Batangas Province During The Spanish Regime

Batangas is always home to me.

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Map of Batangas Province – Photo Credit – Wikipedia by Roel Balingit

Large centers of population already thrived in Batangas before the Spaniards arrived. Native settlements lined the Pansipit River, a major waterway near Taal Lake.

Batangas first came to be known as Bombon. It was named after Taal Lake, which was also originally called Bombon. Some of the earliest settlements in Batangas were established in the vicinity of Taal Lake.

In 1570, an expedition led by Spanish conquistadores Juan de Salcedo and Martin de Goiti explored the coast of Batangas on the way from Panay to Manila. Salcedo was wounded in the foot by a poisoned arrow during a skirmish with the natives on the Pansipit River. However, the Bombon inhabitants were easily subdued. As Jose Rizal pointed out, “The people, accustomed to the yoke, did not defend their chiefs from the invader. . . The nobles, accustomed to…

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The Provisional Recon Platoon – Spearhead of the Los Banos Raid

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Terry Santos – Photo Credit – The History Channel

I was just reading Pacific Paratrooper’s blog by GP Cox when I saw the farewell salutes. One of them is Terry Santos. I remember the name from the Los Baños rescue mission. I searched my archives and I saw this article by Terry Santos himself about that raid. I’m reprinting it in his memory.

Two major battlefield events took place in the Pacific during the month of February 1945. The first, and most publicized, was the invasion of Iwo Jima by the U.S. Marine Corps and the subsequent raising of the American Flag on top of Mount Suribachi on February 23rd. The second less known and less publicized action, took place at an internment camp near Los Banos, Luzon, in the Philippine Islands. In as much as this memorable event may have been underpublicized, or even overlooked by historians, it was…

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Sept. 2, 1945

Seventy-five years ago today, Japan surrenders, bringing an end to WWII. This post was originally posted at https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/japan-surrenders

Japanese foreign affairs minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signs the Japanese Instrument of Surrender aboard the USS Missouri as General Richard K. Sutherland watches, September 2, 1945 – Photo Credit: Army Signal Corps photographer LT. Stephen E. Korpanty – Naval Historical Center 

Aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Japan formally surrenders to the Allies, bringing an end to World War II.

By the summer of 1945, the defeat of Japan was a foregone conclusion. The Japanese navy and air force were destroyed. The Allied naval blockade of Japan and intensive bombing of Japanese cities had left the country and its economy devastated. At the end of June, the Americans captured Okinawa, a Japanese island from which the Allies could launch an invasion of the main Japanese home islands. U.S. General Douglas MacArthur was put in charge of the invasion, which was code-named “Operation Olympic” and set for November 1945.

The invasion of Japan promised to be the bloodiest seaborne attack of all time, conceivably 10 times as costly as the Normandy invasion in terms of Allied casualties. On July 16, a new option became available when the United States secretly detonated the world’s first atomic bomb in the New Mexico desert. Ten days later, the Allies issued the Potsdam Declaration, demanding the “unconditional surrender of all the Japanese armed forces.” Failure to comply would mean “the inevitable and complete destruction of the Japanese armed forces and just as inevitable the utter devastation of the Japanese homeland.” On July 28, Japanese Prime Minister Kantaro Suzuki responded by telling the press that his government was “paying no attention” to the Allied ultimatum. U.S. President Harry S. Truman ordered the devastation to proceed, and on August 6, the U.S. B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing an estimated 80,000 people and fatally wounding thousands more.

After the Hiroshima attack, a faction of Japan’s supreme war council favored acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration, but the majority resisted unconditional surrender. On August 8, Japan’s desperate situation took another turn for the worse when the USSR declared war against Japan. The next day, Soviet forces attacked in Manchuria, rapidly overwhelming Japanese positions there, and a second U.S. atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese coastal city of Nagasaki.

READ MORE: Hiroshima, Then Nagasaki: Why the US Deployed the Second A-Bomb

Just before midnight on August 9, Japanese Emperor Hirohito convened the supreme war council. After a long, emotional debate, he backed a proposal by Prime Minister Suzuki in which Japan would accept the Potsdam Declaration “with the understanding that said Declaration does not compromise any demand that prejudices the prerogatives of His Majesty as the sovereign ruler.” The council obeyed Hirohito’s acceptance of peace, and on August 10 the message was relayed to the United States.

Early on August 12, the United States answered that “the authority of the emperor and the Japanese government to rule the state shall be subject to the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers.” After two days of debate about what this statement implied, Emperor Hirohito brushed the nuances in the text aside and declared that peace was preferable to destruction. He ordered the Japanese government to prepare a text accepting surrender.

In the early hours of August 15, a military coup was attempted by a faction led by Major Kenji Hatanaka. The rebels seized control of the imperial palace and burned Prime Minister Suzuki’s residence, but shortly after dawn the coup was crushed. At noon that day, Emperor Hirohito went on national radio for the first time to announce the Japanese surrender. In his unfamiliar court language, he told his subjects, “we have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is insufferable.” The United States immediately accepted Japan’s surrender.

WATCH: Japan Surrenders 

President Truman appointed MacArthur to head the Allied occupation of Japan as Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers. For the site of Japan’s formal surrender, Truman chose the USS Missouri, a battleship that had seen considerable action in the Pacific and was named after Truman’s native state. MacArthur, instructed to preside over the surrender, held off the ceremony until September 2 in order to allow time for representatives of all the major Allied powers to arrive.

On Sunday, September 2, more than 250 Allied warships lay at anchor in Tokyo Bay. The flags of the United States, Britain, the Soviet Union, and China fluttered above the deck of the Missouri. Just after 9 a.m. Tokyo time, Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signed on behalf of the Japanese government. General Yoshijiro Umezu then signed for the Japanese armed forces, and his aides wept as he made his signature.

Supreme Commander MacArthur next signed, declaring, “It is my earnest hope and indeed the hope of all mankind that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past.” Ten more signatures were made, by the United States, China, Britain, the USSR, Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands and New Zealand, respectively. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz signed for the United States. As the 20-minute ceremony ended, the sun burst through low-hanging clouds. The most devastating war in human history was over.

Food for Thought – Why the Philippines have Ineffective Government Leadership

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Ayala Avenue, Makati
Photo Credit – Patrickroque01@English Wikipedia

A friend of mine, Benjamin R. Punongbayan, the founder of Punongbayan and Araullo, one of the largest accounting firms in the Philippines and founder of Buklod National Political Party, spoke at a virtual book launching event recently. He gave some insights on why the Philippines have an ineffective government leadership.

The Philippine government, being run by mostly the oligarchs of the country, is part of the problem. Ben Punongbayan, in his speech, offers some suggestions on how to fix the country’s problems. For those who still maintain ties with the Philippines, you’ll find his solutions commendable. Time will tell whether he is right in his vision for the country.

Poverty in the Philippines – Photo Credit – Phil. Star

Since I have been out of the country for so long, I have to admit that I have no idea about…

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National Aviation Day – Aug. 19, 2020

B-17 Chino Air Show 2014 – Photo Credit – Wikimedia

This poem is part of “We Swoop at Dawn” and written by a pilot from Jay Zeamer’s old 22nd Bomb Group. The poem had been copied and passed around to airmen in theater, many of whom flew with it stuffed into a pocket of their boilersuits. The poem went on for 18 more stanzas and included the line “We’ll all go to town and get drunk as a skunk.”

No matter how many missions a man may fly,

He never gets over being afraid to die.

It’s a funny feeling, hard to explain,

You tighten all up from your toes to your brain

Your stomach’s all empty, and your face feels drawn.

When you hear the old cry, “WE SWOOP AT DAWN.”

But the men who went out into the morning cold

Thought not of medals and heroes bold.

Most likely they thought of their girls and their homes

And the hell they’d give those yellow gnomes

For causing the war, the pain, and the strife,

And for taking away the best years of their life.

I salute all the airmen past and present! You did a wonderful service to our country.

You can read the complete poem at International Historical Research Associates. Here is the link.

https://airwarworldwar2.wordpress.com/2017/09/29/we-swoop-at-dawn/

Batangas’ Ancient History

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Ancient Jewelry

Because of their geographical position between southern China and Melanesia, the Philippines have marked importance for many aspects of Oceanic prehistory. By Southeast Asian standards, they are fairly well-studied archaeologically, and this situation is partly due to a half-century of research carried out by Henry Otley Beyer (1883-1966), an American archaeologist.

Beyer showed in his studies that the early Batangueños had a special affinity with the precious stone known as the jade. He named the Late Paleolithic Period (old stone age, about 2.5 million years ago to about 9600 BC) of the Philippines as the Batangas Period in recognition of the multitude of jade found in the excavated caves in the province. In the Philippines, “hand-axes” are reported from Batangas Province in south-central Luzon as far back as the Upper Pleistocene Period (c. 150,000 to 10,000 years ago).

The Late Neolithic (new stone age, about 9000 BC to 3000 BC)…

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The Wreck of the IJN Chokai

It’s sad to see a great ship sunk with plenty of men on board but they were the enemy. The Battle at Leyte Gulf was one great battle in WWII and Taffy 3 outfought and outlasted the mightly Imperial Japanese Navy. Great Post, GP.

Pacific Paratrooper

IJN Chokai, 1942 -by: Paul Wright

Chokai was the last of the four-strong Takao class of heavy cruisers built for the Imperial Japanese Navy in the late 1920s. Imperial Japanese designers worked for several years under the restrictions of the Washington Naval Treaty to make warships that were superior in quality to their American and British opponents, but the tonnage limitations imposed by the treaty made designs that would satisfy the General Staff almost impossible.

In WWII,  Chokai participated in several of the early operations in Southeast Asia, including convoy escort, assisting in the Hunt for Force Z, and the destruction of ABDA forces.

In March 1942, the IJN made a raid into the Indian Ocean with impressive results. The British aircraft carrier HMS Hermes, the heavy cruisers Cornwall and Dorsetshire, and the destroyers Tenedos and Vampire were all sunk. Additionally, several ports were raided on the…

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In Memoriam – Matthew Morgan – Jan. 5, 1927 – May 4, 2020

Matt on the Great South Bay
Matt on board the Lauren Kristy, a paddle wheel boat at the Great South Bay, Long Island on one of his friend’s wedding anniversary parties.

It is with sadness that I announce the passing of Matthew Morgan on Monday, May 4, 2020. He was 93. He is survived by his wife, Rosalinda Morgan and their two sons, Matthew R. Morgan and Alexander R. Morgan and a daughter by his first marriage, Marianna Paolini and three grandchildren, Nina Paolini, Beth Paolini and Claire Paolini.

Matt was born in New York City to Robert W. Morgan and Carol Kobbé Morgan, daughter of Gustave Kobbé, an opera critic for the New York Herald Tribune and author of Kobbé Opera Book. He was named after his great uncle, Matthew Morgan, first minister to Russia. He grew up on the Long Island South Shore, in East Islip, NY. After he married the second time, he moved to the Long Island North Shore, in Oyster Bay, NY.

At age 8, he went to boarding school at Malcolm Gordon School in Garrison, NY and then to prep school at Storm King School in Cornwall on Hudson, NY. Upon high school graduation, he enlisted with the U.S. Navy and served on U.S.S. Fiske for three years. After the war, he went to Harvard University, Class of 1950 and then to New York University where he obtained his MBA in Finance.

He worked on the floor of the American Stock Exchange, and then the New York Stock Exchange as a floor broker. After 25 years on Wall Street, he got tired commuting and went on to become a tax accountant.

He loved the water and his family always had a boat when he was growing up. He loved cruising on his boat on the Great South Bay. His last boat was Alice V., a 45-ft clam boat, now on exhibit at the Long Island Maritime Museum in West Sayville, NY. He was well-traveled and loved to read. He was the only person Linda knows that read the whole series of The Story of Civilization by Will Durant, all 11 volumes.

Matt was not a rich man but possessed great wisdom, rich in character and integrity. He was a great disciplinarian to his sons, very strict with their upbringing and their school activities and taught the boys excellent work ethics. Linda remembers the time when in elementary school, he told the boys’ teacher that if they misbehaved in school, they were authorized to punish them. In high school, all their tests had to be countersigned by the parents and so Matt will read them and signed off with comments to take points off if their spelling and grammar were wrong. You could hear the boys said, “Dad!” “They had to follow grammar rules, not just in English class! It’s the only way, they’ll learn how to speak correctly.” At home, table manners were important at family meals. He reminded the boys all the time to sit up straight, no elbows on the table and chew your food with your mouth shut. Matt was that kind of parent and it paid off in later years.

 

Alex Graduation Party
At Alex’s Graduation Party in the garden

 

He was kind and enjoyed helping others, always volunteering and very supportive of his wife in all her volunteer work, especially with the rose societies, both in New York and in Charleston. Matt took pride in their rose garden of about 200 roses in NY which was the venue of fundraising events at their Annual Ice Cream Social for 20 years in Oyster Bay. He did his part in the garden, digging the holes and Linda took over from there. He enjoyed sitting in the garden and loved the beautiful roses.

He was a member of the Sons of the Revolution (descendants of those who were in service during the American Revolution in 1775-1783) and an active officer of the East Norwich-Oyster Bay Kiwanis Club for years. He served at various school boards, from his boarding school and prep school to his children’s school boards. He was involved at their sons’ sports teams, having coached his sons’ winning teams. He was a tough coach but they always won and the team loved him. He was the treasurer of the interreligious group in Oyster Bay, where they had toy drives and food drives during the holidays. When we left for the south, some of their friends said, “What will Oyster Bay do without the Morgans?” of which he replied, “They’ll survive!” At Whitney Lake, after they moved south, he was a member of the Finance Committee of Whitney Lake during the early years. He would be more active had it not been for the fact that he was diagnosed with Acute Kidney Disease five years ago.

He was easy-going, had a great wit, had loads of hilarious verses which he recited in unexpected moments. He possessed a quick and dry sense of humor. He was at ease in the company of both the poor and the rich and made it easy for them to talk to him. He had that infectious laugh that everyone loved. He’ll be remembered by some people as “Lou Holtz” which he had an uncanny resemblance. He even got a picture from Lou Holtz himself last year after Lou found out about Matt being mistaken for him.

Never in his life did Matt thought he’d make it to his 90s, but Matt made it to 93 and had a great run. He died a few days before their 50th wedding anniversary (May 29).

Due to coronavirus social distancing, there will be no wake. J. Henry Stuhr Funeral Home is handling his cremation and he will be buried at the Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY at a later date.

He’ll be greatly missed!

Easter Blessing from Alitagtag, Batangas

Happy Easter Everyone!

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This is my hometown church, Invencion de la Sta. Cruz Parish Church in Alitagtag, Batangas. All photos are from the church Facebook page.

Invencion de la Sta. Cruz Parish

Because of the social distancing, I watched the mass via live video from this church last night. Here is a picture of the altar.

Alitagtag Church Easter 2020 2

Here is the priest’s blessing at the end of the mass.  The church was empty except for the priest, the servers and the choir.  Beautiful mass in a magnificent setting!

Alitagtag Church Easter 2020 3

Maligayang Pasko ng Pagkabuhay to everyone!

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