BOOK: – Mandirigma – Uniforms of The Filipino Fighting Man 1935-1945

IMG_5894   Mandirigma - Uniforms of The Filipino Fighting Man 1935-1945 Mandirigma is a compilation of photographs and description of the various uniforms, equipment and accoutrements of Filipino soldiers in the Second World War. An exhibit of some of these uniforms will be on display at the Philippine Center of New York from April 4-15, 2022 Book availability can be picked up at the Philippine Consulate General of New York on April 7th during the book launch event at 8pm. When checking out, please choose PIck-Up or Delivery. Delivery $50 + 6 Shippng Pick Up $50 Pick-Up can be facilitated for you at the Philippine Consulate General of New York during the book launch event … [Read more...]

Photos: 1st Filipino Regiment, U.S. Army, 1942-1946


  1st Filipino Regiment, U.S. Army, 1942-1946 Source: This photo was taken in the summer of 1943 from the annual yearbook of the U.S. Army's 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment. During this time period, the unit conducted rigorous infantry training in Central California at Camp Roberts and at the adjacent Hunter Liggett Military Reservation. This picture featured a platoon undergoing a "one on one" "Bolo" knife match while other platoon members in the background were on hold. As you can see, this was similar to a "pugil stick" competition which usually takes place in present day basic combat training (BCT). It just so happened that many of the inductees were farmhands in civilian life so they decided to bring their own personal field machetes. Later on, the 1st Regimental commander, Colonel Robert Offley authorized his men to add actual "Bolo" knives to their combat inventory. This weapon had many purposes for use in the jungle other than as a offensive and defensive weapon. For some reason, the regiment was given the title, the "Bolo Battalion." It was fortunate that most Filipino soldiers possessed other martial arts skills like "Eskrima and "Kali" (both stick fighting). Other "hand to hand" combatives like "Judo" were also taught to the troops. This made them much more deadly when they faced their fanatical enemy. Later in 1943, the 2nd Regiment's officers and senior Noncommissioned Officers (NCO's) were officially presented with "Bolo" knives at Camp Cooke by prominent Los Angeles businessmen. The "Sulung" Regiment then became the only U.S. Army unit to be officially awarded these weapons. Note: other platoons in the background awaited their turn for the appropriate match up. "LAGING UNA" - "ALWAYS FIRST" "SULUNG" - "FORWARD" "BAHALA NA!" - "COME WHAT MAY!" "IN HONOR OF OUR FATHERS!" "77TH ANNIVERSARY (1942-2018)” — at Camp Roberts/Hunter Liggett Military Reservation, CA.     … [Read more...]

Photo: Company B of the U.S. Army’s 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiment 1943


Company B of the U.S. Army's 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiment 1943 Source: Shown in this photo were Filipino soldiers assigned to Company B of the U.S. Army's 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiment. While here, they conducted their intensive infantry training at Camp Cooke, California. In this picture, they brandished their "Bolo" knives (all-purpose jungle machetes) in the air. They did this in anticipation of the day when they would finally meet the Japanese and avenge the overrunning of their island homes. Here at their training camp in 1943, a ceremonial event took place when prominent businessmen arrived from Los Angeles. During this event, "Bolo" knives were presented to the officers and senior noncommissioned officers (NCO's) of the regiment. The enlisted personnel were previously issued this weapon and were honing their skills for use in combat. *** The original photo was creased so I cropped it to make it presentable. "LAGING UNA" - "ALWAYS FIRST" "SULUNG" - "FORWARD" "BAHALA NA!" - "COME WHAT MAY!" "IN HONOR OF OUR FATHERS!" "77TH ANNIVERSARY (1942-2019)” — at Camp Cooke, CA. (near Lompoc - now Vandenberg AFB).   … [Read more...]

Philippine World War 2 Collection – FASGI Bayanihan Center, Los Angeles

Fasgi Philippine World War 2 Collection - FASGI Bayanihan Center, Los Angeles In commemoration of the 76th Anniversary of the defense of the Philippines in World War II, and in honor of the valiant Filipino and American soldiers of the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE), FASGI presents: WWII Legacy of Valor Open Now Thru May 16, 2018 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. FASGI Bayanihan Center 135 N. Park View St., Los Angeles, CA 90026 Ribbon Cutting Ceremony (by Consul General Adelio Cruz and WWII Veterans) Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - 1:30 p.m. This exhibit, curated by Mr. Gil Mislang, features the most extensive public display of periodic field equipment, uniforms, memorabilia, weaponry, posters, pictures, books, films and documentaries about World War II in the Philippines. The items are from private collections from concerned individuals who wish to honor the valor and bravery of the soldiers who served and fought during the war. Everyone is invited to attend. If you'd like to schedule an appointment outside of the posted hours, please send an email to Note: This presentation precedes the establishment of the Filipino American Military Heritage Museum at the FASGI Bayanihan Center.   … [Read more...]

Photo of soldiers assigned to the U.S. Army’s 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment. 1942 – 1946


Photo of soldiers assigned to the U.S. Army's 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment. 1942 - 1946 Photo courtesy of: Pelagio Valdez‎ 1st Filipino Regiment, U.S. Army, 1942-1946 Photo of soldiers assigned to the U.S. Army's 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment. Training with "Bolo" knives in this drill, they went "head to head" against each squad. These machetes dated as far back as the Philippine Revolution and the Philippine-American War. Through history, even Philippine Scouts used these weapons. They were later used by these inductees who entered the Filipino Regiments. When the 1st Filipino Battalion was first formed in April 1942 at Camp San Luis Obispo, California many of the inductees who were farmhands in civilian life brought their own field machetes to the training camps. Lt. Col. Robert H. Offley, the battalion commander was soon promoted and assumed command of the newly formed 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment. Activated in July 1942 at the Salinas Rodeo Grounds, the unit moved to Fort Ord where the 2nd Regiment was born in October. By the winter of 1943, Camp Beale became the next temporary home. And during the summer, infantry training was conducted at Camp Roberts and the adjacent Hunter Liggett Military Reservation. Somewhere in the process, ColNoel Offley decided to authorize and incorporate "Bolo" knives into the combat inventory of his soldiers. Proficiency became mandatory as practice made perfect. This weapon was also excellent for clearing jungle debris as an entrenching tool as well as for offensive and defensive purposes. Intensive infantry training also continued at Camp Cooke, California with the 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiment. Sometime in 1943, prominent Los Angeles businessmen arrived at this post of the "Sulung" soldiers. On this eventful day, "Bolo" knives were presented to the officers and NCO's of the unit. This was done as a publicity stunt to show the American people of the existence of the Filipino Regiments. The 2nd Regiment now became the only official unit in U.S. Army history to be presented "Bolo" knives for use in combat. The enlisted men had previously trained with these field machetes. Both regiments were now armed with these deadly Filipino weapons. And testing would be conducted in the upcoming battles of the Southwest Pacific Area of Operations. "LAGING UNA" - "ALWAYS FIRST" "SULUNG" - "FORWARD" "BAHALA NA!" - "COME WHAT MAY!" "IN HONOR OF OUR FATHERS!" "76TH ANNIVERSARY (1942-2018)” — at Camp Roberts/Hunter Liggett Military Reservation, CA   … [Read more...]



    “CHARGE!” PHILIPPINE SCOUTS AND THE LAST HORSE CAVALRY CHARGE: By: Dwight Jon Zimmerman Courtesy of: 1st Filipino Regiment, U.S. Army, 1942-1946 Facebook Group. A place for the children of the men of the Regiments to gather to honor and share memories of their Fathers with each other. The only way we will be able to keep the Regiments' legacy alive is to be able to pass on the stories of the men who served to the children who will follow us.   “CHARGE!” PHILIPPINE SCOUTS AND THE LAST HORSE CAVALRY CHARGE: By: Dwight Jon Zimmerman On January 3rd, 1942, Lt. Gen. Masaharu Homma’s 14th Japanese Army captured the Philippine capital of Manila and was threatening to cut off the strategic retreat of Lt. Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s American and Philippine troops to the Bataan peninsula. To prevent this disastrous possibility, the elite Philippine Scouts were given the dangerous task of fighting a delaying action. Organized in 1901 and commanded and trained by U.S. Army officers, the Philippine Scouts originally fought rebellious Moros who lived in the southern Philippine islands. By the time of the Japanese invasion, the 12,000-strong Philippine Scouts had a reputation of being a crack unit. Twenty-four (24) year old Lt. Edwin Price Ramsey was one of the American officers attached to the Philippine Scouts, serving as the commanding officer of a platoon in the 26th Cavalry Regiment (Philippine Scouts). Born in Illinois, raised in Kansas, Ramsey had graduated from the Oklahoma Military Academy, where he developed a love for polo. In June 1941, he volunteered for service with the 26th Cavalry because he had heard they “had an excellent polo club.” Shortly after the Japanese landed in December 1941, Ramsey’s platoon was ordered north, where it conducted vital reconnaissance and assisted in rear guard skirmishes. On January 15th, 1942, Ramsey and his troops were looking forward to some rest and relaxation following a demanding reconnaissance mission. But a counterattack was being planned, and because he was intimately familiar with the region, he volunteered to assist in the assault. Then things took a different turn. Maj. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright, commander of II Corps, wanted to make the Japanese-held village of Moron (now Morong), strategically located on the west coast of the Bataan Peninsula, the anchor for a defensive line stretching inland to the rugged Mount Natib. On the morning of January 16th, Wainwright ordered Ramsey to take an advance guard into Morong. Ramsey assembled a 27-man force composed of mounted platoons from the 26th Cavalry and headed north along the main road leading to Morong. Upon reaching the Batalan River that formed part of Morong’s eastern border, Ramsey’s unit swung west and cautiously approached the seemingly deserted village, composed of grass huts suspended on stilts, with the livestock living beneath the structures. The only stone building was the Catholic Church, located in the middle of the village. At the village outskirts, Ramsey reorganized his force into squads and ordered a four-man point unit to lead them in. As the point unit approached the village center, it came under fire from a Japanese advance guard that had just crossed the bridge spanning the river. Ramsey saw in the distance lead elements of the main force beginning to ford the river. If the Japanese troops managed to reach the village in force, Ramsey knew that his outnumbered troops would be overwhelmed. Ramsey then decided to do something the U.S. Army hadn’t attempted in more than fifty (50) years – launch a horse cavalry charge against an enemy in war. Ramsey quickly signaled his men to deploy into forager formation. Then he raised his pistol and shouted, “Charge!” With troops firing their pistols, the galloping cavalry horses smashed into the surprised enemy soldiers, routing them. Ramsey quickly signaled his men to deploy into forager formation. Then he raised his pistol and shouted, “Charge!” With troops firing their pistols, the galloping cavalry horses smashed into the surprised enemy soldiers, routing them. At a cost of only three (3) men wounded, Ramsey and his men then held off the Japanese until reinforcements arrived. Ramsey received the Silver Star for his action at Morong. He later fought in the Philippines as a guerrilla, and received numerous decorations. He was discharged in 1946 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Sadly the horses in Ramsey’s unit did not survive long. In early March 1942, with troop rations running low and animal fodder almost gone, Wainwright ordered all horses and mules slaughtered for food. Among the horses was Wainwright’s prize jumper, Joseph Conrad. After issuing the order, adding that Joseph Conrad be the first killed, Wainwright turned away and strode back to his command trailer, his eyes filling with tears. *** The historic last horse cavalry charge by the U.S. … [Read more...]

How Filipino WWII Soldiers Were Written Out of History by Rosie Cima


How Filipino WWII Soldiers Were Written Out of History This post was written by Rosie Cima. You can follow her on Twitter here. Original Link: American and Filipino officers in the USAFFE in World War II (U.S. Army) From 1941-1944, hundreds of thousands of Filipino soldiers fought and died under the command of American generals against the Japanese in the Philippines. This struggle included one of the worst military defeats in U.S. history, and a grisly period of imprisonment and occupation. In exchange for their service in the United States Armed Forces of the Far East (USAFFE), Filipino soldiers were promised American citizenship and full veterans benefits. But Congress and President Truman reneged this offer in 1946. Only four thousand Filipino war veterans, out of an estimated 200,000 who survived the war, were able to get citizenship before the retraction was signed into law. You didn’t sleep through this section of US History. It was never taught. The role of Filipino soldiers in WWII has largely been erased from the history books. Building a Philippine Army In 1941, the United States suspected war with Japan was imminent. Whether they ‘knew’ Japan would strike Pearl Harbor is a matter of debate, but Japan had expanded its assaults to American allies. The Imperial Japanese objective was domination of all of Asia, and, having conquered Korea, parts of Russia, China and Taiwan, many of the countries that remained were colonial holdings of Western nations. According to an article in Salon: “[Roosevelt’s] administration had adopted the objective of defeating all the Axis powers and had begun the military and the economic planning to achieve it. He had shared that objective publicly with the American people, a large majority of whom now accepted war as inevitable.” The Philippines was a large American holding in the South Pacific. And what’s more, it was vulnerable. The Philippine army circa 1936 (Wikipedia) At the start of 1941, the Philippines had a meager army. It was a commonwealth of the United States from 1935 to 1946, and the US government was stewarding the archipelago's transition from a territory of the United States into an independent nation. Part of that transition should have involved amassing a Filipino military -- to replace the U.S. forces that had guarded the Philippines when it was a territory. But development of such a force was slow. Had the Japanese attacked the Philippines in January 1941, eleven months before Pearl Harbor, they would have encountered a few thousand American troops and a few thousand Filipinos. Which is why, in the summer of 1941, following the 1940 Japanese capture of French Indochina, the U.S. started recruiting a Philippine defense force like crazy. For the first few decades of the 20th century, because the U.S. “owned” the Philippines, Filipinos were considered U.S. “nationals.” U.S. nationals can work and reside in the U.S. without restriction, carry a U.S. passport, and apply for citizenship under the same rules as other resident foreigners. As a result, in 1940, there were about 45,000 Filipinos in the United States, most of them service-aged, male farm and factory laborers. Military service was then, as it is now, one of the shorter and more reliable paths for an alien to achieve citizenship. From 1941 to the end of the war, the government streamlined the hell out of that path. Filipino men were recruited into the U.S. military and given citizenship in mass naturalization ceremonies. Nearly one third of draft-age Filipinos in the continental U.S. volunteered for the Army. “When I reported to Los Angeles,” one Filipino-American WWII veteran is quoted in the book Filipino American Lives, “they swore me in as a U.S. citizen. I did not even have to file an application.” But the U.S. also recruited different branches of Philippine defenders from within the Philippines. Many of these individuals, and the Filipino immigrants who enlisted in the continental U.S., were motivated by a desire to protect the Philippines, their home, from an attack by the Imperial Japanese. Filipino soldiers in basic training (US Army) But the United States government sweetened the deal: President Roosevelt promised U.S. citizenship and full veterans benefits to Filipinos who took up arms against the Japanese. By late November, the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) was formed as the merger of the Philippine Commonwealth army and the US Armed Forces stationed in the Philippines. General Douglas MacArthur was made commander of the USAFFE. Ultimately, the allied forces in the Philippine campaign from 1941-1942 consisted of 120,000 Filipino troops and 30,000 American troops, some of whom were Filipino Americans. 8 Hours After Pearl Harbor The USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor (National Archives) When Pearl Harbor was … [Read more...]

On Bataan, a 26th Cavalry Troop, consisting mostly of Filipino Troopers and led by Lt. Edwin Ramsey performed the last U.S. Cavalry horse mounted charge to engage an enemy in warfare.


U.S. Philippine Cavalry Scouts at the 2017 Pasadena Rose Parade. California, USA. On Bataan, a 26th Cavalry Troop, consisting mostly of Filipino Troopers and led by Lt. Edwin Ramsey performed the last U.S. Cavalry horse mounted charge to engage an enemy in warfare. This charge occurred at the town of Morong, Bataan on January 16, 1942. 26th Cavalry Regiment (PS) Link to original site: Original coat-of-arms for the 26th Cavalry (PS), courtesy of First Sergeant Charles Aresta (USA Ret.). The red and white mantling signifies that the unit was originally formed from Field Artillery personnel.   History   The 26th Cavalry was formed in 1922, at Fort Stotsenburg, Pampanga Philippines from elements of the 25th Field Artillery Regiment and the 43d Infantry Regiment (PS). The regiment was based there, with the exception of Troop F (which was based at Nichols Field). In addition to horse mounted troops, the regiment had an HQ Troop, a Machine Gun Troop, a platoon of six Indiana White M1 Scout Cars and trucks for transporting service elements. Scout Cars of the 26th Cavalry (PS), 1937.   On November 30th 1941, the Regiment had 787 Filipino Enlisted Men and 55 American Officers. For the rosters of the 26th Cavalry Regt., please click here. Captain John Wheeler leading the Machine Gun Troop of the 26th Cavalry Regiment (PS) prior to the Japanese invasion. From the cover of the March/April 1943 issue of "The Cavalry Journal".   After the Japanese invasion on December 8, 1941, the 26th participated in the Allied withdrawal to the Bataan Peninsula. In doing so, the unit conducted a classic delaying action that allowed other, less mobile, units to safely withdraw to the peninsula. During the delaying action the 26th provided the "stoutest and only" serious opposition of the withdrawal. In the initial landings of the Japanese Imperial Army invasion, the Regiment alone delayed the advance of four enemy infantry regiments for six hours at Damortis, a town in the Lingayen Gulf, and on December 24 repulsed a tank assault at the town of Binalonan, Pangasinan. However, the resistance was not without cost, as by the end of that day, the Regiment had been reduced down to 450 men. Colorized photo of Capt. John Wheeler's troopers. Photo appeared in Life Magazine in 1941. Colorized by Sean Conejos.   Following these events, the Regiment was pulled off the line and brought back up to a strength of 657 men, who in January 1942 held open the roadways to the Bataan Peninsula allowing other units to prepare for their stand there. 26th Cavalrymen pass an M3 tank, December 1941.   On Bataan, a 26th Cavalry Troop, consisting mostly of Filipino Troopers and led by Lt. Edwin Ramsey performed the last U.S. Cavalry horse mounted charge to engage an enemy in warfare. This charge occurred at the town of Morong, Bataan on January 16, 1942. Lt. Edwin Ramsey on Brynn Awryn prior to the beginning of WWII. He led the last wartime U.S. Cavalry charge. Col. Edwin Ramsey recounts how the Last Cavalry Charge came about.   Following this, due to a shortage of food, their mounts were butchered and the regiment was converted into two squadrons, one a motorized rifle squadron, the other a mechanized squadron utilizing the remaining scout cars and Bren carriers. Other actions of the 26th Cavalry are; Following the delaying action down the central Luzon plain, 26th Cavalry Troop C was cut off from the rest of the Regiment, having been ordered into Northern Luzon in an attempt to defend Baguio by Major General Wainwright in late December 1941. In January 1942, the unit, with assistance from 71st Infantry and elements of the 11th Infantry raided Tuguegarao Airfield, destroying several planes and causing enemy casualties. Eventually the unit was supplemented by other soldiers and guerrillas, and remained an effective fighting force well into 1943. The remnants of Troop C would later be integrated into the United States Army Forces in the Philippines-Northern Luzon. Other guerrilla organizations were led by Officers of the regiment like Lt. Edwin Ramsey who ignored the surrender orders (and other Filipino enlisted men) who escaped from Bataan to form a substantial guerrilla resistance force against the Japanese Imperial Army. Rudy Cabigas, a retired San Jose Fire Department Captain, representing a Filipino trooper of the legendary 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts. His father and uncle served with the 26th.        … [Read more...]

Memorare Manila 1945 Monument. Dedicated to the over 100,000 Civilian Filipino’s killed by Japanese Troops and American Bombing


Memorare Manila 1945 Monument Courtesy of:   The Memorare – Manila 1945 Monument commemorates the lives lost during the battle for the liberation of Manila, waged by Filipino and American forces against Imperial Japanese troops from February 3, 1945, to March 3, 1945. The monument was unveiled on February 18, 1995. It stands at the center of Intramuros, in Plaza de Sta. Isabel at the corner of General Luna and Anda Streets. It was constructed mainly through the efforts of the Memorare – Manila 1945 Foundation Inc., a private, non-profit organization founded by the civilian survivors of the Battle of Manila and their descendants. Sculpted by Peter de Guzman, the monument’s main feature is the figure of a hooded woman slumped on the ground in great despair for the lifeless child she cradles in her arms. Six suffering figures surround her, a glimpse of the great despair brought about by the gruesome massacres that were perpetrated all over the city inflicted by Imperial Japanese soldiers on civilians during the liberation of the city. The inscription on the base was penned by Nick Joaquin, National Artist for Literature: This memorial is dedicated to all those innocent victims of war, many of whom went nameless and unknown to a common grave, or never even knew a grave at all, their bodies having been consumed by fire or crushed to dust beneath the rubble of ruins. Let this monument be a gravestone for each and every one of the over 100,000 men, women, children and infants killed in Manila during its battle of liberation, Feb. 3 to March 3, 1945. We have never forgotten them. Nor shall we ever forget. May they rest in peace as part now of the sacred ground of this city: The Manila of our affection. February 18, 1995.” … [Read more...]

World War 2 U.S. Army’s 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment, 2nd Regiment receiving “Bolo” knives in a special ceremony.


World War 2 U.S. Army's 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment, 2nd Regiment receiving "Bolo" knives in a special ceremony. In the annual 1943 yearbook of the U.S. Army's 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment, this page featured the 2nd Regiment receiving "Bolo" knives in a special ceremony. This took place in 1943 at their training location of Camp Cooke, California. Prominent Los Angeles businessmen visited the "Sulung" Regiment to make this presentation. Receiving their weapons were the officers and senior Non commissioned officers (NCO's). The enlisted personnel had already training with their weapons which had been previously issued. The entire regiment paraded waving their weapons in the air past the regimental staff, dignitaries and visitors. Music was provided by the "Sulung Band" and it was indeed a day to remember for families and their guests. — at Camp Cooke, CA (near Lompoc, CA - now Vandenberg AFB).       … [Read more...]

August 1942 Newsreel: US ARMY 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment

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August 1942 Newsreel: US ARMY 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment Video at this LINK:           … [Read more...]

World War 2 Filipino-American “Bolo” knife fighting during a unit practice. U.S. Army’s 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment.


World War 2 Filipino-American  "Bolo" knife fighting during a unit practice. U.S. Army's 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment. Photo property of: Community Relations Liaison for 1st & 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments and 1st Reconnaissance Battalion (Special), U.S. Army, 1942-1946   #LagingUnaBoloMatchUp This platoon was assigned to the U.S. Army's 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment. It conducted "Bolo" knife fighting during a unit practice. The regimental commander, Colonel Robert H. Offley authorized that the members of his unit add "Bolos" to their combat inventory. When the 1st Filipino Battalion was formed on April 1, 1942, many inductees who were farmhands in civilian life brought their own field machetes with them to training. In this photo, "Pinoy" soldiers awaited their turn in a large circle. This was like modern day "pugil stick" fighting. In the rear, you can see more soldiers also waiting their turn. This took place at Camp Roberts, California which was a major field training area of the 1st Regiment in 1943. "LAGING UNA" - "ALWAYS FIRST" "SULUNG" - "FORWARD" "BAHALA NA!" - "COME WHAT MAY!" "IN HONOR OF OUR FATHERS!" "74TH ANNIVERSARY (1942-2016)"     1st Filipino Infantry Regimental Headquarters Camp San Luis Obispo … [Read more...]


SOLDIER JUMPING TOWARDS CAMERA WITH BOLO KNIFE/MACHETE DURING TRAINING MANEUVERS AT SAN LOUIS OBISPO, CALIFORNIA ON 27 MARCH 1944. Photo property of:       1014. Photograph. Soldier jumping towards camera with Bolo knife/machete during training maneuvers. “3-27-44. Allen. Sgt John Petarsky, Bat B 506 AAA Bn wastes no time in rushing the enemy. Sgt Petarsky is squad leader of an Ambush Squad. Photo taken during a Division problem near Morro Bay Calif. 168-L-44-1086.” Army Signal Corps photograph. Photographer: Allen. Camp San Louis Obispo, California. 27 March 1944   DATE: 27 Mar 1944- LOCATION: Morro Bay HOMETOWN: BRANCH: Army … [Read more...]

WW2: Liberation That Destroyed: The End of Manila, Queen of the Pacific By HECHO AYER:

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Liberation That Destroyed: The End of Manila, Queen of the Pacific   By HECHO AYER: An Insult to Religious Filipinos' Sensibilities: Nuns Being Rounded Up by Japanese Soldiers ( With no applause, but with artillery fire, American bombs, Japanese lust and death, Manila, Queen of the Pacific, made her inglorious bow to the world in February 1945. Iconic Photo of an American Tank Forcing Its Entry Into For Santiago, Once Impenetrable (AHC) In a single month, what was built for centuries to being Asia’s first and genuine melting pot was destroyed and forever erased from the world. The capital city of the Philippines became the stage for not only bodily massacre but also, spiritual, cultural, artistic and national eradication. It was in 9 January 1945 when Lt. Gen. Walter Krueger arrived in Lingayen Gulf, Pangasinan in what would become a United States campaign to recapture the Philippines from Japanese claws. By the end of January, much progress has been made by the Americans in reaching the outskirts of Manila namely that of Tagaytay and Nasugbu. They began to make their way up north to Manila. American Tank Inspects Intramuros' Ruins. Notice the Walls of Sto. Domingo (AHC) Backside of Once Marvelous Sto. Domingo Church (AHC) The Manila Post Office (Where my Great Grandfather was Post Master General Before the War) (AHC) On the other hand, the Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese mission to the Philippines, General Yamashita, has moved his headquarters to Baguio. He gave specific orders to make Manila an “Open City” and to simply destroy bridges and other critical infrastructures that may aid the Americans. He had no intention, whatsoever, of keeping Manila. However, Rear Admiral Iwabuchi Sanji disobeyed the orders of his superior and launched a bloody and diabolical campaign to “defend” Manila to the end. With his motley group of Japanese soldiers, a month of suffering and sheer darkness engulfed the city of Manila, victimizing its citizens, its art, its culture, its heritage, its very soul. The Intact Facade of San Francisco Could Have Still Been Restored (AHC) When the Americans were making much advances into the city, the Japanese blew up Manila’s very historic and beautiful bridges, thus virtually dividing Manila into two: the Northern and Southern banks. In the eastern suburbs outside Manila, like Cubao, Kamuning and San Juan, the resistance against the Americans was minimal. My own lola and her two sisters and their mama moved to Cubao during this time precisely because they had a bad feeling of what would happen to Manila during those tense days. All girls, they were luckily spared. They were said to have only witnessed one violent act: the neighbor peeked while the Japanese were making the rounds when suddenly, he was shot in the head by a Jap who saw him. Survivors of Intramuros Try to Escape The Place By Crossing the Pasig (AHC) The National Assembly (AHC) Likewise, although not without giving a good fight, the Japanese were unable to hold on to the northern banks of the Pasig. The areas here were the districts of Binondo, Sta. Cruz, Quiapo, etc. In 3 February 1945, the US infantry, led by Atenean Manuel Colayco, managed to reach the Allied Internment camp that was actually the University of Santo Tomas’ sprawling campus. Its main building became the prison for around five thousand foreigners and Filipinos. The interment camp was captured the following day. UST Concentration Camp's Liberation ( The situation, however, at the southern banks of the Pasig was far different. What is considered Manila’s most heavily concentrated area of rich architectural masterpieces, from ancient Spanish intramuros, to the American’s Neo-Classical corridor, as well as genteel Ermita, this area of Manila became the hiding place of the losing Japanese soldiers who became insanely cruel, killing people with no mercy. The Navy Club on Fire, While Letran Being Heavily Attacked by the Americans Since There Were Japanese Hiding Inside (AHC) According to the eminent Dr. Fernando N. Zialcita, my own professor in cultural heritage studies, the remaining soldiers in Manila, a good 10,000 marines, proceeded what would become infamously known as the “Manila Massacre”. Every morning, the soldiers would get heavily drunk before the roamed the city to kill civilians found in the streets. They began to set beautiful Filipino homes on fire (Ermita, Singalong and Malate became the worst hit residential areas), raid schools, kill orphans and even the mentally challenged. Legislative Building Ruins (AHC) Refuge in a Church (from LIFE Magazine) Suddenly, Manila was in a bloodbath. As the … [Read more...]

The Americans destroyed Manila in 1945 by Ricardo C. Morales, Rappler News


The Americans destroyed Manila in 1945 By Ricardo C. Morales Courtesy of: If the carnage of Manila in 1945 did not happen, we would have had a very different Philippines today. Our momentum ran out and the other nations in Asia eventually surpassed it. DESTROYED. Photo shows the destruction at Intramuros after the Battle of Manila. Photo from the US Army/Wikimedia Commons MANILA, Philippines – It was mainly the United States' casualty-avoidance policy that resulted in unrestrained and indiscriminate application of overwhelming firepower by forces under MacArthur, which caused the utter devastation of Manila and the loss of 100,000 Filipino lives in 1945. The Japanese forces, certainly capable of unequalled brutality and barbarism themselves, also contributed to the outcome, but could not have inflicted the same level of deaths and destruction. This cataclysmic event was a turning point in the development of Filipino society and its effects are more evident today, 70 years after. The figure of 100,000 civilian deaths is a conservative estimate. Some sources cite as high as 240,000. The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki onlykilled 70,000 and 40,000, respectively. The firebombing of Dresden killed 25,000. Only the the rape of Nanking in 1937, where Japanese troops murdered 300,000 civilians, eclipses the destruction of Manila which some historians call one of the tragedies of WW2. The immediate U S objectives in Luzon in early 1945 was to rescue the POWs in Cabanatuan and the internees at the University of Santo Tomas. Once these were achieved, the Americans turned their attention to Manila and this time, it appeared, avoiding civilian casualties was no longer a concern. In the liberation of the internees, the Japanese custodial force of 150 were allowed to leave under a flag of truce. That was the only time the Americans attempted to negotiate with the enemy. Not that it would have been easy. The city of one million inhabitants was defended by a fanatical, death-seeking naval officer who had his previous command torpedoed under him in the Guadalcanal campaign. He was, quite literally, dying for payback. WEAPON. The US Army 240mm howitzer was used in action during the battle of Manila. Photo from Wikimedia Commons Armando Ang, in The Brutal Holocaust writes: "According to reliable evidence gathered from prisoners of war, military personnel, Philippine officials and civilians, and Japanese documents, the rape of Manila was not a random act of melee, mayhem and wanton destruction but an act of coldly planned atrocities by the Japanese high command from Tokyo." Even if this were true, it would have been physically impossible to carry out. The Japanese forces in Manila numbered 17,000. Approaching the city from north and south were 35,000 US troops supported by a few thousand Filipino guerillas. Knowing the impending battle they faced, the Japanese would have been intent on saving precious ammunition. Relentless attack Manual methods of execution like beheading, bayonetting and mass incineration were slow and inefficient. The battle took a month – from February 3 to March 3, 1945. Unlike in Nanking (which took place over 6 weeks) where the 50,000 Japanese troops had complete control of the city, in Manila they were under relentless attack by U S troops and Filipino guerillas. Parsons (2008) writes that “The Yanks were using portable howitzers, whereas the Japanese were using bigger guns from all land-based compass points around the city.” This is not accurate. The Americans had bigger guns and more of it. Portable, yes, but also much bigger. They trundled up their behemoth 240 mm howitzers, “the most powerful weapon deployed by US field artillery units during World War II,” versus the heaviest Japanese field piece ever deployed, the 150 mm Type 38, a 1905 design manufactured under license from Krupp. The latter were used in 1942 in the Bataan campaign but there is no record of their use in Manila. Furthermore, to deploy artillery pieces from “all points around the city” pointing inwards would render these guns vulnerable to piece-meal attacks by guerillas or US forces and such an artillery deployment would have been difficult to direct and control. One statistic that blunts the argument of Japanese responsibility is the low number of US deaths. In the Battle of Manila, “.. which culminated in a terrible bloodbath and total devastation of the city… was the scene of the worst urban fighting in the Pacific theater,” the Americans suffered their lowest casualty ratio ever – 1,010 killed out of a total force of 35,000, or less than 3%. Parsons argues further that the high casualty figures could have been part of a deliberate pre-negotiation ploy by the Japanese to discourage an American invasion of Japan, “that the invasion of Japan could … [Read more...]

1945: The Rape of Manila By: Joan Orendain, Philippine Daily Inquirer


1945: The Rape of Manila By: Joan Orendain, Philippine Daily Inquirer Courtesy of: DEAD bodies could not be buried as relatives fled the carnage. Photo courtesy of Albert Montilla To this day, much is heard of the Rape of Nanking when the rampaging Japanese Imperial Army killed 300,000 from 1937 to 1938, and raped 20,000 women in that Chinese capital. Pitifully few, though, in the Philippines and even fewer elsewhere, know that in Manila, in February 1945, World War II at its agonizing climax brought forth 100,000 burned, bayoneted, bombed, shelled and shrapneled dead in the span of 28 days.  Unborn babies ripped from their mothers’ wombs provided sport: thrown up in the air and caught, impaled on bayonet tips. With rape on the streets and everywhere else, the Bayview Hotel became Manila’s rape center.  After the dirty deed was done, nipples were sliced off, and bodies bayoneted open from the neck down. William Manchester in his book “American Caesar,” wrote that “Once Rear Adm. Sanji Iwabuchi had decided to defend Manila, the atrocities began, and the longer the battle raged,  the more the Japanese command structure deteriorated, until the uniforms of Nipponese sailors and marines were saturated with Filipino blood. “The devastation of Manila was one of the great tragedies of World War II.  Seventy percent of the utilities, 72 percent of the factories, 80 percent of the southern residential district, and 100 percent of the business district were razed…Hospitals were set afire after their patients had been strapped to their beds.  The corpses of males were mutilated, females of all ages were raped before they were slain, and babies’ eyeballs gouged out and smeared on walls like jelly.” From ‘Pearl’ to rubble The envy of other Far Eastern cities before the war, lovely Manila, a melting pot of four cultures and the acknowledged Pearl of the Orient, turned completely to rubble and smoldering ash, wrack and ruin in the 28 days it gasped its last.  Its face changed forever, national as well as city administrators since then have barely seen to its proper post-war urban planning and reconstruction, with the exception of a few government buildings rebuilt to their original states. (Zoning laws? What’s that?) In dramatic foreshadowing, the Irish Columban priests at Malate Church got a taste of what was to come.  An unknown volunteer worker at the Remedios Hospital wrote that on Dec. 22, 1944, “most beloved” Father Patrick Kelly and Father John Lalor, were taken away by enemy soldiers. On Christmas, Dec. 25, 1944, the priests offered dinner for 200 poor folks.  “We had to put up a brave front with smiles on our faces and lead in our heart.”  The missing priests returned to Malate on Dec. 29 to great rejoicing, but they never talked about what strife they had undergone. A timeline of bloody events as they unfolded helps to remind us that war is hell, through which Manila agonized. Feb. 1, 1945: “Roll out the barrel, Santa Clause is coming,” is the note wrapped in goggles dropped by a plane to starving Allied countries’ civilians interned at the University of Santo Tomas (UST). Feb. 3: American troops arriving from Lingayen liberate the 3,700 interns at UST. Japanese troops commence burning buildings and homes north of Pasig River. Feb. 4: Japanese marines commanded by Rear Adm. Sanji Iwabuchi retreat to Intramuros, blowing up all the bridges across the Pasig. Feb. 9: Ermita and Malate are put to the torch.  Nicanor Reyes’ living room is piled high with furniture and drapes; gasoline is poured over them.  The founder of Far Eastern University and some members of the family burn there after being bayoneted, but young daughter Lourdes who has hidden in a closet, and her wounded mother and aunt, flee to Leveriza to join her grandmother.  Against a wall, the four set up a makeshift shelter with burned GI sheets.  In the shelling, Lourdes’ mother who is shielding her, and her aunt, and grandmother, are killed. Sen. Elpidio Quirino’s wife and two daughters, fleeing to his mother-in-law’s home, are felled by Japanese machine guns. THE BATTLE of Manila left the city in total devastation and killed 100,000 Filipino civilians. Photo courtesy of Albert Montilla Jesus Cabarrus Jr. has shrapnel embedded in his skull to constantly remind him of the terror-filled days in Ermita.  Ordered by enemy troops to converge at nearby Plaza Ferguson, the men are separated from the women and children, and brought to Manila Hotel (where Jesus Sr. and other men become water boys, and where he saw Walter Loving, the Constabulary Band chief, stabbed to death). Hotel turns into hell Wives and children are ordered to Bayview Hotel where the only water is out of toilet water tanks, and females are wantonly raped.  Amid screaming when the building begins to burn, the Cabarruses flee, stepping over bloodied bodies … [Read more...]