by Kattryn Erryc Sayo

A new wave of pride transpired as a Filipino Olympian with Bulakenyo roots competes in the 2012 London Olympics, with the flag of the Philippines on his back.

Tomohiko Aldaba Hoshina, nicknamed as “Tomo” by his relatives, is a son of a Japanese judoka and serviceman, and a Filipina named Vilma Aldaba, a pure Bulakenya from San Juan, Malolos City, who works as a cook. Hoshina has two siblings, namely Yuki, 32, and Ayaka, 24. 

Being born and raised in Fuji City, Shizuoku Prefecture Japan, Tomo was not able to mingle much with his relatives in Bulacan. There are times when he’ll visit the Philippines, but only a few days were allotted for staying with his relatives since he has practices and trainings in Manila. Aside from this, Tomo has troubles talking to them, for he doesn’t know how to speak Tagalog.

“Hindi ‘yon marunong mag-Tagalog kasi doon na sa Japan lumaki,” said his 53-year-old uncle, Zaldy Valenzuela.

His interest in Judo wasn’t taken in from his mother side. Valenzuela said, “Wala namang nahilig sa sports sa pamilya namin, maski Judo." But with his father as a judoka, it is apparent that it was one of the reasons why Tomo became fascinated with it. 

“’Yong kapatid niyang si Ayaka, naglalaro din ‘yon pero martial arts,” added his uncle. 

His relatives also said his passion for judo bloomed in his adolescent years.

The 25-year old judoka decided to represent the Philippines for he believes he has a bigger chance in entering the Olympics as a Filipino, rather than as a Japanese. 

His uncle also shared, “Pilipinas mismo ang kumuha kay Tomo.”

Representing the Philippines in the Olympics, Hoshina isn’t new to joining competitions. In the Philippines, he had been a contender in Judo twice, in an event in Cebu. Internationally, he had already battled at World Championships and Southeast Asian games events.

Aside from being fond of judo, the 5’11 and 125 kg judoka is also a highschool teacher in Japan. He told The Philippine Star that he also likes basketball and swimming but will never be a pro. Instead, he’ll concentrate on his career as a teacher.

Meanwhile, Hoshina’s uncle showed support for him. Valenzuela hopes for the victory of his nephew in his upcoming game in London. As a message to Tomo, he said, “Umuwi ka ng may medal. Alam kong kayang-kaya mo ‘yan dahil maganda ang naging training mo. Pagbutihin mo ang laban, para sa karangalan, unang-una ng Pilipinas, ng Bulacan, at ng ating pamilya.”

Two other Filipinos with Bulakenyo lineage are included in the list of Philippine delegates. They are Jessie Lacuna, a contender in swimming, and Daniel Caluag, a Fil-Am competitor in BMX Cycling.

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