Monday, April 02, 2007

Baguio Ko Mahal Ko April 1 Article

Firstly, I need to ask forgiveness from Madam Virginia De Guia for infringing on her article without asking permission from her, though I'm sure she wouldn't mind me posting her article in full. Here's her Sunday article.

As we say goodbye to the month of March, we seem to remember it mainly as the month of ashes on our foreheads, of graduation marches and togas, of the last gasps of chilly Siberian winds, and the first warm embrace of summer drafts. And yes, in anticipation of the multitudes of holy week, the month city officials, businessmen and police get their acts together. Not to mention squads of volunteer groups like REACT and Boy Scouts to help lost visitors.
Few can remember the energies of March 1945. The infamous month of carpet bombing of Baguio by American B-24s. It was six months before the close of the war. I was 29 years old with a two-year-old son and one-year-old daughter. For almost 60 days, American B-24s were raiding our beloved city, razing it to the ground to flush out General Yamashita.
We were refugees within our own city, herding ourselves at the Baguio Cathedral. Make-shift shacks were built around the slopes of the church knowing (or at least hoping) the bombers would spare the refugee center.
It was a terrifying March - an atmosphere that we see only in documentary films from the viewpoint of the bomber's cameras. On the ground it was hell. James Halsema describes the horror: "Few participants have clear memories of the events of March 15. What they remember is endless running, exhaustion, terror, smoke, and dust. Some refugees including seriously wounded people remained in the Cathedral..."
He describes how the b-24s came in single file. Two squadrons discharged their loads from south to north and two others from southwest to northeast. Altogether 170 planes... came to Baguio that day to release their loads... so dense and devastating that they were termed "carpet bombing". I didn't realize that the expression was formed from the Baguio air raids. (Just like the American work "Boondocks" came from our word "bundok.") Pilots reported that "two days after, we were having difficulty seeing buildings through the black pall".
I remember that one stray bomb fell so close to the church, many refugees were wounded. we would return to our homes in the evenings and return to the Cathedral early next morning after cooking our daily baon. Many had dug air raid shelters near their homes -- little cuevas to run into. One day a bomb fell so close to our home and my mother, sitting near the mouth of the cave was buried live. It took almost an hour to dig her out - with neighbors and some Japanese helping. She was brought to St. Louis hospital and she survived.
we had moved several times - from our home on Session Road (present La Azotea) down to the Hotel Plaza (the DBP corner lot), which my husband Victor was managing and later to my sister-in-law Leonila Madrid Oteyza's house in Aurora Hill. When it seemed to be a never ending nightmare, we evacuated finally to Tubao La Union - walking five days and nights. I was carrying my one-year-old Genie on my back, while Eric was carried by my nephew Poping de Guia.
A report on the March 15, 16, and 17, 1945 bombings said: "The heap of rubble, which represented Baguio was no longer the beautiful, healthful, peaceful, or the gay rendezvous in the Philippines. It was with deep sorrow that pilots saw their bombs crashing into swimming pools [sic] (in reality Burnham Park Lagoon), golf courses, beautiful hotels, and other luxuries, which they had dreamed would be ours to enjoy on the capture of Luzon."
Halsema concludes: "Even over 40 years later it is not easy to understand why the US Air Force bombed so many civilian occupied buildings in Baguio on the Ides of March 1945."
Yes I can never fully understand the need for war at all, today. Six decades later, the memories of March 1945 still haunt me - as images of war continue to grace our TV screens. Kailan tayo matututo that World War II should have been "The war to end all wars?"

End of Article. My comments below.

So there it is, a chilling 1945 memory. I can't help but wonder how Baguio recuperated so easily after multiple monstrous attacks. But that made Cordillerans stronger. It's true that only a few remembers that day, but as long as someone remembers.... we'll be OK.

Why did I post this article here? 'Coz it wouldn't take long before Microsoft invades FOSS and their community. Everyone knows (and experienced) their aggressiveness and indifference. We have to prepare for the larger battle to come. War? Oh yes, we're already at war. It started way back in 1980's, and we initiated it. The day Stallman created GNU & GPL and Linus, the Linux kernel, was the day we declared war over injustices and monopoly. We won't see the end of this war for another 20 to 40 years. But we should strive to win one battle at a time. Every convert is a battle won. And every convert is another General waiting to lead an army against the Big Evil.

As for me, I'll be waiting for the D-Day... prepared!