Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Memorial To Grandmaster Dominador "Doming" D. Ferrer (1920-2007) by: James U. Sy Jr.


Grandmaster Dominador “Doming” D. Ferrer, the Founder of the Kalantiaw Defense Society (KDS), passed away on July 17, 2007, 2:00 P.M., at the Doctors Hospital , B.S. Aquino Drive , Bacolod City due a sudden cardiac arrest. He was 86 years old.

Early this year, GM Ferrer was hospitalized after being dizzy while gardening. He was diagnosed with a high BP. Then on July 7, 2007, he complained of pains in his left chest prompting his family to have him checked at the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH). But doctors could not find anything wrong with GM Ferrer. On July 17, 2007, 10:00 P.M., GM Ferer was rushed to the Doctors Hospital . By 2:00 P.M. he had expired.

The vigil for GM Ferrer was held from July 18-22, 2007 at the Chapel F, Rolling Hills Memorial Chapel, Inc., Lacson St. , Bacolod City. Family, relatives, friends, and martial artists flocked to Rolling hills to pay their last respects to GM Ferrer. Interment was last Jul 23, 2007 at the Roselawns Memorial Park with the mass held by Rev. Fr. Emilio Larlar at the Bata Church . Members of the Bantay Bayan brought the casket to its final resting place.

GM Ferrer to the many aspiring Arnisadores was a role model and the embodiment of a real grandmaster. He was always humble and most times would just keep silent. He never made claims of grandeur and always gave a smile to the people around him. Upon deeper inspection, one would discover a person full of wisdom, experience, and love for his fellow men...a gentle giant.

GM Ferrer retired when he was 60 and enjoyed what he does best for the next 27 years of his life. Arnis kept him active, healthy, and happy. While people his age would just sit down at home, GM Ferrer is most times found at martial arts events, 9 or 8 out of 10 every time. Arnis was his life long passion and he strived to impart this Filipino heritage to the next generation of Arnisadores.

He is well loved and respected by the martial arts community. He taught Arnis publicly but chose carefully his students. He didn’t want his skills to be used for something not right. Nevertheless, he was never secretive to those who were deserving of his knowledge.

He was a good friend who gave good advice. He was always there for a helping hand and would often pat one on the back for a job well done. He was always on time and most times, would be at the meeting place even before the designated time.

At his advanced age, he was a health buff, walking distances that would leave a younger but less fit man gasping for air. His grip was stronger than the average teen and he is still fast with the disarms. He advocated non-smoking, non-drinking, non-violence, and respect to one’s fellow men.

He was very loving to his wife and children, having not hurt them even once. He was supportive of them and took care of their needs and problems. Together with his wife, GM Ferrer raised their children well. He was a deeply religious man who did not fail to meet his Sabbath duty.

GM Ferrer was survived by his wife, Margarita Briones Ferrer, their children Freddie B. Ferrer and Monina V. Ferrer, Dominador B. Ferrer Jr. and Marlyn Abella, and Jimmy Ilano and Nora F. Ilano, grandchildren Ernie John V. Ferrer and Rachel D. Ferrer, Jimmy F. Ilano Jr. and Ma. Lourdia N. Ferrer, Gilbert A. Ferrer and Mary Ann Ferrer, Ma. Luisa Ferrer, Kenneth A. Ferrer and Claudine L. Ferrer, Christopher Ferrer, Katherine Ferrer, John Wilfred Ferrer, Jaynor F. Ilano and Jenilyn Ilano, and Elijah Ilano, and great grandchildren Jillian Ilano, Angela, Zoe Gilbert Ferrer, and Angelo Ilano.

Ferrer was born to Eduardo Ferrer, a farmer, and Catalina Dionson on November 25, 1920 in Bacolod City . The young Ferrer had his education at Mabini Elementary School and was a freshman at the Negros Occidental High School (NOHS) before quitting school. He worked at the printing house of his grandfather, Esteban Alemares. The printing skills he would learn from his grandfather would prove to be an asset to Filipino resistance in Negros against the Japanese in World War II.




On September 1, 1939, Hitler invaded Poland and later Norway , Denmark , Holland , Luxemburg, Belgium, France, and England . Japan , Germany ’s ally, started invading China and Indo-China. With chaos erupting in the Pacific, the Philippines rushed and intensified the military training of the youth. Men from all walks of life flocked to the military headquarters volunteering for combat service.

Grandmaster Dominador “Doming” D. Ferrer was one of these men. At the age of 20, he stood strong with the physique of a bodybuilder, having pumped iron during his teens. He and the others were supposed to be transported to Camp Murphy in Manila for training but the schedule did not push through. Instead, they were trained in Magallon (now Moises Padilla).

On December 8, 1941, 2:30 A.M. (December 7, 1941, 7:55 A.M. US time), the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the mightiest US naval base in Hawaii , and a few hours later, attack to the Philippines started with Davao City . The Philippines was dragged into World War II as an ally of America .

The United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) had 100,000 Filipino soldiers in addition to its American combatants. Many Arnisadores/Eskrimadores were drafted into the USAFFE to fight the Japanese. The late Grandmasters Honorio C. Togle (Togle Style Modern Arnis) and Benito Agui (Bayoneta Carada) were reportedly some of these men while Grandmaster Jose D. Aguilar (Oido de Caburata) served as an intelligence agent.

On May 6, 1942, Corregidor fell and nearly 12,000 Filipinos and Americans were taken prisoners. The following day, Gen. Wainswright was forced to read over Radio KZRH an order to all forces under his command throughout the archipelago to surrender to the Japanese. The group where Ferrer belonged did not surrender but was disbanded and they were ordered to go home.

With the surrender of Maj. Gen. William F. Sharp Jr. on May 10, 1942, the Philippines had fallen to the Japanese as far as the American forces in the archipelago were concerned. But many Filipinos refused to surrender and went to the mountains to continue the war as guerillas. Lt. Liberato Montañes, Lt. Agustin Paraiso, and Lt. Lorenzo Dilag organized a guerilla movement in Negros . Ferrer joined them fled to the mountains of Calatrava and San Carlos to continue the fight.

Also among those who fled to the mountains of San Carlos(?) were Grandmasters Guillermo and Juan Yasay (Yasay Sable). They brought with them whatever amount of rice from their bodega that they can bring and burn what’s left so the Japanese can’t make use of them. GM Juan would go on to do guerilla work, swimming the Bago River to relay information to resistance fighters.

Ferrer, because of his printing skills and experience, was assigned in the Finance Department of the guerilla movement and together with Juanito De La Cruz, headed the printing of emergency notes. It was there that he met his future wife, Margarita L. Briones (b: July 20, 1927), the daughter of Principal Francisco Briones of Toledo , Cebu and School Teacher Jacinta Losaria of Lambunao, Iloilo . Briones was a sorter and checker of the emergency notes printed by the guerilla movement.

In 1944, the uncle of Margarita who was a judge wed Ferrer and Briones in the mountains of San Carlos . The couple was married 3 more times at the San Carlos Church , Bata Church , and University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos (UNO-R) Chapel. They had three children.

fter the war, the Ferrer couple settled in Bacolod City and Ferrer was employed as a lineman and installer with the Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) in November 1948 in Silay City . Later, he was assigned to Bacolod where he held another position. He retired from PLDT in 1980 and enjoyed the remaining 27 years of his life. His wife, Margarita Briones Ferrer, on the other hand was employed as a school teacher at the Bata Elementary School .


Grandmaster Dominador “Doming” D. Ferrer of Bacolod City (1920-2007) started his journey in the martial arts in October 1959, when he was 39 years old. He enrolled at the Lapu-Lapu Viñas Arnis Aficionados Association under the late Founder/Great Grandmaster Jose “Joe” Lamayo Viñas (1906-1991).


Ferrer trained diligently under his teacher in the art of stickfighting, bladework, and most especially, disarming. The motto of the founder was “We Defend.” Ferrer would live and preach this motto when he himself started his own school and up to his last breathe. Ferrer’s contemporaries included among others Joe Kam, the late Santiago “Tiaging” Tolentino, and Digoy Guanzon (who all went on to become grandmasters in their own rights).

GGM Viñas was never fond of demonstrating in public so Ferrer represented him during exhibitions. GM Ferrer took pride in representing his teacher in many events, among them 5 demonstrations at the Cebu Coliseum (2 times), Southwestern University , Far Eastern University , and University of the Visayas, all in Cebu . Master Ferrer showed his disarming prowess at the 2nd National Eskrima (Arnis) Championships held by the National Arnis Association of the Philippines (NARAPHIL) on March 16, 1985 in Cebu City .


Ferrer’s crowning glory came when he was awarded his mastership in Lapu-Lapu Viñas Arnis by GGM Viñas on April 20, 1979 in Bacolod City after 20 years of continuous and dedicated practice.

Master Ferrer was recognized as an Arnis Grandmaster by the newly formed Negros Occidental Arnis Federation (NOAF) during the 4th National Arnis Tournament and Festival on July 26-27, 1986 at the West Negros College Gym. His certificate was signed by then NARAPHIL Visayas Region Commissioner Atty. Grandmaster Dionisio A. Cañete, NOAF President Jerson “Nene” Tortal, and Committee on Award Chairman Judge Grandmaster Demosthenes Magallanes. He also served as a judge during the tournament.
Incidentally, it was in this tournament that Original Filipino Tapado was demonstrated for the third time in Bacolod City . OFT is an indigenous long stick fighting art founded by the late Grandmaster Romeo “Nono C. Mamar in 1960 in Brgy. Taloc, Bago City . Before being publicly shown, the art was already polished through non-padded challenge matches that often left challengers badly injured.

Several members of the Lapu-Lapu Viñas Arnis Aficionados Association (LVAAA), like many other Arnisadores, realized the power and uniqueness of OFT and joined the Original Filipino Tapado Long Stick Fighting Association (then not yet registered with the SEC) to learn the art. GMs Ferrer, Tolentino, Kam, and Tortal and Master Instructor Joe V. Tan were among them.

Lapu-Lapu Viñas Arnis GM Dominador “Doming” D. Ferrer was conferred his Junior Instructor rank in Original Filipino Tapado by GM Mamar on December 30, 1988 and his Senior Instructor degree on May 28, 1989.

When GGM Viñas passed away in 1991, it was the only time when GM Ferrer started his own school, which was named after a legendary Malay Datu in Panay and highly influenced by the Lapu-Lapu Viñas Arnis philosophy of defense. The name of his school was Kalantiaw Defense Society (KDS). Whereas some laid claim to succession to Lapu-Lapu Viñas Arnis upon the founder’s death, GM Ferrer went his own way and never got involved in the struggle for succession.

On December 30, 2003, Headmaster Wilson “Nonong” E. Viñas, the son of the founder, conferred to GM Ferrer a 10th degree ranking in Lapu-Lapu Viñas Arnis, making him the first to be promoted to such high rank by a lineage holder. The same rank is recognized by the Intercontinental Federation of Filipino Martial Arts Schools (IFFMAS) of Master Elmer V. Montoyo. GM Ferrer is also recognized as a grandmaster of the Negros Occidental Baston Federation (NOBF) of Atty. Grandmaster Marcelo C. Jalandoon.

GM Ferrer taught Old Style Lapu-Lapu Viñas Arnis, characterized by a left side lead and a general absence of a numbered or named patterns. Several of Headmaster Wilson “Nonong” E. Viñas’ students, who consisted the core group of the Conceptual Martial Arts Society (CMAS), Inc., also sought out GM Ferrer for further instructions when HM Viñas retired from active teaching in 1998.

He served as Arnis Training Director for Bantay Bayan under Regional Director Rudy Toledo. At a certain point in time, he had also taught hand to hand defensive tactics to the Philippine Army in Negros .

GM Ferrer is a Council of Elders member of CMAS, IFFMAS, and LVAAA and is a board director for NOBF and OFTLSFA, Inc.

GM Ferrer was conferred with the Most Disciplined Award by the Red National Judo Karate Jujitsu Association (Red Najukaju-A) during its Open Martial Arts Competition Festival on August 22, 1992 at the Bacolod Arts, Youth, and Sports (BAYS) Center Gym, San Juan St., Bacolod City.

GM Ferrer was recognized for his “Outstanding Propagation of Arnis in Bacolod City ” by officials of Purok Macanpiña during the 1st Purok Macanpiña Martial Arts Expo on August 28, 2004 at the Purok Macanpiña Basketball Court , Brgy. 6, Bacolod City . CMAS, IFFMAS, and OFTLSFA recognized him as “The Oldest Living Grandmaster of Lapu-Lapu Viñas Arnis in the World.”

As far as recorded, GM Ferrer had demonstrated his art in Bacolod , Bago, Don Salvador Benedicto, Himamaylan, San Carlos , Talisay, and Victorias among others. In the early part of the 2000s, GM Ferrer was assisted by Instructor Romy Berlanas in demonstrations and then by this writer, Joeffrey S. Deriada, and Francis Stephen A. Diaz, all his students, from 2003 to 2007.

GM Ferrer was one of the featured instructors for the 1st Bacolod Lapu-Lapu Viñas Arnis Open Seminar (February 23, 2003) and the 1st Martial Arts Renaissance for Negros Seminar Tour “Conflict Neutralization for L’Fisher Hotel Security Force” (June 22-23, 2004), both in Bacolod City .

GM Ferrer appeared in an episode of Reflections hosted by his student Atty. Juanito Amihan which aired over Negros Progress Channel and also guested at Jerel S. Sombilla’s Bombo Sports and Physical Fitness over DyWB Radio Bombo. GM Ferrer had been publicized by this writer in many issues of local newspapers and some issues of the internationally circulated martial arts magazine Rapid Journal.


Grandmaster Dominador “Doming” D. Ferrer (1920-2007) snatches knives, sticks, sanggots, blades, and other weapons with ease but yet he never advocated violence and hurting other people. He liked disarming because it’s a good way to deter an assailant from further aggression but leaves one with enough control if in case he continues.

He is a firm believer in living a peaceful life. He always reminded his students that the Filipino Martial Art (FMA) Arnis or Escrima should only be used in the protection in one’s or one’s loved ones’ lives. He lived by Jesus Christ’s Golden Rule.

He supported Arnis tournaments because he believed that it was an avenue where the youn practitioners can test their skills and distance them from drugs through sports. However, he would like to retain his art for its combative value. He believed that as one ages one’s proficiency in sportive FMA decreases while efficiency in combative FMA can relatively be maintained with a little more ease.

He was such a loyal practitioner of warrior arts that even when he was already a grandmaster himself, he still thinks highly of his teachers, GMs Jose “Joe” L. Viñas (Lapu-Lapu Viñas Arnis) and Romeo “Nono” C. Mamar (Original Filipino Tapado). In his own words, “without them, I wouldn’t be here.”

GM Ferrer was always humble and did not speak ill of other Arnisadors. For him, what one does goes back to him. He advocated the respect of one’s fellow man.

GM Ferrer made his disarming and control techniques work by using the conceptual foundation of Lapu-Lapu Viñas Arnis, among them the proper use of the body weight, minimal movements, and attacking the opponent’s weakness.
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Grandmaster Dominador “Doming” D. Ferrer had taught a good number of students in his lifetime among them former Bacolod Councilor Atty. Juanito Amihan, American university Professor and FMA Master Ronald A. Harris, and Francis Stephen A. Diaz. However, he only promoted 4 people to Master in Arnis: Romy Berlanas of Kalantiaw Defense Society (KDS), Rey Aguilar, Jun-Jun Maravilla of Original Filipino Tapado Long Stick Fighting Association (OFTLSFAI), and James U. Sy Jr. of Conceptual Martial Arts Society (CMAS), Inc. Hopefully these people and his other students will continue the legacy of GM Ferrer for the future generations.
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