When the American soldiers landed in Batangas – 1945

Batangas Map
Map of Batangas province. Way below it (the white space) is Mindoro. Alitagtag borders Taal Lake on the south side.

 

This is the continuation of the article that appeared on Pacific Paratrooper’s blog about my parent’s escape from the Japanese when the American soldiers landed in Batangas in 1945. If you have not read it yet, I advise you to go to Pacific Paratrooper’s blog first before you continue reading this article. Thanks.

 

My father was uncomfortable staying in Alitagtag because where they were hiding was not that far from the main road. It was only a mile away even though it was wooded and close to a ditch. Dad decided to take a chance and leave Alitagtag. After dark, they joined another group and moved to another location south of the main road somewhere near Bauan where my mom’s family lived. Some of the townspeople were moving to farms farther south away from the main road.

They decided to leave after dark. Dad made a papoose bag and carried me in it. Mom grabbed some clothes for us and a scarf to cover her head. They thought it would be safer where they were going because the Japanese camp was so close to Alitagtag and the Japanese might advance to Alitagtag and meet the Americans head on.  Dad’s two younger brothers joined them. They left under the cover of darkness.

As they passed the main road, they looked all around them to see if there was anyone in sight.  Nobody was around. They safely crossed the main road, went quietly through people’s yards and began their trek. It was total darkness and not a sound could be heard except their footsteps. As they reached the farm beyond the houses, there was a faint glow from the moon above. They walked at a very fast pace. Dad was leading the group as they followed a trail he knew. They headed south passing through farmland. They reached a small rise then turned east towards the place where two big mango trees, a local landmark, were and turned south again. Every so often, they would stop and listened for strange sounds. When they thought it was not a Japanese patrol, they kept their steady pace. The quiet of the field was only broken by sounds from the night owl and bats roaming the night. They kept on looking back but could not see a thing.  

They veered left through another path which would take them to Bauan. This time, the moon disappeared behind the cloud. Everything around them went pitch black.  They slowed down their trek, trying to listen to any noise or movement. They had to be alert to any possible danger. They found a clearing and rested for a while. They might have dozed for an hour. Then they saw the moon begin peeking through the clouds again. They decided to move on. They kept on walking that seemed like forever. They reached Bauan as the dawn was coming up.

They went straight to their Ninong sa Kasal’s (wedding sponsor) house near Bauan town market. The town was still quiet. Not a soul was up yet. They knocked at the door. The mayordomo opened the door. Dad asked if his godfather was home but was told he left with his family for Mindoro where it’s safe.

“I’m not sure it’s safe anywhere anymore. The Japanese are killing civilians now, not just soldiers and guerillas. Are you staying here?” Dad asked. The old man told Dad they were leaving town soon and would go into hiding.  

“I think you should leave now and go to some remote barrio where the Japanese do not venture at all,” Dad told the mayordomo.

Dad decided to move on and find my mother’s family. They went to Asis, a small barrio between Alitagtag and Bauan far from the main road where my maternal grandmother and uncles were hiding. My maternal grandfather died when Mom was five years old.

They were only at Asis a few days when they noticed a black cloud coming from the west. From where they stood, they could not see the flame but it was definitely a big fire. They saw black smoke shooting up to the sky coupled with bright light on the horizon. They had the suspicion that the Japanese started burning some areas. Dad was worried about his parents who were hiding in Alitagtag. He hoped the fire was not there. Mom thought of her aunt and her aunt’s family who were hiding near Taal at a sugar cane field.

Dad told Mom he had to go back to Alitagtag to make sure his parents were OK.

“What about your brothers?” She asked.

“They are staying with you and the baby. You’ll all be safe here. Take care of the baby in case I don’t come back.”

Dad walked back to Alitagtag. He followed the same path he did a few nights before. It took him all day. He could smell the smoke as he was getting closer to the main road in Alitagtag but it looked like it was coming from the northwest of where his parents were. The air was gray with smoke. He crossed the main road and it was empty. Nobody was around. Looking right and left, he ran across the street beyond the houses and into the fields. So far he had not encountered any Japanese soldier.

He reached the area where his parents were hiding. His parents were glad to see him. He found out everything was fine there except the Japanese started burning the villages from Muzon about two kilometers from where they were all the way to Taal in retaliation for their losses in Muzon.

Filipino Guerillas – Photo Credit – Pinterest

Apparently, the Philippine guerillas in Batangas, a ferocious looking group of Batanguenos, ran into a group of Japanese soldiers a few days ago. A fierce skirmish with the Japanese soldiers ensued at the junction of Alitagtag and Muzon. The fight ended with some Japanese casualties. The Japanese thought the revolutionaries came from Taal so they set fire to all the houses from Muzon all the way to Taal.  

As the fire started to spread out, people near Taal did not think it would reach them since it started too far from where they were. But as the fire spread through several villages, people who were still in their home started scrambling and ran for their lives. They went running to the sugar cane fields away from the main road. They joined some villagers who were already hiding there. But the Japanese made sure they burned the whole perimeter of all sugar cane fields including those which dotted the roadways to Taal so people had no way of escaping. They were trapped.

My grandfather told Dad to go back to Bauan and bring back his family to Alitagtag. So the next day, Dad was back on the dirt path going back to Asis to take his family back to Alitagtag. However, Mom insisted on staying for a few more weeks till everything calm down. They stayed for a couple of months until they got word that Alitagtag was now safe.

After large-scale enemy resistance in southern Luzon had collapsed, the Japanese in Batangas unleashed their brutal campaign of torture, rape and butchery against the Filipino civilians. Groups of men were rounded up and sent to a building and then the building was doused with kerosene and burned. Thousands of residents were massacred both in Lipa City and in Bauan. One of Mom’s relatives went to one of the so called “meetings” in Bauan where people were locked up in a schoolroom and then the building was doused with kerosene and set on fire. He died in that massacre.

Alitagtag was lucky to be spared the wrath of the Japanese because rumor was the Mayor was a Japanese sympathizer. Behind their back, he was also working for the Americans giving them intelligence report on where the Japanese were. There was a saying around that time, “Pilipino Tagu, Pilipino Turu” meaning Pilipino hides then Pilipino points in the other direction”. The mayor was playing both fields thereby gaining good graces from both parties.

Thanks for reading this article. My parents survived the war. Mom is still alive at 95. Dad passed away in 2007. The story was related to me by my father on their last visit to the United States before Dad died.

Rosalinda

 

 

 

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Significant Events on January 1st Throughout History

Happy New Year Photo 3

 

Throughout history, there are some significant events that happened on the first day of the year.  Here are a few of them:

1583 – 1st day of the Gregorian calendar in Holland and Flanders

1622 – Papal Chancery adopts Jan. 1 as beginning of the year

1673 – Regular mail delivery begins between New York and Boston

1772 – First traveller’s check issued (London)

1776 – General George Washington hoists the Continental Union Flag

1788 – Quakers in Pennsylvania emancipate their slaves

1797 – Albany replaces New York City as capital of NY

1808 – Congress prohibits importation of slaves

1818 – Official reopening of the White House

1847 – Michigan becomes the first state to abolish capital punishment

1852 – First U.S. public bath opens in New York City

1862 – First U.S. income tax goes into effect

1863 – Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery issued by President Lincoln

1880 – Building of Panama Canal begins

1892 – Ellis Island becomes reception center for new immigrants

1907 – Theodore Roosevelt shakes a record 8513 hands in one day

1908 – First time ball signifying new year dropped at Times Square

1913 – Post Office begins parcel post deliveries

1914 – First scheduled airline flight, from St. Petersburg to Tampa, Florida

1934 – Alcatraz officially becomes a federal prison

1942 – United Nations established

1946 – Hidden Japanese soldiers in Corregidor surrendered to the American Troops after reading from a local newspaper that the war was over.  

1960 – Johnny Cash plays first of many free concerts from behind prison bars

1968 – Evil Knievel fails in his attempt to jump the Caesar’s Palace fountain

1971 – Cigarette advertising banned on radio and television

1975 – Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell, and Mardian convicted of Washington Watergate crimes

1977 – First woman (Jacqueline Means) is formally ordained as Episcopal priest

1985 – U.S. first mandatory seat belt law goes into effect (New York)

1990 – David Dinkins is sworn in as the first black mayor of New York City

1995 – Last “Far Side” by cartoonist Gary Larson

2000 – Panama Canal handed over to Panama by the United States.

2002 – The Euro becomes the official currency for most of Europe

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!

 

Stop and Smell the Roses

Rosalinda

IMG_0868

 

 

 

 

Veteran’s Day Remembrance

Happy-Veterans-Day-Images-2017

Reblogged from last year  – Evolution of Veteran’s Day

Veteran’s Day evolved in the years following World War I, or “The Great War,” as it was known at the time.  The Great War, a war to end all wars, ended at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month in 1918 when an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect.  For that reason, Nov. 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of the war to end all wars. In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.  In 1938, Armistice Day became a legal holiday by an act of Congress.

World War I or “The Great War” officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, at the Palace of Versailles, France, when all warring powers executed a formal declaration of peace.  Fighting, however, had ceased seven months earlier when an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. 

The major players on the stage of history at this time were known as The Big Three:  President Woodrow Wilson, Prime Minister David Lloyd George of Great Britain and President Georges Clemenceau of France.  Pfc. Henry Gunther will be remembered as the last soldier to die on Nov. 11, 1918 with one minute remaining before the armistice would end all conflict.  This otherwise unknown man would charge a German machine gun encampment disregarding their attempts to wave him back, knowing that in a matter of seconds they could all leave their trenches and once again breathe the soft air of peace.  Gunther fell after a short blast of fire joining the 116,000 of his fellow American comrades that died in that war.

The last surviving U.S. World War I veteran, Frank Buckles, age 109, died in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 2011. In December 2010, he appeared before Congress to plead for the approval of a memorial to honor those American soldiers who died in the Great War.  He had enlisted at the age of 16, but his service to his country did not end there.  He also served in World War II and was captured by the Japanese, enduring the infamous Bataan Death March.  He survived three years in a Japanese prison camp, weighing only 85 pounds when he was finally liberated.

November 11 continued to be observed as Armistice Day until 1954 when, at the urging of the veterans’ organizations, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an act of Congress on June 1, 1954 formally changing the word “Armistice” to “Veterans” in order to expand the significance of that (Armistice Day) celebration and in order that a grateful nation might pay appropriate homage to the veterans of all its wars who have contributed so much to the preservation of this nation.

In 1968, Congress moved Veteran’s Day to the fourth Monday in November, but returned it to its traditional date in 1978 after heavy lobbying by veterans groups and concerned citizens, who believed that moving the observance to create a three-day holiday only served to take the focus off the historical significance of the day. The original concept for the commemoration was for a day observed with parades and public gatherings and a brief suspension of business at 11 a.m.  At New York Stock Exchange, trading stopped at 11 am for a 2-minute silence. Unfortunately, we have gotten away from that original concept, and many people look upon November 11 as simply a day off from work to relax or take advantage of store sales and forget that the reason the day was set aside was to honor our nation’s veterans.

Throughout the history of our great nation, courageous men and women have served in the armed forces to secure, defend and maintain the freedoms upon which our nation was founded.  They represent the finest in the American character who answered our country’s call during WWII, suffered through biting cold winters and scorching summers in Korea, endured booby-trapped jungles and steamy heat in Vietnam and are currently fighting in the unforgiving mountains in Afghanistan and the deserts in Iraq. They came from all walks of life, religions and ethnic backgrounds.  Right now, members of our armed forces are putting their lives on the line in the war against terrorism, and hardly a day goes by when there is not a report of one or more of these brave soldiers paying the ultimate price.  Their sacrifices have given us the freedom we enjoy today which is why we remember and salute their service.

On Nov. 11, our country honors all veterans and active duty soldiers on Veteran’s Day. We remember Henry Gunther and Frank Buckles and all those who laid down their lives in the defense of freedom and pray that our brave men and women, now serving in our armed services, return to us and lead long, safe and productive lives.

IMG_0944
Veterans’ Honor Rose growing in my garden

 

Until Next time. Stop and Smell the Roses.

Rosalinda R Morgan

Author & Garden Writer

I Have Returned

Seventy-three ago today, Gen. Douglas MacArthur said, “I have returned.”

MacArthur

Below is an excerpt from “BAHALA NA (Come What May”:

“On October 20, 1944, MacArthur landed in Leyte, fulfilling his promise to the Filipino people by wading ashore at Leyte, but the evening before the Leyte landing, MacArthur spoke through a radio transmitter announcing . . .

“People of the Philippines, I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil. . . Rally to me! Let the indomitable spirit of Bataan and Corregidor lead. . . The guidance of divine God points the way. Follow in His name to the Holy Grail of righteous victory!”

MacArthur, wearing his field marshal’s cap, sunglasses and freshly pressed khakis wanted to land on the beach but ran aground in the shallows while still 100 yards from the beach. The commander of the craft could not bring the landing craft in any closer and so an irritated MacArthur accompanied by President Osmeña and their staffs had to wade ashore. It became one of the most famous images of World War II. Upon seeing the newsreels of his landing, MacArthur was so stirred by the picture that he ordered his staff to arrange for all subsequent island landings to begin offshore so he could walk through knee-deep water onto the beach.”

 

Until Next time. Stop and Smell the Roses.

Rosalinda R Morgan

Author & Garden Writer

 

MEMORIAL DAY – A DAY OF REMEMBRANCE

Memorial Day Image 

 

 

Lest we forget, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s wars.

Established in the 1860s during the American Civil War, Memorial Day tapped into the general human need to honor our dead who have done so much to serve this great country.

Memorial Day originated in a ceremony called Decoration Day in 1868 was originally observed as a memorial by the northern states to the Union soldiers who died in the Civil War.  Memorial Day became a federal holiday in 1971 and has been an annual tribute to those who have given their lives in service to their country.  May 30th was initially designated as Memorial Day but an Act of Congress moved Memorial Day to the last Monday in May which this year is May 29.

The day has and always should be a day when we all take a moment to honor and reflect upon these men and women of the armed forces who have made the supreme sacrifice in times of wars to protect our freedom.  They perished in service to their country and for each and every man, woman, and child who calls the United States home.   

Happy Memorial Day and remember.

Evolution of Veteran’s Day

Veteran’s Day evolved in the years following World War I, or “The Great War,” as it was known at the time.  The Great War, a war to end all wars, ended at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month in 1918 when an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect.  For that reason, Nov. 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of the war to end all wars. In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.  In 1938, Armistice Day became a legal holiday by an act of Congress.

World War I or “The Great War” officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, at the Palace of Versailles, France, when all warring powers executed a formal declaration of peace.  Fighting, however, had ceased seven months earlier when an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. 

The major players on the stage of history at this time were known as The Big Three:  President Woodrow Wilson, Prime Minister David Lloyd George of Great Britain and President Georges Clemenceau of France.  Pfc. Henry Gunther will be remembered as the last soldier to die on Nov. 11, 1918 with one minute remaining before the armistice would end all conflict.  This otherwise unknown man would charge a German machine gun encampment disregarding their attempts to wave him back, knowing that in a matter of seconds they could all leave their trenches and once again breathe the soft air of peace.  Gunther fell after a short blast of fire joining the 116,000 of his fellow American comrades that died in that war.

The last surviving U.S. World War I veteran, Frank Buckles, age 109, died in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 2011. In December 2010, he appeared before Congress to plead for the approval of a memorial to honor those American soldiers who died in the Great War.  He had enlisted at the age of 16, but his service to his country did not end there.  He also served in World War II and was captured by the Japanese, enduring the infamous Bataan Death March.  He survived three years in a Japanese prison camp, weighing only 85 pounds when he was finally liberated.

November 11 continued to be observed as Armistice Day until 1954 when, at the urging of the veterans’ organizations, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an act of Congress on June 1, 1954 formally changing the word “Armistice” to “Veterans” in order to expand the significance of that (Armistice Day) celebration and in order that a grateful nation might pay appropriate homage to the veterans of all its wars who have contributed so much to the preservation of this nation.

In 1968, Congress moved Veteran’s Day to the fourth Monday in November, but returned it to its traditional date in 1978 after heavy lobbying by veterans groups and concerned citizens, who believed that moving the observance to create a three-day holiday only served to take the focus off the historical significance of the day. The original concept for the commemoration was for a day observed with parades and public gatherings and a brief suspension of business at 11 a.m.  At New York Stock Exchange, trading stopped at 11 am for a 2-minute silence. Unfortunately, we have gotten away from that original concept, and many people look upon November 11 as simply a day off from work to relax or take advantage of store sales and forget that the reason the day was set aside was to honor our nation’s veterans.

Throughout the history of our great nation, courageous men and women have served in the armed forces to secure, defend and maintain the freedoms upon which our nation was founded.  They represent the finest in the American character who answered our country’s call during WWII, suffered through biting cold winters and scorching summers in Korea, endured booby-trapped jungles and steamy heat in Vietnam and are currently fighting in the unforgiving mountains in Afghanistan and the deserts in Iraq. They came from all walks of life, religions and ethnic backgrounds.  Right now, members of our armed forces are putting their lives on the line in the war against terrorism, and hardly a day goes by when there is not a report of one or more of these brave soldiers paying the ultimate price.  Their sacrifices have given us the freedom we enjoy today which is why we remember and salute their service.

On Nov. 11, our country honors all veterans and active duty soldiers on Veteran’s Day. We remember Henry Gunther and Frank Buckles and all those who laid down their lives in the defense of freedom and pray that our brave men and women, now serving in our armed services, return to us and lead long, safe and productive lives.

 

IMG_0944

Photo: Veterans’ Honor Rose from my garden

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda Morgan, The Rose Lady

Author and Garden Writer

www.rosalindarmorgan.com

 

I shall return

Gen. Douglas MacArthur fulfilled his promise to the Filipino people that he shall return to liberate them from the Japanese on October 20, 1944.

douglas-macarthurs-return

Excerpts from BAHALA NA (Come What May)

 

On October 20, 1944, MacArthur landed in Leyte, fulfilling his promise to the Filipino people by wading ashore at Leyte, but the evening before the Leyte landing, MacArthur spoke through a radio transmitter announcing . . .

“People of the Philippines, I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil . . . Rally to me! Let the indomitable spirit of Bataan and Corregidor lead . . . The guidance of divine God points the way. Follow in His name to the Holy Grail of righteous victory!”

 

MacArthur, wearing his field marshal’s cap, sunglasses and freshly pressed khakis wanted to land on the beach but ran aground in the shallows while still 100 years from the beach. The commander of the craft could not bring the landing craft in any closer and so an irritated MacArthur accompanied by President Osmena and their staffs had to wade shore. It became one of the most famous images of World War II. Upon seeing the newsreels of his landing, MacArthur was so stirred by the picture that he ordered his staff to arrange for all subsequent island landings to begin offshore so he could walk through knee-deep water onto the beach.

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda, The Rose Lady

Rosalinda R. Morgan

Author – BAHALA NA (Come What May)