January 23, 1899 – Inauguration of the First Philippine Republic in Malolos

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Barasoain Church Bell Tower

Malolos, the provincial capital of Bulacan, was a political center in the 19th century for being the seat of government for Emilio Aguinaldo’s first Philippine Republic and Asia’s first democracy. It is the leading historical site in the province of Bulacan.

For four months in 1898-99, Malolos was the capital of the Republic. After the defeat of Spain and Aguinaldo’s declaration of independence, the tension between Filipino revolutionaries and Americans who have arrived in the country escalated. The Philippine Revolutionary government moved its capital from Bacoor, Cavite to Malolos, Bulacan where Aguinaldo and his cabinet held office in Malolos Cathedral and convent.

On September 15, 1898, Emilio Aguinaldo convened the First Philippine Congress, otherwise known as the Malolos Congress, at Barasoain Church.

Delegates to the Opening of the Malolos Congress in Barasoain Church

On January 21, 1899, the Malolos Congress ratified independence and framed the…

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Veterans Day 2020 Remembrance and Gratitude

A wonderful post remembering those who served our country. Freedom is not free!

Pacific Paratrooper

My post for this Veterans Day is dedicated to Sgt. Walter Morgan Bryant Jr., USMC; R.I.P my dear friend!

… there is an old Marine poem… it says: ‘When I get to heaven, To St. Peter I will tell, Another Marine reporting sir, I’ve served my time in hell.”         ______ Eugene Sledge, USMC veteran of Peleliu & Okinawa

For the U.S. Marine Birthday, 10 November – CLICK HERE!!

I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze
A young Marine saluted it, and then
He stood at ease.

I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He’d stand out in any crowd.

I thought, how many men like him
Had fallen through the years?
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers’ tears?

How many Pilots’ planes shot down?
How…

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Pacific War Trials – part two

Pacific Paratrooper

Courtroom spectators, Manila

The Allies also established the United Nations War Crimes Commission (the UNWCC) in 1943.  The UNWCC collected evidence on Axis war crimes and drew up lists of suspected war criminals for Allied prosecution after the war.  In 1944, a sub-commission of the UNWCC was established in Chungking to focus on the investigation of Japanese atrocities.

The major trials being held in Tokyo were presided by the U.S., Britain, Australia, the Netherlands, France, China and the Philippines and began in May 1946. General MacArthur, as supreme commander of the Allied powers, largely controlled the progress of the trials. They started with 25 defendants, but two passed away during the proceedings and another was evaluated as too mentally deficient to participate.

Hideki Tojo listening to testimonies.

Hideki Tojo was the most infamous face to symbolize Japanese aggression being that he was the Prime Minister at the time of Pearl…

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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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