuhay
Thanks for the pictures, Greg, I posted them within the article itself.
10 Monday, 08 March 2010 08:31
thanks for the information, I don't know any of the victims , but i grew up and still living near timog ave. i've always been curious about the monument there and where the street names came from, so now I know. I became interested about the tragic accident and now searching for some infos and photos. Can I use those photos so i can make some tribute video?tnx.
11 Friday, 16 April 2010 17:20
my father was a flight engineer on this ill fated flight..
pls if you have more info, pictures,,etc i was very young that time.. pls contact me
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
12 Sunday, 02 May 2010 19:48
I am the grandson of Gabriel Daza, who was the BSP chief who survived the tragedy when he took another plane ahead of the one that crashed. I'm writing a script about my lolo which mentions this tragedy. If anyone has any other information or pictures about this, kindly email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or text me at 0917-8101259.

Thank you for this very informative article.
13 Tuesday, 01 June 2010 17:38
Hello, I was just browsing by and I was reading the entry about remembering the scouts who died on their way to Greece. I just wanted to point out that Dr. Bonifacio Lazcano's name was mis-spelled in your report. It should have Z not s in his last name. Thank you for your time.

Zarina Lazcano Moxam
14 Friday, 27 August 2010 21:39
i was lonly when i knew thies report.were are hoping these will not happen again.
15 Tuesday, 15 February 2011 20:21
From the first time I opened a webpage about this tragic incident [the 24 young Filipino Scouts who died in a place crash as they were heading to Greece to attend the 11th World Jamboree], I have been getting goosebumps all over and tears would start falling down. I am a scout myself since I was a kid and I always encourage my sons to actively participate in all their scouting activities and programs. When one of my my sons asked me to allow him to join the World Jamboree to be held at Mt Makiling, Laguna on May 2011, I got mixed emotions. But, driving away my cowardice, I feel the need to let him go because something is whispering to my ears that the spirits of these 24 brave young men will be there to protect their fellow scouts. I salute the parents of these stalwart scouts! We need other parents like them to battle against other youth who are now enslaved by drugs and other bad elements of our society. Parents, the more boys (and girls) we send to Scouting, the less worry we would have as to what they would become when they grow older. I can assure you that.
Here is an article from the Manila Chronicle about the lives of these scouts...

SCOUTS HAD PREMONITION OF TRAGEDY
Manila Chronicle – July 30, 1963
By Sylvia Mayuga of the Chronicle Staff

“I will die a scout, “ Roberto Lozano, 19, and one of the 24 ill-fated Philippine scouting delegates, often jested to his family and close friends. The pleasantry has assumed a grim prophetic undertone.

Antonio Torillo had a more ominous warning. He dreamed of a plane crash two days before he left. His uncle, to whom he confided this dismissed the thought and talked about the places he was going to visit in Europe and America during his two-month trip.

His parents, Col. And Mrs. Alfonso Torillo, were unaware of their son’s tragedy until they heard about it flashed over the Chronicle Broadcasting Network Sunday afternoon in Rosario, Cavite.

Col. Torillo, a hardened veteran constabulary officer, is still suffering from shock. He recalled that his son had worked hard to be able to join the contingent. Antonio was a model scout of Cavite and his parents are still praying that he survived.

Crippled by polio at four months old, Roberto Lozano overcame many obstacles to lead a normal life and scouting activity.

Julia del Prado, a cousin, recalls that even as a little boy, Roberto knew the signals thoroughly, intent as he was on becoming a scout.

The trip was both a chance for a meeting with kindred spirits and a chance to pass by Lourdes where many similarly affected had been cured.

Hence, his tenacity to raise whatever money he still lacked a day before the trip, to the extent of approaching Malacañang for sponsorship.

“With the tenacity typical of him, he raised whatever money he lacked for the trip by approaching Malacañang and friends,” said his mother, Mrs. Patrocinio del Prado vda. De Lozano. He is the youngest of her three children.

Ebullient and enterprising, Roberto was a consistent honor student at Dagupan City Colleges. As a student leader, he recently won a prize in an extemporaneous speaking contest. He was on his second year in a pre-medicine course.

His death is the second tragedy in the family. It followed his father’s who died in an accident shooting last January.

However, excited by the trip, he has specially requested his mother not to wear black at the airport since he thought it not a cheerful send-off.

“He had gone to confession before the trip and was hoping to go to Communion on the Catacombs of Rome,” Julia sobbed.

Florenta Ojeda, Agusan council master, who mourned by nephew by affinity, Florante Pascual. The latter, a PE and PMT teacher at the Rajah Soliman High School, said he had not contacted Ojeda’s family in Agusan because he was at a loss at what to tell them.

He wept recalling the comradely relationship he had with Ojeda, a close friend of nine years. Ojeda had slept in his house the night before he left. He still couldn’t believed is luck at being able to go abroad.

Romeo Rallos, 17, was the only son of four children. Gavino Santos, the boy’s uncle, who is staying with the family, says that after his studies at the Quezon City High School, they had intended to send him to Mapua Tech for an engineering course.

His father, who is working in San Francisco, California, had great hopes of sending for his son to continue his studies there.

Jose Fermin Magbanua, a 14-year-old boy from Dumaguete City was on his first exciting trip away from home.

Twice before he had been frustrated in his plans to go abroad when his visits to elder sisters who are Smith-Mundt scholars in the United States have been called off.

The trip to Greece was for him a big adventure. According to Mrs. Padolina, a wife of a BSP official, his family had planned on his studying to ne an engineer to follow in the footsteps of his father.

Roberto Castor’s family held hopes for his safety and did not give up the thought of seeing him once more.

The second of eight children, his parents had scrimped and saved in order to finance his trip.

They had paid up P2,600 as down payment for his expenses and were only able to pay the rest of the P6,000 required only a few days before his departure.

His mother sacrificed for him because “we want to contribute what little we can towards raising Filipinos international prestige…”

The parting at the airport was a little too much for Roberto. He was in tears as he bade goodbye to his parents Mr. and Mrs. Tomas Castor.

Nobody thought that the goodbye kiss he gave to his mother would be the last act of affection. Before his departure he shared a piece of cake with his mother.

His trip was sponsored jointly by Quezon City Mayor Norberto Amoranto, Councilor Proceso Sebastian and the Quezon City Parent Teachers Association.

Librado “Buddy” Fernandez died because he wanted what little he could do for the delegation. As supervisor of the United Arab Airlines, he didn’t have to leave with the group.

He went as an observer and being a scouter himself, donned a uniform because he wanted the boys to feel that he was one of them.

Father Jose Martinez, S.J., chaplain of the group, was born in Laoag, Ilocos Norte on Sept. 11, 1921 although his parents are now residing in Cebu City.

He finished his elementary at the Little Flower Academy and went to high school and the university (then just a college) of San Carlos, where he was an honor student and worked up to the rank of eagle scout.

He studied at the San Jose Seminary in 1939 to 1942. He became a Jesuit on May 30, 1942 and entered the Sacred Heart novitiate in Manila and Novaliches.

He taught at the Ateneo de Naga from 1950 and 1952 and then went to Woodstock College in Maryland.

He was ordained priest June 16, 1956 at Fordham University by Francis Cardinal Spellman.
17 Thursday, 03 May 2012 19:52
The stuff here is pretty cool and awesome.Food peeling machine, I got the meaning clearly and need no longer time to understand it. It’s really interesting.
18 Wednesday, 25 July 2012 15:01
I will always remember my uncle every July 28th and wondered what he could have been if he is still with us. I was only 7 years old when the tragedy happened but saw and felt the lost and sadness in my grandmother's (Pacita Santiago) and grandfather's (Eduardo Santiago) faces.

I am sure they are all together now with the Lord.
19 Friday, 27 July 2012 07:10
As we celebrate the 49th Anniversary of the Death of the Boyscouts to the 11th World Jamboree, Im missing my brother,Wilfredo. Willy just turned 14 that May, but he & I were very close since I was only a yr younger. A very intelligent, positive lad full of life & hope, just starting to bloom. He was a great dancer, we even had boogie dance steps we performed in front of guests! At school he was an orator & debater & made friends easily. He was so excited to be going to Greece & had tons of Carabao kerchief holders made to trade with boyscouts he was to meet. He's the BEST brother ever, & although he was taken from me so soon, Im proud & happy to have lived those yrs as his sister!

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