IN AN annual pilgrimage of sorts, former world karate champion Julian Chees returned home to the Cordillera last Christmas and distributed a total of P131,114.57 for the sick and for the construction of a kindergarten school building.
The Igorot martial artist based in Germany spent P79,004.57 for 15 patients and left P52,110 as seed money for the construction of a kindergarten school in Maligcong, Bontoc, Mt. Province.
The homecoming kept an annual vow to reach out to people in need, a feeling fueled by the Igorot karateka’s early struggle against poverty during his formative years as a miner’s son in Lepanto, Mankayan, Benguet.
While in Bontoc, Chees supported the dialysis sessions of kidney patients Roger Cattel, Mario Lo, Betty Falaweg, Lily Toyorgan, Amelita Baguiwen and Daphne Farong and supported the medical check-up of Milagros Pucnid and treatment of Sheena Pangowen for dengue fever.
Here in Baguio, he extended P3,251.72 fund support to cerebral palsy patient Sarah Bautista and treatment assistance for the dialysis sessions of kidney patients Amor Orpilla, Jan Picana and this writer.
Likewise, the martial artist, head of the JC-Shoshin Kinderhilfe Foundation, also extended P3,000 support for a concert-for-a-cause for patient Francine Safawil of Mankayan, Benguet.
While at the kindergarten class in Maligcong, Chees distributed school pens and other school supplies and set aside a seed fund for the building of a permanent class.
“Having struggled hard for my education, I feel deeply for the children and parents of my home village in their desire to have a permanent structure on which to hold kindergarten classes,” the fifth dan blackbelt said.
His latest year-end homecoming came on the heels of his having sent P46,585.97, of which P20,000 wasa received by Rev. Donald Ssoriano for the reconstruction of the Bethesda Children’s Home in Tuding which was destroyed by a fire.
Of the remaining amount P16,000 was used for payment of the hospital bills of 10-year old kidney patient Mary Joy Ligudon, and the rest for the dialysis treatment sessions of kidney patients Marcelino Bacud, Amor Orpilla, Jemaima Gac-oy and Erly Dumansi.
In the wake of the 2013 devastation wrought by super-typhoon Yolanda, Chees led a three-man mission that delivered P2 million worth of rice and relief items to victims in Roxas City, Capiz.
An outstanding member of the Japan Karate Association, Chees studied under the late Master Kunio Sasaki who introduced the “Shotokan” (knife-hand) style of the martial art in the country and immediate superior Edgar Kapawen Jr. chief instructor of the JKA based at the YMCA of Baguio.
After his three-year in-house apprenticeship with Master Sasaki, Chees transferred to Germany where he began winning the kata (formal exercise) event in international competitions and. As a result, he was drafted as a member of the German national team.
For this year, Chees and his martial arts students raised 11,286.85 euros in Germany, allowing him to continue reaching out to the sick and needy in the Cordillera. (Ramon Dacawi)