Sunday, May 29, 2011

War Stories- Were the amulets effective during the war ?

 Dear insansapinas,

Tomorrow is Memorial Day in the United States. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. soldiers who died while in the military service. It was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars.

This morning, the movie of Gregory Peck, MacArthur, a story about the return of the General in the Philippines as promised during World War 2 is being shown in the AMC network.

So where are the amulets, I am talking about? Patience Mr. Watson.

My two uncles who were UP students when the Second World War broke out enlisted in the military. They were the frontliners. Sila raw ang unang binabala sa kanyon. They were beheaded by the Japanese Imperial Army. My grandparents decided to go back to Bicol when life became hard in Manila.

The island in Bicol was not practically a ghost town when the American companies used to have their logging concessions in that part of the country sailed back to USA. It was already occupied by the Japanese. There were hospital facilities and other amenities that all they did was to bring their night bags to settle down. The deep seashores made their transfer from one island to another very convenient. Remember my story, The Sailboat?

At this point in time, the American and Filipino soldiers were either killed or became prisoners of war. Believing in the promise of I SHALL RETURN by MacArthur, the Philippine soldiers employed the guerrilla warfare until the help arrived. According to wiki, it is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians (or "irregulars") use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and less-mobile traditional army, or strike a vulnerable target, and withdraw almost immediately.

My father who was barely out of his teens joined the guerilla when he passed its initiation. The initiation was to kill a MAKAPILI ( a Filipino who was a TNT-turo ng turo sa mga alam nilang sundalo o guerilla). When he used this kind of initiation to another young man, the person could not sleep the nights after. He could still remember the death rattle sound  and the last gasp for life by the MAKAPILI.

True to the strategies by guerilla movements, my father's group  refrained from big military engagement lest the civilians would suffer the reprisals. It was their group who helped the civilians evacuated when the Japanese soldiers were retreating to the boondocks. IT WAS at this time when MY FATHER MET MY MOTHER (Parang HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER sitcom). They were tired and hungry. Guerillas gained the support of the people. So whenever they could, they offered them food and temporary lodging.
My father's group had a close encounter with Japanese soldiers that they had to throw away the newly cooked food in their camp; flattened the place to hide any evidence that there were people who were "camping" in that area and then they jumped at the cliff. Buti na lang dagat ang binagsakan nila.  He was shouting daw evacuate when the new kid in the block asked what EVACUATE means.

Before my father and his group left, my grandparents asked him to take my mother. The Japanese soldiers were very aggressive and fierce the last few months of the war. They did not spare even young ladies. My mother could be mistaken as a boy. She was hardly five feet and thin. Mukha raw siyang hanger pag sinuotan mo ng uniporme. Yes, Virginia, their guerilla group was recognized by the US military. But then, they always wore disguises. Her mission as in Mission impossible in the guise of a boy who played baseball with the Japanese soldiers was to report how many Japanese were in town. My mom said that some Japanese soldiers especially those who were young and probably were students too were polite.  She barely recognized my father's WANTED poster by the Japanese plastered all over the plaza. Sabi niya parang kilala niya. Notorious kasi siya pagdating sa ambush. And that was why we changed our last name, Virginia.

Nasaan ang amulet. Kulit eh.

It was the worst night of the war. Japanese were retreating. Filipino civilians were evacuating. My father was helping my mother's family-my grandparents and great grandmother.Sipsip siyempre.

While fleeing, my great grandmother tripped and could no longer stand up. She advised the family to leave her. My father asked my grandparents and my mother to run. (Para bang pelikula, ahahahaha, ala Fernando Poe. Kaya ba paborito niya si Fernando Poe at hindi si Erap? OOOps).

My father stood up and shielded my great grandmother with his body. The Japanese soldiers merely passed them as if they were invisible.ala Ramon Revilla naman ito. Sr.

And they were really invisible. My mother said that my father had an amulet known as TAGULIWAS.

During peacetime, he discarded it. Baka kasi gamitin niya pag-iwas sa mga collectors. hehehe.

Come Peace Time (that was what they called the era after the war), military officials came to my grandparents to ask for documents of my uncles. Tutulungan daw makakuha ng pera sa US. That was the last time they saw them. When the family inquired later, they recognized them as high ranking officers in the military. Talaga naman noon pa uso na ang dayaan sa mga taong walang masyadong resources. My father was entitled to something which could have been used my eldest brother to go to the university. But until he died, we never heard of it.

So don't be too hard on me when I wish for an amulet. May gusto lang akong parusahang mga tao. Isa pa it must be the reason why I aspire to become a superheroine like Darna. Do you know that my older brother  fought in Vietnam in the early 70's. He was also barely out of his teens.  But that is another story?


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