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The History and Legacy of the Bautista Manuscript on the Philippine Revolution in Misamis Province 1900-1901

June 15, 2021

Many Kagay-anons may have heard about the famous “Bautista Manuscript” but to this day few know what it was all about.   It was written by a public-school teacher Filomeno Marcos Bautista, Sr., who was the former Academic Supervisor of Surigao, Bukidnon  and Misamis upon his retirement in 1933. Filomeno Marcos Abellanosa Bautista was born on April 25, 1890 in Cagayan de Misamis. He personally witnessed the Fiesta Nacional of January 10, 1899 celebrating the Philippine independence from Spain. A government scholar at the Philippine Normal School and the Philippine School of Arts and Trades, he was appointed the first principal of Mambajao Elementary School in Camiguin and eventually became the Division Academic Supervisor of Misamis, Surigao and Bukidnon. “But his crowning glory as an academic was when he founded the Parents-Teachers College (PTC) in 1946 with a group of civic minded individuals,” said his son, the late Filomeno “Dodong” A. Bautista, Jr. during an interview we conducted at his residence on May 5, 2020. PTC opened in in June 1948 initially offering classes in the elementary and secondary (day and night) school and courses in Education, Liberal Arts, Secretarial and Commerce in the tertiary level held at a two-story building in Licoan. It was later renamed the Cagayan de Oro College (COC) when the Dongallo and Argayoso families invested in it, and now renamed the Phinma Cagayan de Oro College following its buyout by the Phinma Group.  “He retired in 1933 to write Glimpses of Mindanao-The Land of Promise and The Bautista Manuscript of the Philippine Revolution in Misamis Province, 1900-1901, both published in 1939. I was his clerk for both manuscripts,” Dodong, as he is known to friends, disclosed. According to Fr. Francis C. Madigan, S.J., who headed the Xavier University’s Research Institute for Mindanao Culture (RIMCU) who edited and published the 56-page mimeographed manuscript in 1968, the author had to rely on oral testimonies of eyewitnesses to the events narrated in his manuscript due to the dearth of written sources. However, Antonio J. Montalvan II,  a Kagay-anon columnist, social anthropologist, university professor and heritage activist, believes this could be an apocryphal statement usually assessed of the Bautista Manuscript. “Actually, there is no dearth of written sources of that time. Numerous documents of that era exist, including accounts of the Phil-Am War at the US Library of Congress and Hispanic documents at the National Archives,” Montalvan notes. “There is nothing wrong with a book based on oral testimonies. Bautista’s sources were eyewitnesses. What he did by recording their narrations of a distinct historical event was already a noteworthy act. Trained historians, however, will look for the fine print to establish credibility. For example, who were the sources? There must be attribution for oral sources. Without that, readers can easily say hearsay. Reading a historical narration of that kind requires corroboration to give justice to the author,” he added. Although he already knew of the manuscript’s existence in 1957, it took Fr. Madigan another ten years before the first mimeographed edition was published by RIMCU in 1968. According to a book review written by the late Fr. Miguel A. Bernad, S.J. in Philippine Studies vol. 16, no. 4 (1968): 788–789 published by the Ateneo de Manila University in 1968, the elder Bautista’s manuscript is divided into two parts: Cagayan de Oro’s history prior to the American Occupation, and the Filipino resistance to the American Occupation in Misamis. However, Fr. Bernad said the first section contains some inaccuracies due to the author’s lack of access to a good library. “Apparently the culprit is not just a good library. It was easy to subject it to the test of verisimilitude. He mentions the collapse of the new bridge to Carmen on the day of its inauguration. There was only one casualty, a Spaniard who he names as Castillebe Hebrad. I know where the man was buried. We knew his family. He was married to Modesta Reyes of Mambajao. There at the Reyes Cemetery was his tombstone:  Luis Hebrard de Castellvi. There are living descendants. Castellvi’s only child Luisita Castellvi de la Rama had a daughter who is still alive today – Paching de la Rama Batestuzzi. Her son Luigi was a student of XU in the 1970s. They live in Manila,” Montlavan said. Fr. Bernad cited the following as an example: ‘According to history, there was a time when the capital of the province was moved to the town of Misamis now in Occidental Misamis, but due to its unfavorable condition the capital was moved back to Cagayan.”  The facts: The Corregimiento which comprised much of Northern Mindanao had its capital first at Iligan. In 1766, under Father Ducos, it was transferred to Misamis, Whence the name: “the Corregimiento—later the Province—of Misamis.” The capital was later transferred to Cagayan. Nevertheless, the eminent scholar praised the latter part of the manuscript as “the valuable part of Mr. Bautista’s contribution to history.” “The remaining 25 pages tell the story of the Filipino resistance to the American Occupation in Misamis: the bombardment of Cagayan by the American ships; the landing of the American troops; the organization of a Filipino resistance army at Gango under Nicolas Capistrano; the battle of Cagayan; the removal of Filipino headquarters to Tanculan; the battle of Agusan; the battle of Macahambus Hill; and finally the surrender of the Filipino troops at Sumilao.” “Mr. Bautista has done a thorough job, giving a list of the officers, and the dead and wounded in each particular action. He has also reproduced some of the Visayan ballads of the era.” “This is consequently a contribution of very great value to the history of a district. There is need for many more monographs of this kind dealing with local and regional history, and Father Madigan and the Institute for Mindanao Culture of Xavier University deserve much credit for bringing the Bautista manuscript to the attention of scholars,” Fr. Bernad recommended. Although he was not quite sure where copies of the 1968 mimeographed manuscripts are today, the younger Bautista said he was sure “there are some copies still floating around” and mentioned Mrs. Ruth Tiano Pañares, whose late husband was his “experimental Class” teacher in City Central School as one of those who had a copy. Montalvan acknowledged he also has a copy. “What I have is the Madigan mimeographed version. It came from my brother in-law who was one of Madigan’s editors.” During Dodong Bautista’s term in the Cagayan de Oro Historical and Cultural Commission (Hiscom) with Fr. Francisco Demetrio, S.J., Atty. Pureza Neri, Atty. Federico Del Puerto and Atty. Tommy Pacana, the Bautista family provided a copy to Xavier  University. “My only copy which had a signed dedication signed by my father (Filomeno M. Bautista, Sr.) I gave to Msgr. Antonio Ledesma, S.J., (Archbishop Emeritus of Cagayan de Oro Archdiocese), since he was very interested in the history of Cagayan de Oro, and I believe is the best person who can perpetuate the history of the city,” he added.   Despite its limitations, Montalván said it is still proper to accord The Bautista Manuscript its rightful place in Cagayan de Oro’s History. “For me, the best compromise to accord the Manuscript and give it dignity is this: It is a secondary source of historical events narrated by eyewitnesses. Being secondary, it has to be used corroboratively,” Montalvan said. “It is also about time that a present-day version be published by Xavier University edited of its errata.” For those interested to read The Bautista Manuscript, it is printed in its entirety in The Local Historical Sources of Northern Mindanao edited by Fr. Francisco R. Demetrio, S.J. published by Xavier University in 1995, copies of which may still be purchased from the Museo de Oro. (compiled by Mike Baños)

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Memorial Day in the Philippines: Honoring Kagay-anon Patriots of World War II

May 31, 2021

On May 31, 2021, the United States celebrates Memorial Day, a federal holiday dedicated to honoring and mourning military personnel who had died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Previously observed on May 30, it has been officially moved to the last Monday of May since 1971, purportedly to allow people to enjoy a long weekend. Memorial Day in the Philippines Memorial Day has been similarly observed in the Philippines in cemeteries of American military personnel who died in the line of duty. Most notable examples are the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Cabanatuan American Memorial and Clark Veterans Cemetery which are officially cared for by the American Battle Monuments Commission. The Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines occupies 152 acres on a prominent plateau, visible at a distance from the east, south and west. It contains the largest number of graves of our military dead of World War II, a total of 17,184, most of whom lost their lives in operations in New Guinea and the Philippines. The Clark Veterans Cemetery was formed between 1947 and 1950 by moving the headstones/markers and remains from at least four other U.S. military cemeteries (Fort Stotsenburg 1 & 2, Fort McKinley, and Sangley Point Naval Cemetery) to the new 20.365 acre, 12,000 plot cemetery located just inside the main gate of Clark Air Base.  All WWII dead were moved to the American Cemetery in Manila.    Clark Cemetery contains the remains of U.S. veterans from the USA, USN, USMC, USCG, USAF, Philippine Scouts (PS) and their dependents.  Some, but not all, were veterans of the Spanish/American, Philippine-American War, WWI, WWII (died after the war), Korean, Vietnam, and Iraq wars.   The largest category interred are civilian, mostly U.S. and Filipino and their dependents, all of whom worked for the U.S. Government. There are nearly 9,000 individuals buried in the cemetery as of May 1, 2019. Dual flags have flown over the cemetery since March 1984. Victory Week While there is currently no Philippine equivalent to Memorial Day, the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office and Armed Forces are pushing to have September 2nd officially recognized as Victory Week to honor and mourn military personnel who died while serving the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). “We have started informally building the surrender of Gen. Yamashita as Victory Week since last year, which we treat as the equivalent of the US Memorial Day. It takes a legislative action to establish it so we made it initially as a tradition until we could elicit acceptance,” said Brig. Gen. Restituto L. Aguilar (ret.), executive director of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and former chief of the PVAO’s Veterans Memorial and Historical Division. Even before that is officially recognized by the Philippine government, allow us the privilege of honoring and mourning some of our local heroes who perished during the Second World War in service of the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) and the guerrillas of the United States Forces in the Philippines (USFIP), when the Philippines was still a colony of the US. Although bitter adversaries during the Philippine-American War of 1899-1902 (still carried in American history books as the ‘Philippine Insurrection’), and the first and only colony of the US in Asia since that time, Filipinos never bought into Imperial Japan’s line they were here to free us from the American yoke as partners in the “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere". When the Pacific War broke out in December 8, 1941, with Japanese planes bombing Clark Field and other US installations in the Philippines, the greater part of the Filipinos sided with the US and when the USAFFE Mindanao Force under Maj. Gen. William F. Sharp, Jr. surrendered to the invaders on 10 May 1942 in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, most of the American and Filipinos melted away in the hills of Mindanao to start what eventually became the biggest and most organized group of guerrillas in the 10th Military District, USFIP under Col. Wendell W. Fertig. For this year’s Memorial Day, we honor and mourn some of our Filipino martyrs who fought and died in the service of their beloved Philippines and their adopted country the United States of America. Our Local Heroes Capt. Antonio Julian C. Montalvan (Feb. 8, 1906 - Aug. 30, 1944) was a member of an espionage team as G-2, MC Liaison and Intelligence Officer, of the 10th Military District under Fertig in Mindanao, who reported directly to Gen. Douglas MacArthur.  As a medical doctor, he was able to get information by moving through various hospitals in Manila about Japanese troops in Mindanao, which he passed on to Fertig and which eventually reached MacArthur in Australia. As a member of a spy network, he helped establish coastal radio relay stations in Mindanao, Visayas and Southern Luzon. After three successful intelligence gathering trips by banca to Manila from Mindanao, he was arrested by the Japanese Kempeitai (Military Police) in Tayabas, and was later detained and tortured in Fort Santiago and the Old Bilibid Prisons 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. Dr. Montalvan is buried with the rest of the Ozamiz/Elizalde Group in Manila's North Cemetery. 1st Lt. Fidel Saa, Sr.   of Cagayan de Misamis was the 109th Regiment’s dental surgeon. He married Enriquita Mercado of Gingoog City with whom he had three sons: Le Grande, Fidel Jr. and Ruel. On January 1944, he and four other guerrillas and one civilian were captured, tortured and bayoneted to death when the Japanese ambushed their headquarters in El Salvador around 04 January 1945. The other victims were 2nd Lt. Eufronio Jabulin, Sgt. Gregorio Macapayag, Cpl. Gerardo Saguing, Pvt. E. Eling and Chong Ing, a Chinese trader. The Japanese also captured Maj. Fidencio Laplap’s father  Melanio and brought him to Cagayan where he was tortured and killed. The Japanese had no reservations about the age of the suspected spied and guerrillas they killed. Sometime in 1942, Cox  Banquerigo, an intelligence asset of the guerrillas was betrayed by a “friend” and neighbor at the Parque (now Gaston Park) who was an enlisted man with the Japanese-sponsored Bureau of Constabulary (BC). Only 16 at the time, Cox was brought to the Ateneo de Cagayan where he was interrogated, tortured and beheaded. The guerrillas eventually caught up with the traitor and killed him at Barangay Agusan.  Perhaps the most remarkable Kagay-anon patriots were the Tiano siblings, for whom the Tiano Brothers street in Cagayan de Oro is named after, another story apparently forgotten by the present generation. No less than six of the siblings, five males and one female, were involved in fighting the Japanese in World War II, making them our counterpart to the famous Sullivan Brothers of the US Navy. While only the second eldest sibling Nestor  was killed in action vs. the Japanese at the young age of 24,while repelling a Japanese attack at Aglaloma Point, Bataan on Jan. 23, 1942, this does not by any measure diminish the sacrifice of his five other siblings in the struggle against the Japanese Occupation during the war. The eldest Ronaldo, a 1st Lt. in the nascent Philippine Army Air Force (PAAC) with the 7th School Squadron based at Maniquis Field, Nueva Ecija, survived the Bataan Death March, but was released by the Japanese from the concentration Camp in Capas, Tarlac and instructed to report to the Japanese headquarters in Cagayan. He came home wearing his full PAAC uniform. Instead, he joined the 120th Infantry Regiment under Maj. Angeles Limena as one of his staff. After the war he joined the newly organized Philippine Air Force (PAF) but left after 18 months to join Philippine Airlines (PAL). He died in a plane crash on Jan. 24, 1950. Apollo became a 2nd Lt. and platoon leader of “C” Company, 1st Battalion, 120th Regiment, 108th Division based in Initao, Misamis Oriental. He died fighting with the 19th Battalion Combat Team (BCT) of the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK) defending Hill 191 (also called Arsenal Hill) and Hill Eerie, comprising Combat Outpost No. 8  at the Chorwon-Siboni corridor in the west central sector of  Korea on June 20,1952 while repelling a superior force of the Red Chinese People’s Liberation Army. The Philippine Navy’s BRP Apollo Tiano (now decommissioned) was named in his honor. Uriel became a sergeant of “A” Company, 1st Battalion, 120th Regiment, 108th Division based at Pangayawan, Alubijid, Misamis Oriental, and ended the war in the Signal Corps. The youngest brother Jaime was a private first class at only 15 years of age, and served as medical aide of the 120th Regimental Hospital together with his sister 1st Lt. Fe B. Tiano (RN), who was the unit’s sole regimental nurse at the regimental hospital at Talacogon, Lugait, Misamis Oriental. As Corporal Jesus B. Ilogon relates in his unpublished manuscript, Memoirs of the Guerrillas: The Barefoot Army, Lt. Fe Tiano and PFC Jaime Tiano were engrossed in their hospital work, tending to the sick of the regimental hospital. They were so busy that they forgot to apply for their vacation, and when they did, it would be disapproved. Truly a dilemma that our frontliners in our hospitals and health care facilities could relate with!  “This is the story of the Tianos-brave and courageous, their battles are now part of history. While they went to war, their parents Emilia Bacarrisas and Leocadio Tiano and two sisters Ruth and Emily were left in Lapad (Alubijid, now part of Laguindingan), to stoke the home fires burning,” Ilogon noted.  There are too many others, both known and unknown, who suffered the ultimate sacrifice in our fight for freedom, and it’s beyond our limited knowledge and present capacity to mention all of them here. But let this not diminish our recognition of their uncommon valor and faith in our ultimate victory that may serve to inspire us withstand the trials of this unseen enemy which now confronts us the world over. Thank you for your service to the Philippines and the United States of America! MABUHAY!

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A Just and Forthright Life Well Lived: Filomeno Avanceña Bautista, Jr., 93

May 19, 2021

At the end of the fourth month of his nine decades and three years on Earth, Filomeno Avanceña Bautista entered into eternal life on April 29, 2021. “Dodong” as he was fondly known to family and friends, was a model of integrity who was looked up to by everyone who had the privilege of knowing and working with him. He had a 45-year career with the one and only job he held in his professional life, as a career executive with Del Monte Philippines Inc. (DMPI), formerly Philippine Packing Corporation, like PPC, where he rose through the ranks to become a purchasing manager, hospital administrator, manager of DMPI Cooperative, reaching the pinnacle as President of the Cooperative Union of the Philippines (CUP) where he served for three consecutive terms. In his civic affairs, he was also a member of the Cagayan de Oro Historical and Cultural Commission during the administration of the late Mayor Pablo P. Magtajas. Dodong was the second child of his namesake the eminent historian  Filomeno “Nono” Marcos Bautista y Abellanosa and Hospecia “Pesing” Avanceña y Chaves. According to a tribute read at his wake by his nephew, Judge Vincent “Vince” Bautista Rosales, the only son of his elder sister Henrietta (“Tita”), he was actually the third in a succession of Filomenos in the family. The first Filomeno was his grandfather Filomeno Bautista y Neri. Born on April 25, 1890, in Cagayan de Misamis, his father Nono personally witnessed the Fiesta Nacional of January 10, 1899, celebrating the Philippine independence from Spain. A government scholar at the Philippine Normal School, he was appointed principal of Mambajao Elementary School in Camiguin and eventually became the Division Academic Supervisor of Misamis, Surigao, Bukidnon. For this momentous birth of his first son, Nono wrote in his diary: “On May 26, 1927, a baby boy was born to us in Mission Hospital. Rays of sunshine were seen in the family and our third child was named Filomeno. Esther was fond of him and she would oftentimes come up to his crib and kiss him. She called her Papa Junior. At the delivery were Miss Florence Fox and Miss Ortega, myself, my mother-in-law (Fortunata Chaves Avancena). Pesing stayed in the hospital for 9 days and Dr. Ramos just charged us P75.” “As recounted by my mom, Tito Dodong was sickly as a child. He suffered from nephritis and Lolo (Nono), then assigned in Surigao, would often order from his friend a ship captain, to buy Bear Brand milk for him in Cebu,” Judge Vince recalls. He grew up in the family residence in Licoan, the present site of a convenience store next to Sabal Hospital. He learned to play the violin which he didn’t like very much since he was teased by his friends for engaging in an effeminate pursuit. But he would also join his barkada in making kabit on tartanillas all the way to  Divisoria and back on their roller skates. When the family put up the Cagayan de Oro Hotel sometime in 1938-1939 next to Plaza Divisoria at the corner of what is now Tiano Brothers and Tirso Neri streets, it was the first recorded public installation of the name.  “This was our second hotel just before the war in 1938-1939,” the late Dodong recalled during a 2020 interview at this residence. “My father named it the Cagayan de Oro Hotel because at that time Cagayan was known for the gold which could easily be found in the hills of its hinterlands like Tumpagon. It was our second hotel after the first one my father established on a rented property fronting what is now the downtown office of Cepalco.”  “My father was a former Division Academic Supervisor and he coined the name long before Mayor Max Suniel became the city’s first mayor, and long before Assemblyman Maning Pelaez named the city in his bill,” he added. Manong  Dodong attributed his father’s coining of the phrase Cagayan de Oro to his passion for history. An educator, his father founded the  Parent  Teachers  College  (now Phinma Cagayan de Oro College)  and relentlessly pursued his research on the history of Cagayan de Misamis. He retired in 1933 to write Glimpses of Mindanao-The Land of Promise and The Bautista Manuscript of the Philippine Revolution in Misamis Province, 1900-1901, both published in 1939. “I was his clerk for both manuscripts,” he noted. After school, Dodong’s Lola made him sell barquillos, and like most boys his age, he was a shoeshine boy along with Tito Lando and Tito Ted, Judge Vince recounts. When World War II broke out on December 8, 1941, Dodong was 14 and in second-year high school at the Misamis Oriental Provincial High School. As a member of a Boy Scout Troop, he and his fellow Scouts in their uniforms helped direct traffic and enforce the mandatory blackout alongside Filipino and American soldiers. Among the fellow Scouts in his troop were former Mayor Reuben Canoy, and Fernando Ablaza, while their Scoutmaster was Segundo Salas. (Click on the link to read more). Though the family evacuated to Olot, Balingasag, they did not abandon their residence in Licoan and would surreptitiously check on it from time to time. Later, upon hearing that they were in danger from some wayward Magahats, the family moved the town proper, finally settling in Sapong, Lagonglong. The family survived the war by making soap which they bartered for food and other essentials. (more on that story by Celine Itchon from this link) “ When I was about to go to college at the Ateneo de Manila, Lolo and I won a national writing contest about recounting his experiences as a civilian here in Misamis Oriental during World War II,” his granddaughter Celine Itchon remembers.  “Lolo was with me when I went to Ateneo to look at the campus and the dorm.  He even called a good friend in Manila and informed him of the good news. I cannot forget this because his friend, Mr. Terry Mon brought us to the best Chinese restaurant and treated us to a sumptuous dinner.” After the war, Manong Dodong was accelerated and he graduated in 1947  at the Misamis  Oriental Provincial  High School, with his best friend Reuben Canoy (whom he fondly calls “ Guy” ) as valedictorian. He pursued his college degree in BS Commerce (Accounting) at the University of the East and afterward worked for the first and only company in his 45-year professional career with Del Monte Philippines, Inc. (DMPI, formerly PPC, Philippine Packing Corporation) then the first and only multinational company in the city.  Phil (Bebot), his eldest child, recalls his visits to the PPC office when he was a kid. “Daddy was always a corporate man. I remember when I was 5 or 6 years old he would always ask me if I wanted to go to his office during Saturdays and reminded me to bring a jacket for, during that time when Americans were the bosses at PPC, the offices were really cold from the air con units running.” Judge Vince relates, “I was indeed fortunate to have two models of integrity as a judge - my father who led an honest life as a BIR employee  who never enriched himself in his position, and my Tito Dodong who led a modest life while serving in  various executive positions at PPC.” “He was successful in his career,  rising from the ranks to an executive position. I respect my uncle for his integrity as a purchasing manager of PPC. It was a juicy position but I never heard any comment that he received any bribes for any contract of supply or  purchase he entered into.” From the rank and file, Dodong was promoted to supervisor, then purchasing manager, hospital administrator, consultant to the Del Monte credit union, then as President of the Cooperative Union of the Philippines - the pinnacle of his career. On March 16, 1957, Dodong married Mengkie Lumbre of Palawan and Tacloban whose family emigrated to Cagayan de Oro after the war. Mengkie was a graduate of Lourdes College. The couple has six children: Filomeno (Bebot/Phil), Cesar (Peewee), Raul (Bambi), Naomi Ruth       (Honey)  Bautista-Roble, Suzette (Sue) Bautista Itchon, and Robert (Bobby). Phil and  Bobby are currently residing in the US. However, it was not all flowers and sunshine since his busy schedule often kept him away from his family. If one wanted to meet with him at home, one had to be early at his house otherwise you wouldn't catch him. When Manong Dodong finally decided to retire in 2002,  he continued to pursue his  Papa  Nono’s advocacy in preserving the history and heritage of Cagayan de Oro. To this end, he served as a commissioner in the City Historical and Cultural Commission (HISCOM) in 2000 with his brother, the late Thaddeus Teddy Bautista.  He continued his passion even beyond his tenure as commissioner by staying active in the city’s history and heritage activities. Dodong and Mengkie also moved from Gusa to Capisnon, Kauswagan in 2011. Judge Vince recounts how his mom, Dodong’s elder sister Henrietta (Tita) always made it a point to visit them on weekends. “Tito Dodong always saw my mom, being the eldest, as the matriarch of the Bautista clan. My mom always visited Tito Dodong and Tita Mengkie on weekends bringing food, pasalubong for her younger brother. The pandemic was never a deterrence. When I asked why it was always us who visited them, Ma said Tito Dodong couldn’t visit him since he always wanted Tita Mengkie by his side. Tito Dong and Tita Mengkie became inseparable in their twilight years. And for Mama and Tito Dodong the close fraternal bond is best exemplified with no disgust for the past 93 years.” “We may see his death as untimely, but in God's view it was timely, it was his appointed time and no one could question it . But that is life – mais c’est le vie.” (with Vincent Bautista Rosales and  Eduardo Itchon)

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Bangladesh cites Oro artist's sculpture

May 2, 2021

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Embassy of Bangladesh in Manila has honored the artwork of a Kagay-anon artist by purchasing it then donating it as a permanent showpiece to the Museo ni Jose Rizal, Calamba in Calamba City, Province of Laguna. According to Nicolas P. Aca Jr., a visual and performance artist from Cagayan de Oro City, his artwork was originally for the exhibit From Manila to Dhaka in 2018 held at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Gallery in Intramuros, Manila but was later bought by the Embassy of Bangladesh.  The Artist and the Inspiration The art piece, a sunken relief in wood, is a juxtaposition of the images of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, known as the “Father of the Nation of Bangladesh”, and the Philippines National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal.  It was inspired by Aca’s experience in Bangladesh, where he came to know Bangabandhu, also known as Mujib. “He was known as their 'hero for all seasons. He had almost the same missions with our very own Dr. Jose Rizal, and both of them faced a very tragic death. This inspired me to put them together in one artwork,” Aca said. Bangabandhu fought for nationalism, secularism, democracy, socialism, known as Mujibism. “Bangabandhu and Rizal shared the same tragic fate for their countries. On August 15, 1975, Bangabandhu, and his family were killed by a group of army officers who invaded the presidential residence. Rizal, on the other hand, was sentenced to death by firing squad and executed on December 30, 1896 for exposing the dark aspects of the Spanish regime,” said Aca.  Both deaths inspired revolutions that unified their nations and led to their country’s independence. “My visit to Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2018 was a very memorable one. We were warmly welcomed by their people, together with other artists from all around the world. There were 3 of us from the Philippines, I together with Tres Roman and Esme Abalde,” Aca said. The three artists represented the country for the 18th Asian Art Biennale.  There were workshops and tours to Bangladesh’s historical sites. There were also performances from international artists. “We also have learned a lot from their culture,” Aca recalls. According to Aca, heroes are those who are willing to sacrifice their own life for the greater good. They have a certain purpose and believe in what is right.  “A hero for me does not do things only for himself, but for other generations to benefit what he does as well,” Aca said. The art piece, along with books, photos, and other materials, is part of the two-month-long exhibit on Bangabandhu (Friend of Bengal) at the Museo ni Jose Rizal, Calamba as part of the birth centenary celebration of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.  Nicolas Aca was sworn in as the new chairperson of the Cagayan de Oro City's Historical and Cultural Commission on April 13, 2021.  (SAYU/PIA10)

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Peace to tap Liguasan, other Mindanao potentials—exec

April 23, 2021

Peace, or a steady climate of political stability, will help unlock the hidden assets of Mindanao, long touted to be the Philippines’ “Land of Promise.”  And among these assets is Liguasan Marsh, one of the more biodiverse wetlands in Southeast Asia, according to a statement by Naguib Sinarimbo, spokesperson for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm). Sinarimbo, speaking at a recent video recording on Facebook, said peace would usher in economic opportunities for Muslim Mindanao such as investments in energy and maritime development. He mentioned Liguasan Marsh as an example, which has long been a subject of keen interest by diverse parties due to the sheer breadth of its potential. Straddling the provinces of Cotabato, Maguindanao, and Sultan Kudarat, the sprawling marshland is home to dozens of species of birds, fish, and reptiles.  It covers some 2,200 square kilometers, 300 of which are believed to hold natural gas deposits. Oil exploration activities are in their initial stages in Liguasan Marsh, according to Sinarimbo, who concurrently serves as Minister of the Barmm’s Department of the Interior and Local Government.   He also mentioned the Sulu Sea and the Moro Gulf, which are said to be “resource-rich” by independent estimates in terms of maritime, mineral, and energy assets.  He said that such areas “can become beneficial to the region… but what we need is a stable peace and security so that we can exploit all of these potentials.” The Barmm “sits strategically in the South China Sea and the Pacific through which a substantial volume of cargo passes through,” he said. He said that such cargoes may originate from Australia, heading for China, or that these may be made in China and are being shipped all the way to Europe.  With the right public policies and adequate infrastructure support, Sinarimba said the volume of these goods passing through the Sibutu Strait off Tawi-Tawi should increase. The Sibutu Strait has been internationally recognized as a Philippine maritime passageway principally for civilian use.  In 2019, the Army’s then Western Mindanao Commander and now Joint Chiefs chairman Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana was quoted to have said that Sibutu Strait, which lies between the Sulu Archipelago and Indonesia’s Borneo, was host to some $51 billion worth of sea cargo every year. Such an important sea lane “can be exploited through the development of a logistics hub not just for this region but for the country. So this offers a lot of potential,” Sinarimbo said. In 2018, President Duterte signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law into effect.  The landmark development had flung open the gates of institution-building, yet the period of transition from war to peace has been found to be inadequate. Says an unnamed source close to the writer, “building the capability to effectively govern takes time. It is a tight balancing act given the challenges of pursuing equitable development in the region.”  Calls to extend the transition timetable from 2022 to 2025 have emanated from the Congress to the academe, from the Catholic Church to grassroots communities, from Muslim residents joining peace caravans to netizens endorsing the cause. Over a million signatures in support of the call have so far been gathered online

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2021 Philippine Veterans Week | Araw ng Kagitingan Remembered

April 5, 2021

The Philippines commemorates the 79th Anniversary of the Fall of Bataan and the Bataan Death March on April 9, 2021, now known as the Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor).   This day, also known as Bataan Day, commemorates the fall of Bataan, a pivotal event in Philippine history.   At dawn on 9 April 1942, against the orders of Generals Douglas MacArthur and Jonathan Wainwright, the commander of the Luzon Force, Bataan, Major General Edward P. King, Jr., surrendered over 76,000 starving and disease-ridden soldiers (64,000 Filipinos, Chinese and 12,000 Americans) to Japanese troops.   Unprepared for the number of prisoners, the Japanese decided to walk the prisoners 150 kilometers to a prison camp in San Fernando. Over 20,000 prisoners died on this march from dehydration, heat prostration, untreated wounds, and wanton executions at the hands of the Japanese. The trek became infamous as the 'Bataan Death March'. Only some 54,000 of the 76,000 prisoners reached their destination; the exact death toll is difficult to assess because thousands of captives were able to escape. Approximately 5,000-10,000 Filipino and 600-650 American prisoners-of-war died before they could reach Camp O'Donnell.   While the holiday marks an event which was a victory for the opposing forces, the heroic defense of Bataan by those soldiers was seen as a key event in the war, as it allowed the Allies time to prepare for later battles which stalled the Japanese conquest  of the Pacific, and eventually led to an Allied victory. The Bataan peninsula was eventually retaken by American and Filipino forces on February 8th 1945. In the Philippines, Araw ng Kagitingan is a nationwide holiday, commemorated through parades, featuring veterans of the Second World War. The most well-known celebration takes place at Mt. Samat Shrine, where the president gives a speech recognizing the bravery of those who fought.   In the United States, memorials are held across the country to commemorate the soldiers, but the day is celebrated in September rather than April. There is a special memorial in Maywood, Illinois, as many young soldiers from this village served at Bataan.  With Araw ng Kagitingan, we honor all Filipino heroes of the past and the present. In a special way, we honor our brave front liners who courageously fight for us in our battle against COVID-19. We also honor the countless Filipinos who have stepped up to help our brothers and sisters during these difficult times so that together, we heal as one nation.   Philippine Veterans Week By virtue of Proclamation No. 466 signed by former President Corazon Aquino in September 1989, Philippine Veterans Week is commemorated every April 5 to 11. The event is aimed at promoting, preserving and memorializing the principles, ideals and deeds of Filipino war veterans. This weeklong observance honors not only the Filipino war veterans who fought during World War II but also those who rendered honorable military service. This year's observance, anchored on the theme, Kagitingan ay Gawing Gabay, Pandemya ay Mapagtatagumpayan, is commemorated through a series of commemorative events virtually from April 5 to April 11, 2021. Metro Cagayan de Oro Times joins the nation in commemorating these two events in Northern Mindanao with this special 79th Araw ng Kagitingan & Philippine Veterans Week 2021 issue featuring stories celebrating the heroism of our patriots, as well as others which celebrate the valor and sacrifice of those who rose from the ashes of defeat to continue the fight against their imperial oppressors.   The Mindanao Death March The untold story of the Death March in Mindanao – one of the only two death marches recognized in the Tokyo war crime trials as evidence of the inhuman treatment of Filipino and American Prisoners of War (POWs) during World War II. On July 4, 1942, surrendered Filipino and American soldiers in Mindanao were forced to march on a rocky dirt road under the blazing tropical sun from Camp Keithley in Dansalan (Marawi) to Iligan in Lanao – a distance of about thirty-six (36) kilometers, for the purpose of joining them with the rest of the Mindanao POWs at Camp Casisang, Malaybalay, Bukidnon. Based on online research conducted by Robert John A. Donesa, Saint Louis University, Baguio City.   Heroes de Bataan: Death March Survivors fight again in Mindanao USAFFE soldiers from Northern Mindanao who fought in Bataan and survived the Death March  managed to find their way back to Cagayan de Misamis and joined the guerrillas to continue the fight against the Imperial Japanese Army garrison troops.   Quinine from Bukidnon Farm help Allies win the War in the Pacific Still unknown to many, cinchona bark from a secret farm in Bukidnon helped prolong the defense of Bataan and Corregidor, delaying the Imperial Japanese Empire’s timetable to conquer Asia and the Pacific, buying precious time for the Allies to organize their defenses and eventually counter attack  and defeat the enemy. By Carlos Policarpio Bagonoc (with additional research by Mike Baños).   The Live or Die (LOD) Unit of the Mindanao Guerrillas  Philippine Scouts from Oroquieta organized this small but deadly intelligence, sabotage, assassination, and propaganda unit from the 10th Military District of Mindanao which hit hard at prime targets of the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy in Manila itself and paid for it with the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in the service of their beloved country. By Raul B. Ilogon    The History & Legacy of the Fighting Moreno Brothers: Guerrillas of Balingasag, Misamis Oriental  The Moreno clan of Balingasag, Misamis Oriental sent no less than 15 of its finest young men to fight with the 110th Division of the US Forces in the Philippines (USFIP), the organized resistance against the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. Here are the stories and legacies of four of seven brothers of one of those families who later became prominent citizens as well as their children and grandchildren who continue their tradition of valor in battle and integrity in public service.   Defending Dipolog April 1945: A Young Guerrilla’s Eyewitness Account A first-hand account of the final phase of this battle by a young guerrilla who was dispatched with the 108th Expeditionary Company in early 1945 to reinforce the guerrilla forces defending Dipolog Airfield early April, 1945. By Mike Baños & Raul B. Ilogon.   We hope and pray these stories are remembered and treasured by those who read it, to remind themselves and the those still to come after us, that there was a steep price to pay for the freedom we enjoy today, and the least we can do is pay it forward by passing on these tales to our children and grandchildren.   We must tell their stories.  

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