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Showing posts from March, 2013

Days of infamy

The firestorm that flared in the Hawaiian mainland at 2:30 a.m. on December 8, 1941 crept eastward like unfolding dawn, leapt from island to island through the Pacific like a contagion. In Calamba over 8,000 kilometers away from Pearl Harbor, the faithful heeded the church bells tolling the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, calling the flock to celebrate the forthcoming birth of a Saviour.
In the next three years, Calamba townsfolk would writhe under the heel of the new invaders, cry unto the skies for succour-- the new conquerors would seek to hold an entire nation in thrall. It would be three bleak years under another alien horde that would be struck again and again by a people subjugated, vanquished. But, these people just wouldn’t be bowed—not even by a superior army who struck like lightning…
As the Calamba faithful bowed in prayer on that fateful day, fire and metal hurtling off Japanese incendiary bombs were bringing the cities of Baguio and Davao to their knees… Too, key targe…

Like sheep led

EVEN crack troops of the Japanese Imperial Army were never known to be dead shots. Imperial foot soldiers relied on the bolt-action Arisaka rifle— dubbed in derision as “pakbung’ by wartime elders who survived the dark days of the Occupation. Weighing about four kilos, it was not too hefty to lug around or do fancy rifle drills with. In the heat of gun battle, the Arisaka was, to weapons experts, more of a laughing stock than an assault tool meant for mayhem.
Why, last hold-outs Bataan and Corregidor in 1942 were overran by heavy artillery and aerial bombardment— it was sheer superiority in numbers of marauding Japanese infantrymen that mauled the dying, sick or starving Filipinos and Americans too ill-equipped, too famished or too drained of resolve to put up a fight. The Arisaka that spat out corn kernel-size .25 slugs didn’t strike fear among Filipinos; pakbung was seen as strictly for finishing off a fallen guerrilla or helpless civilian at close quarters.
Fitted with a 20-inch bayo…