Was the famous Leyte Landing of 1944 reenacted?

Today our country commemorates the anniversary of the famous Leyte Landing. That historic event from World War II features the landing of General Douglas MacArthur in Leyte Gulf to begin his campaign of recapturing and liberating our country from Japanese occupation, as well as to fulfill his now iconic “I shall return” promise. Together with him were President-in-exile Sergio Osmeña, Lieutenant General Richard Sutherland, Major General Charles A. Willoughby, Brigadier General Carlos P. Rómulo, and the rest of the Sixth Army forces. From his book The Fooling of America: The Untold Story of Carlos P. Rómulo, the late chemist-turned-historian Pío Andrade writes:

On October 20, 1944, following preliminary landings in Sulúan, Homonhón, and Dinagat islands between October 17-19, American soldiers landed in Leyte to begin liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese. After several waves of troops had landed, MacArthur landed at Red Beach, Palo, Leyte. It was a historic moment for MacArthur and the Philippines.

The above photo, now regarded as one of the most memorable images from World War II, is what the whole world knows about the Leyte Landing. However, in the same book, Andrade has more to reveal:

MacArthur’s Leyte landing has been firmly etched in the mind of the public thus: the general wading in knee-deep water with Philippine President Osmeña and Carlos P. Rómulo. Actually, there are doubts whether that picture is the real first Leyte landing of MacArthur. A daughter of one of President Quezon’s military aides told this writer that the picture was a reenactment. There were three shots of the Leyte landing picture taken from different angles thereby giving the impression that the landing was rehearsed. The New York Times reported that President Osmeña came ashore in Leyte on October 21, meaning that the famous Leyte landing picture was not taken the day MacArthur first stepped on Red Beach. MacArthur, himself, signed and dated a different Leyte landing picture which showed neither Osmeña nor Rómulo.

And what could that photo Andrade was referring to? Here it is:

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Photo from Andrade’s book.

Real or reenacted, Rómulo was flamboyantly dressed in the Leyte landing picture. While professional soldiers Generals MacArthur, Sutherland, and Willoughby wore military caps, paper soldier Rómulo wore a steel helmet, the better to show his brigadier general’s star. Though he knew he would be in the rear headquarters, Rómulo dressed as if he was going to the combat zone. He had a pair of leggings and his revolver hang on a shoulder holster like an FBI agent instead of on a belt holster required by military regulations. Rómulo was trying hard to project himself as a real soldier.

But Rómulo’s alleged KSP attitude, of course, is another story. Today, the Leyte Landing is immortalized by the MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park at Red Beach, on the same site where MacArthur and his party landed. Which now leads me to a heritage crime that happened in 2014: the unceremonious removal of the Simón de Anda Monument from Bonifacio Drive in Manila to make way for a much larger highway to ease traffic. On deciding of removing the monument, then DPWH-National Capital Region head Reynaldo Tagudando said that the de Anda Monument has “no historical value”. Tagudando thus revealed his complete ignorance of who Simón de Anda y Salazar was.

De Anda was an oidor or member judge of the Audiencia Real (Spain’s appellate court in its colonies/overseas provinces) when the British, on account of the Seven Years’ War, invaded Filipinas in 1762. While many high-ranking government officials, including then interim governor-general and Archbishop Manuel Rojo del Río, already surrendered to the invaders, de Anda and his followers refused to do so. Instead, he established a new Spanish base in Bacolor, Pampanga and from there launched the country’s first ever guerrilla resistance against the British. He thus proved to be a big thorn on the side of the British until the latter left two years later.

During those tumultuous two years under the British, de Anda made no promises and neither did he leave Filipinas. He stuck it out with Filipinos through thick and thin and gave the enemy an armed resistance that they more than deserved. But “Dugout Doug” was all drama when he said “I shall return”, leaving the Filipinos to fend for themselves against the Japs. And when he did return, it was a disaster: the death of Intramuros, the heart and soul of the country.

If there was anything good that came out from 2013’s destructive Typhoon Yolanda, it was the damage done to that memorial park at Red Beach. When it comes to WWII commemorations, even the forces of nature know which monument has no historical value.

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2019 Seal of Good Local Governance (Region IV-A)

Congratulations are in the offing to the winners of this year’s 2019 Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) for CALABARZON (Region IV-A). It is an award given annually by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to outstanding local government units (LGU).

But what exactly is the SGLG all about? The DILG Region IV-A’s official Facebook account has a succinct explanation:

The SGLG is a progressive assessment system that gives LGUs distinction for their remarkable performance across various governance areas such as Financial Administration, Disaster Preparedness, Social Protection, Peace and Order, Business-Friendliness and Competitiveness, Environmental Management, and Tourism, Culture and the Arts.

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Out of all the cited LGUs on October 17, two are close to my heart: San Pedro Tunasán in La Laguna and Imus in Cavite. San Pedro Tunasán (simply known today as the City of San Pedro) is where my family has been living for the past fifteen years. I was once its consultant for historical, cultural, and tourism affairs as well as its historical researcher from 1 December 2015 to 12 July 2017. On the other hand, I’ve been with Imus as history consultant as well as a translator of their Spanish-era documents from 9 November 2016 up to the present.

But in citing favorites, I cannot exclude Santa Rosa and nearby Biñán, both of which are also in La Laguna Province. Santa Rosa almost never fails to invite me whenever its historic Cuartel de Santo Domingo holds an important event, and for that I am truly grateful. As for Biñán… well, let me just put it this way: I have something exciting cooking up with its LGU, and I’d rather keep mum about it for now. Because the last time I got too talkative with a historical project, it only went up in smoke, haha. 😞😂

It is interesting to note that both San Pedro Tunasán and Imus are consistent recipients of various DILG awards. Having said that, congratulations to Mayor Baby Catáquiz and Mayor Manny Maliksí (including their respective teams) for a job well done! Congratulations as well to all the other LGUs for this citation! May your tribes increase throughout the archipelago!

Click here for the complete list of awardees nationwide.

¡A Dios sea toda la gloria y la honra!

 

Un poco sobre mí

Una confesión: estoy ruidoso en los medios sociales. Me encanta discutir en línea, sacar ventaja sobre mis enemigos. En diversas ocasiones incluso podría convertirme en un troll (provocador), jaja. 😂

Pero de carne y hueso, no soy un buen conversador. Soy el tipo que prefiere escuchar que hablar. Así que, cuando nos vemos, no te sorprendas ni te decepciones si me encuentras en silencio, simplemente mirando a ti. Simplemente significa que estoy esperando para que hables porque me encanta escuchar historias y recibir información.

Sin embargo, Cerveza Negra existe. Y cuando lo zampo… ¡las cosas se ponen divertidas!

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¡Feliz fin de semana!

Hoy en la Historia de Filipinas: el nacimiento de Máximo Viola

HOY EN LA HISTORIA DE FILIPINAS: 17 de octubre de 1857 — Máximo Viola, conocido entre los historiadores y Rizalistas como el mejor amigo de José Rizal en Europa, nació en San Miguel de Mayumo, Provincia de Bulacán. Fue propagandista, escritor, y médico.

Máximo Viola.jpg

Dr. Máximo Viola y Sison.

Viola terminó sus estudios de medicina en la Universidad de Santo Tomás y luego se fue a España a estudiar en la Universidad de Barcelona donde obtuvo un título en medicina en 1882. Fue allí donde conoció a Rizal por primera vez y se involucró en el movimiento de Propaganda. Por invitación de este último, Viola viajó por Europa, particularmente a Alemania, Austria-Hungría, y Suiza de mayo a junio del año 1887.

Viola es mejor conocido como el financiero de Noli Me Tangere, la primera novela de su amigo Rizal. Durante ese tiempo, el primero último teniendo dificultades financieras; pensó que ya no podría publicar su novela. Viola le proporcionó ₱300, lo que le permitió al patriota publicar 2,000 copias en 1887. Como agradecimiento, Rizal le regaló a su amigo Viola la prueba de galera y la primera copia publicada de Noli Me Tangere. Esto significa que Viola fue la primera persona en leer la novela.

Proveniente de una familia acomodada, Viola también apoyó a otros propagandistas como Marcelo H. del Pilar, a quien ayudó económicamente.

En ese mismo año de 1887, Viola regresó a Filipinas para ejercer su profesión de médico. Tuvo una breve reunión con Rizal en Manila a fines de junio de 1892. Se sospechaba que ambos tenían vínculos con el Katipunán de Andrés Bonifacio. Las autoridades coloniales españolas continuaron sospechando de Viola hasta la rebelión tagala que fue instigada por los katipuneros. Con sus dos hermanos, se quedó en Biac-na-Bató, el ahora famoso barrio de su pueblo natal, durante la rebelión contra el gobierno español en Filipinas.

Si bien Viola era famosa por haber ayudado a Rizal a publicar su novela, lo que la gente no sabe sobre él es que los invasores estadounidenses lo llevaron a una prisión militar en Malate, Manila por negarse a colaborar con ellos. Viola sólo fue liberada por un médico estadounidense, un cierto Dr. Fresnell, que solicitó su asistencia ya que el segundo carecía de conocimientos sobre enfermedades tropicales que infligían a los soldados estadounidenses.

Viola estaba casada con Juana Roura con quien tuvo cinco hijos. En sus últimos años, terminó como un negociante dedicado a la fabricación de muebles hechos de camagong (Diospyros discolor), una especie de madera dura filipina. Murió en su pueblo natal el 3 de septiembre de 1933. Tenía 75 años.

 

A la Virgen del Pilar

PEPE ALAS

Nuestra Señora del Pilar en el Catedral de Imus, Provincia de Cavite.

A LA VIRGEN DEL PILAR
(Pepe Alas)

Cuantiosas sangres e idiomas:
taco del tiempo.
Numerosas islas, montes:
un reto histórico.

Vinieron Cruz y galeones,
un maremoto
de fe y civilización
que los unieron.

Taco y reto: conquistados
por la corona
no del Monarca sino de
la firme Virgen.

Los rayos que brillan de su
digna corona
son aquellos pueblos que ella
ha ministrado.

Esto es el cuento de nuestra
historia: cómo
nos convertimos en uno
de sus estrellas.

Derechos de reproducción © 2019
José Mario Alas
San Pedro Tunasán, La Laguna
Todos los derechos reservados.

¡Feliz Día de la Hispanidad!

 

50% administrator, 50% politician

I’ve been long cynical against politics, until I met Mayor Calixto R. Catáquiz, the beloved former chief magistrate of San Pedro Tunasán, La Laguna and the architect of its cityhood (now known as the City of San Pedro, Laguna Province). It was he who opened my eyes that politics cannot be all that bad, and that there is more to it than what we usually hear from the news. A businessman first before he got involved in politics, Mayor Calex’s strategy of being a “50% administrator and 50% politician” worked wonders for the congested former municipality. In 1995, for instance, he was able to raise the coffers of the municipal treasury from ₱6.41 million to a staggering amount of ₱70 million. This, despite the lack of industrial sites.
Critics and other cynics will of course easily shrug him off as just another traditional político. But Mayor Calex cannot be categorized as such. A born realist, the soft-spoken mayor’s honesty during private conversations will stagger his listeners. His matter-of-factly manner of sharing his political ups and downs will elicit surprise, laughter, and tears. His biography is not just about the story of his life and political career but also the story of San Pedro’s journey from a mere rural municipality to a bustling city.

Lunch at Bricx Café & Bistro Bar. Mayor Calex holds the draft of his biography.

I’ve been chronicling his life story for more than ten years already. Finally, it’s done! It is now on its final stages of review, and will be edited soon by his friend, veteran journalist Chit Lijauco. Another friend, multi-awarded photographer George Tapan, will take care of photography and the book cover. God willing, Mayor Calex’s biography will be published and launched sometime next year, just in time to wrap-up our city’s Road Map 2020, a long-term development plan that was conceptualized and launched in 2010.
If my other writing gigs will not prosper soon, then Mayor Calex’s biography might just well become my second book after 2017’s “Captain Remo: The Young Hero“.

¡A Dios sea toda la gloria y la honra!

Pushing Boundaries

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Since the dawn of man, his indomitable will has done marvels that continue to echo to this day. Man has built walls that rival the scale of mountains, has brought forth monoliths that soared through the heavens above, and has conquered the very elements of nature that once seemed so powerful. Man has been pushing boundaries since then and he will continue to break barriers for ages to come.

Eric Masangkay (b.1972), is one of the most promising contemporary artists that has graced the halls of Kape Kesada Art Gallery. He has shown that his style, which he has been honing for the past decade, can stand toe to toe with the likes of seasoned sculptors before him. Kape Kesada Art Gallery’s exhibit entitled, “Pushing Boundaries”, celebrates the human form. It channels the grace, beauty, and intelligent design in the style and material that combines robustness and fluidity of motion.

See you all on Sunday, 2:00 PM at Kape Kesada Art Gallery to meet the man of the hour, Eric Masangkay and his show entitled “Pushing Boundaries”.