feature

75th Cagayan Liberation Anniversary Feature: Maj. Jose Manuel Corrales Montalvan, 1st Camp Commander of the ‘Kampo’

May 18, 2020

Few Kagay-anons today are aware that the first camp commander of the Philippine Army’s biggest military camp in Mindanao was a Lumad (native Kagay-anon).     Major Jose Manuel Corrales Montalvan was initially assigned as Cadre Commander of the 2nd Misamis Oriental (Machine Gun) Cadre at Camp Bulua (present day Camp Edilberto Evangelista) in Cagayan, a post he served in from January 1-Dec. 31, 1939.      When the camp was renamed Camp Evangelista, then 1st Lt. Montalvan was appointed its Camp Commander and Mobilization Center Officer on January 1, 1940, a post he served up to the outbreak of World War II.      Dr. Montalvan, who was also known as Ñor Peping, was born on March 17, 1903 in present day Cagayan de Oro (then known as Cagayan de Misamis, capital town of the Segundo Distrito de Misamis, and later as Misamis, Cagayan under the American regime) to Jose Gabriel Montalvan, a retired Spanish soldier from Belmonte, Cuenca, Spain who was assigned by the Spanish government to the Philippines and Concepcion Corrales y Roa of Cagayan de Misamis.      In 1927, he was graduated with honors (3rd highest) from the Philippine Dental College, Manila with a degree of Doctor in Dental Surgery (DDS).     Upon his return to his hometown in 1928, he practiced dentistry and became one of the first teachers of the Ateneo de Cagayan (present day Xavier University) and was its Commandant of the Corps of Cadets. Dr. Montalvan was commissioned a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve in 1928, was trained and successfully completed the U.S. Army Extension Courses. From 1933 to 1937 he was the instructor for Military Science and Tactics at the Ateneo de Cagayan. However, the lure of a full-time career in the newly formed Philippine Army proved irresistible and he resigned from the U.S. Army Reserve and was commissioned as a First Lieutenant, Infantry Reserve, of the Philippine Army on July 16, 1936. He was called to active duty training at Camp Murphy Training School for Reserve Officers (Infantry), assigned as Company Commander of the training officers company, and graduated No. 5 with a general average of 90.7% in 1938. While assigned as the first camp commander of Camp Evangelista, he graduated from the School of Military Law and Courts-Martial Procedure, Camp Keithley, Lanao in 1940. Upon his induction into the U.S. Army Forces – Far East (USAFFE) on September 6, 1941, he was appointed Division Finance Officer and Division Quartermaster of the USAFEE’s 102nd Division. Later, he was appointed Division Inspector General, 102nd Division, USAFFE, with Headquarters at Tankulan, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon then promoted to Captain, Infantry, in April, 1942. Following the surrender of the USAFFE forces in Mindanao under Gen. William Sharp to the Japanese Imperial Army on May 10, 1942, Dr. Montalvan was taken as a prisoner-of-war (POW) by the Japanese and detained at the Ateneo de Cagayan campus which had been converted into a POW Camp. “During his captivity he developed polyneuritis, which caused his leg to become shorter, as a result of the hard labor he underwent in prison when he and others would carry sacks of potatoes and coffee under the rain, soaking their only clothing in their bodies,” recalls his daughter Annabel Montalvan Corrales. “One night after such experience his whole body became numb and his leg started to give him extreme pain. The doctors at that time did not know what it was but was later diagnosed as polyneuritis.” However, he successfully escaped and joined his family in Talakag, Bukidnon. He walked for days to Talakag, away from the road, because the Japanese were looking for him. Again, the rains came and soaked his clothes. When he got to Talakag he had very high fever and the polyneuritis he contracted became worse. He then proceeded to Misamis Occidental to join the guerrillas of Col. Wendell Fertig, commander of the United States Forces in the Philippines (USFIP) in Mindanao, which was made up of escaped prisoners-of-war and Filipino and American soldiers and civilians who refused to surrender to the Japanese. Between 1942 and 1944, USFIP forces raided Japanese occupation forces in Mindanao and provided valuable intelligence to the Allied forces. For his military service before and during World War II, Dr. Montalvan received the following awards and decorations: Philippine Defense Medal; American Defense Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal; Philippine Republic Unit Citation Badge and the U.S. Distinguished Unit Badge. Following his polyneuritis, Dr. Montalvan reverted to inactive status on July 11, 1946 and was promoted to the rank of Major, Infantry Reserve in January 20, 1950.  “He suffered so much under the hands of the Japanese and often got slapped for no reason,” Ms. Montalvan said. “Many years later, that Japanese that put him under hard labor came back to Cagayan de Oro to apologize to him and to others he tortured. And my dad readily accepted his apology!” He resumed his duties as a professor of Spanish at the Ateneo in 1949 and took up law at the Cagayan Law School of the Ateneo, graduating with a degree of Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) in 1953, passed the Bar exams and was admitted to the Bar in June 1954 and established a law practice. He married the former Mercedes Acero Roa of Cagayan de Oro City and with whom he had six children: Marrieta, Daisy, Annabel, Eduardo, Consuelo and Antonio. Dr. Montalvan passed away on September 21, 1978, his patriotism and service to the country and military apparently forgotten by the new generation of Kagay-anons. To rectify this situation, Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro) and Rep. Maximo B. Rodriguez, Jr. (Abante Mindanao- Party List) filed House Bill 4735 with the 15th Congress during its first regular session seeking to rename Camp Edilberto Evangelista to “Camp Jose Montalvan in honor of a Kagay-anon and Mindanaoan war hero who fought against the Japanese to protect the freedom of the Philippines.”  Camp Edilberto Evangelista in Barangay Patag, Cagayan de Oro City, is the largest military camp in Mindanao with an area of 129 hectares. It is the home base to the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division and covers the Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions. The explanatory note to the HB 4735 reads in part: “It is readily apparent that Major Montalvan is a war hero who fought against the Japanese in order to ensure that the Philippines retain its independence. He gave up the best years of his life to fight for our country. It is therefore appropriate that he be honored by renaming Camp Evangelista into Camp Jose Montalvan, in honor of a Kagay-anon who risked his life for our country.”

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Antonio Julian Montalvan: The Forgotten World War II Martyr of Cagayan

May 18, 2020

One of the perpendicular streets which links Burgos to Don Apolinar Velez streets in Cagayan de Oro City in the Philippines is named  Montalvan  but few of those traversing it or even living along it have any idea whom it is named after.     Antonio Julian Montalván y Corrales (Feb. 8, 1906 - Aug. 30, 1944) was a member of an espionage team working for the 10th  Military District under Col. Wendell W.  Fertig in Mindanao, who reported directly to Gen. Douglas MacArthur.      “He was a medical doctor, first assigned at the Misamis Provincial Hospital (now the Northern Mindanao Medical Center), then to Cebu, then Palompon in Leyte,” said his namesake and nephew local historian and columnist Antonio J. “Nono” Montalvan II. He later served as public health doctor in Iligan.     When the war began, he was the personal medic of Col. Wendell W. Fertig, head of the organized guerrilla resistance in Mindanao under the 10th Military District, United States Forces in the Philippines. He was recruited to serve as a spy by their cousin and brother-in-law Senator José Ozámiz, Nono added.     “He did intelligence work for Col Fertig,” said Nono’s brother Eduardo, who now serves as Board Chairman of the Cagayan de Oro City Water District (COWD). “Because of his familiarity with the UST Hospital, and as a Doctor, he was able to get information from patients on the movements of Japanese troops in Mindanao. The information he passed on to Col. Fertig was so vital in the guerrilla operations in  Mindanao.”     “He commuted to Manila from Mindanao by banca, going from one island to another. In one of his trips he was accompanied by Roque Ablan, Vicente Raval and Ferdinand Marcos (who was the most junior in the group) who were trying to get the assistance of the Mindanao Guerrilla Movement, “ Ed noted.     The group helped establish coastal radio relay stations in Mindanao, Visayas and Southern Luzon. Later, he became part of a Manila spy network.[1]     “His role was first to serve as courier between Manila and Mindanao. The boat would land in Pagbilao, Quezon which is just near Tayabas. Then he would proceed to Manila to get in touch with the Manila spy network (Spyron),” Nono relates.     “ He made 3 boat trips. He was about to make a 4th boat trip to Mindanao when he was captured in Tayabas. A carpenter who was doing work in the house squealed to the Japanese. He was brought to Fort Santiago, then to Bilibid,” he added.     Then newly married to Rosario Llamas, a cousin of Virginia Llamas Romulo, -- the first Mrs. Carlos P. Romulo—he was arrested by the Japanese Kempeitai in Tayabas town, in the house of his mother in-law Doña Tecla Capistrano Llamas. He was about to pack his bags for another clandestine boat trip to Mindanao.      The Japanese later detained and tortured him in Fort Santiago and at the Old Bilibid Prisons[1] in Manila.     On August 30, 1944 he was executed by decapitation with the group of Senator José Ozámiz, and the Elizalde Group of Manila which included the writer Rafael Roces and Blanche Walker Jurika, the mother in-law of guerilla leader Charles “Chick” Parsons.     The execution took place at the Manila Chinese Cemetery.     “They were executed together by decapitation. It was a large group -- about 40 of them,” Nono said. “There’s a war memorial for them at Manila North Cemetery.”     Philippine historian Ambeth Ocampo describes Montalván as a “World War II hero of Mindanao”.  (compiled by Mike Baños)

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Au Revoir, Kuya Ken: Xavier Ateneo nursing alum in UK succumbs to COVID-19

May 10, 2020

Kenneth Lambatan, a Xavier Ateneo nursing alumni (batch 2007), passed away Monday evening, April 27 at St George’s Hospital, United Kingdom, one of many frontline health workers worldwide to have lost their lives to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).     Kenneth previously informed his family he was experiencing symptoms of the disease over a week after his assignment. Days later, the family learned about his condition from a close colleague. He had to be intubated and placed in the intensive care unit.     Their mother, Ludivina, read the Bible and sang gospel songs moments before Kenneth was taken off life support with his family virtually beside him. He was 33 years old     He is survived by his parents, Joy (older sister), Ezel (younger brother), nephews, and niece.     “For 18 days, he fought the greatest battle we could ever imagine” shared Ezel.     A Loving Son and Sibling      Kenneth’s journey is detailed by his brother, Ezel Lambatan in this Facebook post . Born second of three children, Kenneth was a bright boy with big dreams.     Ezel recalls how Kenneth, his ‘hero’, chose to take up nursing to please their mother. To help the family, Kenneth “made sure that Mama wouldn’t have difficulty sustaining him by securing a scholarship for 2 years.”     Seeking greener pastures, Kenneth was overjoyed when his visa to work in London was approved. He was able to support the education of his niece aside from providing for his family.     A Committed Health Worker     Kenneth was a dedicated public servant in Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) for eight years before becoming a cardiac research nurse at St George’s Hospital.     So it was no surprise when he was among those brave enough to respond to the call of healthcare frontliners in St George’s Hospital. Though his family was apprehensive, Kenneth heeded the nurses’ oath to his last breath.     In a post on their official Facebook page, the Xavier University Council of Nursing Students (XUCN) remembers their fallen alumni.     Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan extends her heartfelt prayers and condolences to Kenneth and his loved ones. May his soul rest in peace as we hope for the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Stay Fit at Home with DTA, the Dynamic Training Approach

May 4, 2020

COVID-19 pandemic has definitely changed the way we live and do things. With the implementation of strict measures to contain the spread of the virus, our daily routine is now centered on the “new normal” which includes proper and frequent hand washing, wearing of face mask, staying at or working from home and physical distancing, among others.     Unless a vaccine for COVID-19 is developed and no new virus will infect mankind in pandemic proportions, this new normal will stay and all we can do at the least is to adjust, adapt and work around it.     Along with adapting to this new normal, we need to continue doing regular self-care to cushion the potential negative effects to our physical, emotional and psychological well-being.     One of the best ways to do this is to boost our immune system by eating healthy foods, drinking lots of water, getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep and doing regular exercise or physical activity.      There are myriad ways to get fit without the need to go to the gym so long as we don’t invent excuses to avoid exercising even when we have plenty of time spent at home.     To prove this, I developed some exercise programs using household items available to everyone: hand and kitchen towels.     In my new YouTube channel called Dynamic Training Approach DTA, I have uploaded a Towel Exercise series to teach his viewers easy to follow exercises using a hand towel and two kitchen towels.     I also shared a video on how to make your own exercise equipment, a DIY Towel Ball, which can be used as a substitute for regular gym equipment. Definitely no reason not to get fit despite being stuck at home!     I came up with this idea because some people are having a hard time to exercise without access to a gym or gym equipment, while some just don’t know how to start or continue their physical fitness activities due to the pandemic restrictions.      By subscribing for free to my YouTube channel, you can access simple and doable exercises that can be done using available tools or equipment within the comfort of your own home. I can also develop exercise programs for individual needs and provide personal training services via zoom or messenger if required by the subscriber. This way, I can continue helping people get fit and stay healthy to get through the new normal.     I have partnered with Odyssey Airport Express to help provide free shuttle service to Cagayan de Oro frontliners. For only P500.00, you can get free online consultation, two programs that you can do for the next 4 weeks plus 2 personal training sessions. 50% of the proceeds shall be donated to the free transportation program of Odyssey so our frontliners will not worry about getting to work and going home while the city is under general community quarantine.     I have done numerous fundraisers in the past which include a blood-drive, food, school supplies and book donations, including CSR activities through sports. I can’t pass up this opportunity to help our frontliners, through Odyssey Airport Express, using a platform for which I am passionate with, which is fitness. I hope that through this program, I can inspire others to be physically fit at home while helping our frontliners who do not have a choice but to go out and fight the virus for us. It’s a win-win scenario.”     Here’s the link to SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel and access free workout programs: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWrjdBSa3rMJ_U0B8vp6wug     To participate in the Free Shuttle Service for frontliners, please LIKE and send a message to my Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/dtaforfitness.     Special mention of thanks to Rea Liza Reyes, Raimi Yusof of Borneo Eagles RFC/Sandakan RFU, Eng. Rosello Bagundol, Teacher Val Cabigting of Happy Piano, Patrick Valor Rivera of Valor Training Center/USMF, Edna Mendoza & Miguel Villena.      (Coach Noel Villa is a UK-trained Personal Trainer based in Cagayan de Oro).

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Green Disinfection Innovations vs. COVID-19

April 19, 2020

There’s no stopping the Magus of the Seven Seas, Cagayan de Oro’s Pride and representative to the Parthenon of game changing inventors like Nikola Tesla and Thomas Alva Edison.     The younger generation knows Engr. Elpidio M. Paras better as the man behind two of the region’s most popular tourist attractions, Dahilayan Adventure Park in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, and the Seven Seas Waterpark and Resort at Opol, Misamis Oriental.     But they have no idea how the magic started long before he graduated as a mechanical engineer from De La Salle University in 1974 thanks to a scholarship from Del Monte Philippines, how the ideas came thick and fast to eventually bring the wonders of satellite TV to Cagayan de Oro and later cable television, both firsts in Mindanao.     Now at this time of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Magus of the Seven Seas has again risen to the occasion with three innovations to help mitigate the adverse health and economic effects of the coronavirus on the populace.     Practical Magic     First off, last March 31st, Paras announced in a Facebook post the successful commissioning of the Seven Seas Waterpark’s Chlorinsitu IIa machine to produce 815 liters daily of Sodium Hypochlorite (NaOCl) solution daily.     “While it was intended to keep our wave pool sanitized for the summer, it is now repurposed to supply a good quantity of chlorine-based disinfectant for use by the community,” Paras said.     When its daily output of NaOCl is diluted with water, the machine can produce the equivalent of 7,000 Liters of surface disinfectant in a day.     “We are working with the XU Chemistry department to properly mix this into a safe and effective product for use by our frontliners, hospitals and community checkpoints,” Paras said.     Then, on April 13, Paras rolled out two more innovations with a post on his social media page.     “In light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in the Philippines and the worldwide transmission of this pandemic, the safety of both patients and medical frontliners has always been the subject of intervention and studies on how to best reduce the occurrence of infection in medical facilities, hospitals, isolation rooms and the like,” Paras noted.     Green Disinfecting     There have been a number of proprietary solutions and products for disinfection based on UV-C radiation used for cleaning and disinfecting hospitals over the last decade as epidemics like SARS, MERS CoV, and H1N1 affected several countries.     Although UV treatments have been used for disinfection since the mid-20th century, this technology become more reliable only recently as a consequence of the longer lifespan of UV lamps. The use of UV-C is a chemical free and low-cost procedure, which represents a green alternative method for disinfection.     “The contribution of this equipment to the conditioning of hospital areas makes these systems useful for other kinds of spaces that require periodical disinfecting. The spaces which require control of the presence of microorganisms need effective, fast and economical controls, and also, that can be used on a frequent basis,” Paras noted. “When the growth of microorganisms and pathogens is not under control, they can increase the severity of infections and morbidity.”     To address this urgent need, Paras constructed a prototype low cost, portable room disinfection device based on Ultraviolet-C Irradiation technology, using locally available materials.     “The state of community quarantine in many localities including our own (Cagayan de Oro City) has affected the sourcing of more sophisticated devices and components that would be used for automated or remote control of the proposed device,” he noted further. “The system here described is easily built using common tools and materials and is scalable to generate higher ultraviolet dosages by adding more UV-C lamps.”     Dubbed the “ParaSafe Transportable Ultraviolet Disinfection Chamber”, the collapsible cabin measuring 2m x 2.5m can be located near isolation facilities in hospitals so that PPEs, gowns, footwear, masks and medical devices can be sterilized quickly, safely and economically in minutes.     “The well known ultraviolet sanitizing method employed by this device affects a very wide range of microorganisms and it has advantages compared to chemical based-sanitizing methods,” Paras said.     To avoid or minimize the use of chemical agents that may be harmful to the surfaces of hospital rooms and minimize the impact on the environment, Paras built a mobile device which permits periodical irradiation of rooms with UV-C, to eliminate and prevent biological contaminants.     UV-C radiation inactivates microorganisms causing DNA damage by producing cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs), altering DNA structure, and thus interfering with DNA replication. This has been effective and requires less personal than the manual cleaning and disinfection based on chemical agents.     Older methods of disinfection for large areas include the use gaseous agents (formaldehyde, ethylene oxide, etc.) which are hazardous and require an air flow pattern. Likewise, liquid agents, such as sodium hypochlorite that are also used for disinfection must be carefully removed after being applied and may damage exposed materials such as delicate electronic devices.     However, Paras cautioned UV is not suitable for disinfecting humans since it can harm the skin and eyes under prolonged exposure. It is intend solely to disinfect PPEs, masks, surgical gowns, and footwear. “The external tower signal light with buzzer indicates Active status of UV-C lamps, minimizing unnecessary prolonged exposure of uncovered skin and unprotected eyes to UV rays which could produce sunburn-like exposure. An emergency stop button is also available to turn off the lamps if needed,” he added. The second innovation, dubbed the “ParaZap” is a portable wheeled UV-C Room Disinfection Unit (RDU) which reduces the turnaround times for operating theaters, Intensive Care Units (ICUs), delivery rooms and facilities requiring a germ-free environment to operate. “In minutes of exposure to UV-C light, pathogens, bacteria and viruses can be rendered inactive,” Paras noted. “A surprising side effect of using mercury based UV germicidal lamp tubes is the production of minute quantities of Ozone, a scientifically known oxidizer which breaks down bacteria, amoeba and the like.” He added that UV technology, Ozonization and onsite Chlorine production using salt, are some of the state-of-the-art sciences currently used at the Seven Seas Waterpark and Resort (dubbed “Mindanao’s Showcase of Sustainable Tourism”) to keep customers safe while they enjoy the facility. Paras has written Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) Chief Dr. Jose Chan about his intent to donate the ParasSafe disinfection cabin and ParaZap RDU to NMMC and is just waiting for a response. NMMC in Cagayan de Oro City is the sole apex referral hospital for the treatment of COVID-19 patients in Northern Mindanao (Region X). Should the situation call for it, Paras said they can fabricate more UV solutions to close the supply gap although the supply of UV-C germicidal lamps may need to be imported since there are hardly any available in Cagayan de Oro. (RMB)

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Glan emerges as raptor watching site

November 16, 2019

The town of Glan, Sarangani has emerged as a raptor watching haven with the recent Raptor Festival which launched the watching season in southern Mindanao.  Chinese Sparrowhawk   Birds from Taiwan and Japan fly long distances and cross oceans to find suitable tropical feeding environments during the fourth quarter of year. As they head to Indonesia, they pass by southern Mindanao to rest and feed before continuing their journey. They arrive from September to October and March to April, and feed on rats and insects, thus serving as a natural pest control. Grey-Faced Buzzard   The site is a major flyway of migratory birds as observed in their flight patterns for the past four years, and is a vital indicator of the ecological balance of the roosting area.  The Sarangani Provincial Government’s Environmental Conservation and Protection Center (ECPC) has set up the Raptor Hill as a research monitoring post and a tourist viewing area for the migratory birds. Peregrine Falcon photographed by Jimboy Muñoz at the Home Radio Transmitter Tower sometime April 2014, Cagayan de Oro City (photo credit to Jimboy Muñoz)   The monitoring season includes a five-year reforestation initiative at the roosting sites in Mt. Taltak, in partnership with Raptorwatch Network Philippines and the Japanese Society for the Preservation of Birds. Up to  the third week of observation, the team accounted for 101,882 raptor sightings composed mostly of Chinese sparrowhawk, grey-faced buzzard, peregrine falcon and western osprey species.  Western Osprey   The monitoring and study aim to generate scientific data that will help authorities understand raptor biology, migration behaviors and help identify critical sites for conservation. According to Sarangani governor Steve Chiongbian Solon, the Provincial Government will improve the area to become an additional tourism site in Glan which is known as beach, culinary and heritage destination in the Soccsksargen region. (LGU Glan)

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