The 3-minute interview with Teodoro Ildefonzo

Born in the Philippines in 1907, the Visitacion Valley man celebrated his 100th birthday on Tuesday. Ildefonzo served in the medical corps for the Philippines and then the U.S. Army in World War II and the Korean War, serving a total of 33 years. He isalso a local swimming legend, along with his brother Teofilo. He celebrated his birthday in Las Vegas last weekend, staying at the Excalibur and playing blackjack, poker and craps.

What advice can you give to the younger generations? The only thing I can say is like what I did with my kids: I told them to study hard in order to have a nice education and a good job for them to stay alive. That’s all.

Do you have a secret for living so long? [My wife Magdalena and I] have been married 28 years, and I receive nightly massages from my wife. My doctor also told me not to eat processed food. Everything we eat must be fresh every day. I also garden and go out.

What did you do for the medical corps? I collected seriously wounded patients from behind the front lines and brought them to the collecting station for first aid. I [then] brought the seriously wounded patients to the hospital, which was five miles away.

How has the world changed throughout your lifetime? It’s become better than the old days. The food supply is better than before the war.

What do you enjoy about swimming? Well, I enjoy it because swimming is good exercise, but I’m not very good like my brother. I liked it just to play and be away from work.

What did you do in Las Vegas? Nothing, except we played a little bit: blackjack, dice and poker. We won some; we lost some.


Check out more 3-minute interviews from our San Francisco newsroom.

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