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

SAMPAGUITA, The Philippine’s National Flower

Image Countries have adopted flowers as national cultural symbols. The United States has the rose; the Netherlands, the tulip; Japan, the chrysanthemum; Austria, the edelweiss and Ireland the shamrock. The Philippines have several national symbols: the carabao (water buffalo), the narra tree and sampaguita. Sampaguita or kampupot was adopted by the Philippine government as its national flower in 1934 by the then American Governor General of the Philippines, Frank Murphy, through Proclamation No. 652. Filipinos string the flowers into leis, corsages, and crowns. In warm climates, the flowers bloom all throughout the year and are produced in clusters of 3 to 12 blooms at the ends of the branches. The species name “sambac” seems to derive from “zanbaq,” the Arabic word for jasmine. The name sampaguita evolved in turn from “sambac” through the Spanish colonizers of the Philippines, where this name was common.

 Below is a conversation between Benjamin and a florist that appeared in “BAHALA NA (Come What May)” about sampaguita:

 “What a lovely scent!” Benjamin muttered. “Is that sampaguita?”\

“Yes, it is,” the florist said.

“I thought they only have one row of petals. This almost looks like a rose.”

“The plant bears either a single flower, a row of petals, or flowers with doubled petals, bundled at the top of the branches and look like small white roses and are exceptionally fragrant.”

Benjamin put his nose again on the bloom and asked, “Do they bloom year round?”

The single flower of sampaguita blooms year round, has white, small, dainty, star-shaped blossoms, which open at night and wilt in less than a day and has a distinct sweet fragrance. It does not bear seed, so it is propagated through cuttings. The Philippines have different domestic species of jasmine growing wildly.”

“How long have they been around? I always remember seeing them everywhere I go.”

“Sampaguita was believed to have come from the Himalayan region during the 17th century. Sampaguita has taken root in the Philippine folklore and religious rites.”

Sampaguita or jasminum sambac, the Philippine’s national flower, is a subtropical evergreen creeping vine reaching up to 2 to 10 ft tall and very fragrant and is used extensively at Flores de Mayo as a garland and in arrangement. It is mentioned in many legends, stories and songs. It symbolizes a whole series of virtues: fidelity, purity, devotion, strength and dedication.

Benjamin looked around, seeing there were no customers around, put on his beguiling smile and asked, “Isn’t there a legend about sampaguita?”

“Yes, there is and it is fascinating.”

“Tell me. I would love to hear it.” He looked around again and still there was no customers yet except him.

“Gladly. Since we are not busy yet, why not.”

The florist began…

There was this young beautiful princess called Lakambini and after her wise father died, she had to take over his kingdom. But she did not know how to govern and there was a danger that the kingdom would be invaded by the neighboring rulers. She fell in love with a young unselfish prince, Lakan Galing, from another kingdom who was ready to defend her kingdom against the invaders. On a hill above the sea when the moon was bright and full, they both embraced each other and promised to love thru eternity. “Sumpa kita.” I promise you.

Lakan Galing was not satisfied with just watching and guarding the kingdom of the princess. He wanted to pursue the enemies. “If the enemy does not come, then I will seek them.” He left with his men on his ships and looked for the enemies. Lakambini was anxious for his return. Every day she went to the hill looking out to sea to find if her love was coming back. However, she waited and waited in vain. Lakan Galing never returned.

A short time later, she died of a broken heart. On her deathbed, she asked to be buried on the top of the hill where she always waited for him. Shortly thereafter, a vine with small white, pearl-like blossoms grew on her grave with a very sweet fragrance. When the moon was full, the leaves rustling in the wind echoed the word of the princess, “Sumpa kita.” The flower was then called sampaguita. This is what the people saw ever after during the month of May.

“That was very sad but totally romantic. I love it. Thank you for telling me about the legend.” Benjamin sighed and bent his head and smelled the flower one more time. He thought of the lady in his wallet.

“You’re welcome. Maybe you might want to buy your girlfriend a plant.”

“I wish I can. I’m sorry. I have no girlfriend. None yet anyway.”

“I can’t believe it. You better get to work on that one.”

Benjamin smiled and waved goodbye.

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

All rights reserved.   SAMPAGUITA, The Philippine’s national flower

 

 

Collaborate, Collaborator, Collaboration, Collaborationism

According to my 1983 Webster Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary , collaborate came from the word collaboratus (Late Latin), with a past participle of collaborare meaning to labor together, from Latin  com-+ laborare to labor. Collaborate means 1. to work jointly with others or together exp. in an intellectual endeavor. 2. to cooperate with or willingly assist an enemy of one’s country and esp. an occupying force. 3. to cooperate with an agency or instrumentality with which one is not immediately connected.  Collaborationism is the advocacy or practice of collaboration with an enemy.

The 1933 version of the Oxford English Dictionary listed only one definition for collaborate: “To work in conjunction with another or others, to co-operate; esp, in a literary or artistic production, or the like.” In those days, when one thought of collaboration, what came to mind was Gilbert and Sullivan. In the 1972 supplement of that dictionary, a second definition appeared – “To co-operate traitorously with the enemy”. The word had been used in that way since World War II.

The first definition both at Oxford English Dictionary and at Webster New Collegiate Dictionary is obviously inappropriate for books written about war in the Philippines. The other definitions are similar, but, a little different. The OED definition uses the word traitorously, and is rather restrictive. It refers only to those whose cooperation is traitorous; hence, it does not apply to those whose cooperation falls short of traitorous behavior. Webster’s definition is also restrictive in a different way. By using the words usu. willingly, Webster’s is making a judgment about attitude – a judgment that the OED does not appear to make. One can, after all, act traitorously but feel otherwise.

In my book, “BAHALA NA, (Come What May)”, I used the definition meaning simply to cooperate with the enemy.

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

All rights reserved. Collaborate, Collaborator, Collaboration, Collaborationism