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

 

 

 

9 DAYS LEFT ON GOODREADS GIVEAWAY OF THE IRON BUTTERFLY

9 DAYS TO GO ON GOODREADS GIVEAWAY

The Iron Butterfly Cover

Book: The Iron Butterfly

Author: Rosalinda R Morgan

Giveaway ends in: 9 days

Availability: 4 copies available

Giveaway dates: Jun 12 – Sep 10, 2015

Countries available: US

The Iron Butterfly is a gripping tale about the intense devotion and ordeal of Regina Buendia, a young mother who suddenly finds herself all alone and penniless with nine young children to support after her husband died in the pre-WWII era. Facing a bleak future, she has to find a way to tackle a male chauvinistic society where men still rule the business world. Will she be able to break through the barrier?

As the Great Depression affected the colonies, she is now faced with new concern – how to survive with business suffering and money being so tight. She then finds herself in a new adventure but not all is rosy. As her children grow up, she is faced with new dilemma about her children’s changing attitudes towards married life.

Just as she thinks she is getting ahead, a major natural disaster happens with terrible consequence to follow. Then her problems become insignificant compared to what was about to happen – the attack on Pearl Harbor and how the war in the Pacific affects their very existence.

An inspiring story of faith, hope and daring ambition.

The Iron Butterfly is available for purchase in paperback and Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/author/rosalindarmorgan.

THE FALL OF BATAAN

Just as Dec. 7 will be remembered as Day of Infamy, April 9 will be remembered as the The Fall of Bataan.

The American and Filipino forces fought the Japanese valiantly on Bataan for three months after the war started. Then Pres. Roosevelt ordered MacArthur off the Philippines. MacArthur reluctantly obliged, prompting him to make his famous promise of “I shall return”.

By the end of March, 1942, the plight of the defenders had become desperate. Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright notified Washington that the meager food supplies would be exhausted completely by April 15. By early April, the weak, hungry, demoralized American and Filipino troops had no fight left. By one source, 75 percent had malaria, while all suffered from malnutrition, all horses and water buffalo having been consumed. Seeing the terrible state of his troops, on April 8, Maj. Gen. Edward P. King, commander of Bataan forces, made the anguished decision to surrender. As he rode forward to meet Gen. Homma on April 9, he remembered that Gen. Robert E. Lee had surrendered at Appomattox on the same day. In contrast to the outcome of each battles, Gen. Lee’s army was defeated during the Civil War while Japan was defeated during WWII.

On April 9, 76,000 men squeezed onto the tip of Bataan peninsula officially surrendered to the Japanese. They were without food or ammunition, and malaria and dysentery were widespread. They were forced to begin marching up the peninsula which survivors later aptly named the notorious “Bataan Death March”. Many more than a thousand deaths awaited the surrendering forces as the Japanese marched them off to a prison camp. The four-day, sixty-three-mile march in ninety-five degree weather would not have been difficult for well-nourished soldiers; but for malaria-ridden, ill-fed troops, the march was brutal. The Japanese killed many prisoners who were unable to move forward. It has been estimated that upwards of 10,000 died along the way from exhaustion or atrocious brutality imposed by their Japanese captors. The suffering survivors were herded into boxcars in San Fernando in the province of Pampanga and taken to an internment camp at Capas in the province of Tarlac. Upon reaching the prison camp, untold more thousands perished for lack of food, water and medical supplies.

By Rosalinda Morgan, author “BAHALA NA (Come What May)”.

BOOK GIVEAWAYS HAVE ENDED

The giveaways for signed copies of my book, “BAHALA NA, (Come What May): A World War II Story of Love, Faith, Courage, Determination and Survival” have ended. 431 entered to win. Goodreads has selected three winners, one from each of these towns:

Boise, ID

Weymouth, MA

Baker City, OR

The winners will receive their books in a few days. If you did not win, “BAHALA NA, (Come What May): A World War II Story of Love, Faith, Courage, Determination and Survival” is available at www.amazon.com.

Learn about a young man’s obsession to meet the girl of his dream. Read about his struggle to find his way home from a faraway place after WWII starts and transportation ceases to exist. Gain insight about the Philippines, the Filipino people and how their faith helps them through life and in their fight for survival during the war. “Bahala Na”, “Leave it to God” is one dictum they cling to when they are in trouble. It is a true story that reads like historical fiction.

Rosalinda Morgan, author, “BAHALA NA (Come What May)”.

“BAHALA NA (Come What May)” – Kindle Countdown Deals

Kindle Countdown Deals for BAHALA NA (COME WHAT MAY) is set to begin on January 27, 2014 at 8:00:00 AM PST.

You can buy your Kindle copy of my book, “Bahala Na (Come What May)” at a discount price of $.99 on Monday, Jan. 27, 2014. The best deal!

The price goes up to $1.99 on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014.

On Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, the price will be $2.99.

On Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, the price goes up to $3.99, still a dollar off the regular price.

On Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, the price goes back to the regular price of $4.99.

So take advantage of the discounted price at www.amazon.com/author/rosalindarmorgan.

Learn about a young man’s obsession to meet the love of his life and his struggle after WWII starts and his life during the war. Gain insight about the Philippines and the Filipino people and how their faith helps them in their struggle through life. “Bahala Na”, “Leave it to God” is one dictum they cling to when they are in trouble.

Rosalinda Morgan, author, “BAHALA NA (Come What May)”.

KINDLE COUNTDOWN DEAL CONTINUES

Here’s is a chance for you to know about the Filipino people. Read “BAHALA NA (Come What May), a historical fiction about WWII in the Philippines and how the Filipinos keep their faith to sustain them in times of trouble. “Bahala na!” “Leave it to God!”

Kindle Countdown Deals for “BAHALA NA (Come What May)” continues.

Today, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013, you can buy your Kindle copy of my book, “BAHALA NA  (Come What May)” at a discount price of $1.99. A good deal.

Tomorrow, Thursday, Nov. 28, the price will go up to $2.99.

On Friday, Nov. 29, the price will reach to $3.99, still a dollar off the regular price.

On Saturday, Nov. 30, the price will go back to the regular price of $4.99.

Take advantage of the discounted price at www.amazon.com/author/rosalindarmorgan. Buy the Kindle copy of “BAHALA NA (Come What May)” TODAY.

BAHALA NA – KINDLE COUNTDOWN DEALS

Image

Kindle Countdown Deals for BAHALA NA (COME WHAT MAY) is set to begin today, November 26, 2013 at 8:00:00 AM PST.

You can buy your Kindle copy of my book, “Bahala Na (Come What May)” at a discount price of $.99 today,Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013. The best deal!

Tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 27, the price goes up to $1.99.

On Thursday, Nov. 28, the price will be $2.99.

On Friday, Nov. 29, the price goes up to $3.99, still a dollar off the regular price.

On Saturday, Nov. 30, the price goes back to the regular price of $4.99.

Take advantage of the discounted price at www.amazon.com/author/rosalindarmorgan.

Learn about the Philippines and the Filipino people and how their faith helps them in their struggle through life. “Bahala Na”, “Leave it to God” is their motto when they are in trouble.

Rosalinda Morgan,author

“BAHALA NA (Come What May)”.

 

BATTLE OF LEYTE GULF AND THE KAMIKAZE

After landing in Leyte on Oct. 20, 1944, General Douglas MacArthur’s troops started the drive to retake the Philippine Islands. When Gen. MacArthur returned, the guerillas were in good number. Some Filipinos went underground and joined the guerilla movement. Some joined the American troops.

A few days after the landing, one of the greatest naval battles in history began on October 23, 1944 when 64 Japanese warships engaged 216 American warships in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Fighting took place simultaneously in three areas: off Cape Engaño, off Samar, and in the Surigao Strait (south of Samar). This three-day battle, Oct. 23-25, 1944 marked the last use of battle-line formation, in which giant battleships faced and fired on each other at point-blank range.

The first and coordinated kamikaze suicide units were used by the Japanese forces on Oct. 25, 1944. Out of desperation, the Japanese pilots employed kamikaze tactics – the suicidal method of dive-bombing their enemies at the Battle at Leyte Gulf. Hoping to win the war in their favor, the Japanese planned to blow away the Allied Forces by loading planes with bombs and extra gasoline. The kamikaze planes were flown deliberately to crash into their targets. Inspite of the kamikaze tactics, the Japanese fleet was decimated at the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Kamikaze means “divine wind”. The word was used for the new Japanese suicide pilots of World War II. It recalled the legend of Ise, the wind god who had saved Japan from an enemy invasion in ancient times. This legend was based on an event that happened on Aug. 14 and 15, 1281 when Japan was saved by a famous typhoon that blew away a Sino-Mongol invasion of 3,500 ships with more than 100,000 warriors under the command of the great Kublai Khan of China to invade Japan.

 

 

Oct. 20, 1944 – Gen. Douglas MacArthur returned to the Philippines

When General Douglas MacArthur left the Philippines in March 1942, he promised “I shall return”. It was 69 years ago today that he made good his promise by returning with an invasion force. The landing, which took place at four spots along a 30-km stretch of coastline on Leyte, involved 700 vessels and 174,000 U.S. servicemen. 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!”

Gen. 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 staffs to arrange for all subsequent island landings to begin offshore so he could walk through knee-deep water onto the beach.

In honor of Gen. MacArthur’s return, I’m giving a FREE DOWNLOAD of “BAHALA NA (Come What May) at Kindle Lending Library on Oct. 20.

Copyright © 2013. By Rosalinda R Morgan, author of “BAHALA NA (Come What May”.

All rights reserved. Oct. 20, 1944 – Gen. Douglas MacArthur returned to the Philippines

BAUAN CATHEDRAL IN BAUAN, BATANGAS

During the Spanish regime, the Spaniards tried to Christianize the Filipinos and they built great churches during their more than three hundred years regime in thePhilippines. The church in Bauan, Batangas has a long history.

The first church of Bauan was not located at the present site. Since the Mission of Bauan was a visita of Taal, the first church was built along the southern shores of Taal Lake in a place called Tambo. Bauan Parish was founded on May 17, 1590 as Luman Bauang and became an independent parish on May 12, 1596.

Since its foundation, the Bauan Parish has been relocated three times. To escape the violent eruptions of Taal Volcano, another church was built in 1667 by Fr. Jose Rodriguez in a place called Durungao, then relocated later to Loual in 1671 by Fr. Nicolas de Rivera. Another church was built in 1692 near the sea during the administration of Fr. Simon Martinez but was damaged during the typhoon of 1694. It was rebuilt from 1695 to 1697 by Fr. Ignacio Mercado. The church was damaged again. Fr. Blas Vidal built a stone structure from 1700 to 1710.

 Fr. Jose Victoria started building the present church in 1762 and construction continued for years. Fr. Jose Trevino added the convent in 1762 and also the magnificent, hexagonal domed bell tower in 1772. Fr. Alberto Tabores installed a huge bell in the tower in 1788. The present church was built in 1848 by Fr. Manuel del Arco who put the stone fence of the atrium with wrought iron columns. The tower and the choir loft were destroyed in 1870 and were repaired in 1874 and a clock was also installed. Its façade was completed by Fr. Hipolito Huerta who also worked on the transept and was completed by Fr. Felipe Bravo in 1881. Final decorations were applied starting in 1881 under the direction of Fr. Moises Santos and continued until 1894 under Fr. Felipe Garcia.  The Bauan Cathedral was the most artistically built church in Batangas at that time. However, the church burned down during the Philippine revolution against Spain in 1898 and then completely rebuilt. However, it was destroyed by fire again in 1938. Then it was restored again.

The church houses the Holy Cross of Bauan, the patron saint of the town. The cross was found in 1595 by local natives in a place called Dingin, near Alitagtag and installed later in Bauan Cathedral.

 

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In the book “BAHALA NA (Come What May)”, this is the place where Benjamin and Adelaide were married in 1943.

 

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This is the back where the Japanese stored all the cotton harvested by the townspeople and later shipped to Japan. Sources said that the Japanese built a tunnel from the church to nearby towns.

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This is the convent and the school attached to the church mentioned in the “BAHALA NA (Come What May)” where Adelaide and her sister used to help the nuns.

 

Copyright © 2013. By Rosalinda R Morgan, author of “BAHALA NA (Come What May”.

All rights reserved. BAUAN CATHEDRAL IN BAUAN BATANGAS