Tag Archives: History

The story of Kagitingan: Looking back to the lessons of History in Corregidor


For as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by war – the heroism, the sacrifice, the toll on the human spirit and the lessons behind it. Often times, I would consume copious amounts of books retelling the various stories of war in the Pacific and even in Europe during the First and Second World Wars — devouring page by page by page. One of my favorites was the novel, “Helmet for my Pillow,” written by the World War II veteran and military historian Robert Leckie. Leckie’s book, along with another favorite, “With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa” provided vivid recollections about the war and how it took a toll on the life and spirit of the soldiers fighting for the islands, as well as the many people killed displaced and affected by war.  Both books were later on adapted for the small screen and were used as source material for the immensely successful war series, “The Pacific.”


The Philippines is not a stranger when it comes to the stories of heroism during the Second World War. All throughout the archipelago, men died fighting for their homeland. While numerous lives were lost — what remains true to this day is the deep sense of patriotism and the lessons learned from the past. Nowhere is this more celebrated than in Corregidor Island.

Both Bataan and Corregidor are legendary in the history of war. Despite relentless attacks by Japanese forces in 1942, and without reinforcements coming from the United States, Filipino and American troops fought back for several months, from January to April of 1942, after being overwhelmed by superior Japanese firepower and troop numbers.

Corregidor suffered heavy bombardment from the Japanese Imperial Army for five months. Until finally, on May 6, the leader of all US and Filipino Allied forces in Asia, Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright, led his men in their surrender to the Japanese. They fought as long and as hard as humanly possible. The surrender resulted in 80,000 Filipino and American troops walking more than 100 kilometers from Bataan to Capas, Tarlac where they were interned at Camp O’Donnell. This was the infamous Bataan Death March where out of  80,000 prisoners of war (POW), only 54,000 made it to camp alive.

Today, attractions like the Pacific War Memorial with its Dome of Peace, and the sculpture, Eternal Flame of Freedom can be found in Corregidor in commemoration of the sacrifices and heroism of those who fought there. There’s also the Pacific War Memorial Museum that houses World War 2 memorabilia.  It is now considered the world’s biggest war museum.

PACIFIC WAR MEMORIAL. This was built to honor the valor of Filipino and American soldiers who fought side-by-side in WW2, as commemorated through a sculpture showing a Filipino and American soldier. The Philippines and US flags fly behind them, while the Peace Dome can be glimpsed at the back.
12-INCH (305mm) MORTAR on Battery Way.  This weighs 54 tons and fires a huge shell weighing 1,000 pounds. Battery Way has four 12-inch (305mm) mortars. The original mortars (already destroyed by Japanese bombs) effectively defended Bataan from invading Japanese forces. They pounded the enemy that tried to land on Bataan’s Southwest Coast.

As the Philippines celebrates its heroes –April 7th is Veterans Day, and April 9th is Araw ng Kagitingan or National Heroes’ Day — it is good to remember and revisit Corregidor. It has become synonymous with Filipino and American courage and determination in protecting our freedom.

Walking down history lane is made more engaging in Corregidor via the guided tram tour of the island.  Passing through the Malinta tunnel with lights and sounds show that simulates what it was like during the island’s darkest days during the second world war is something that visitors of the island should not miss.

MILE LONG BARRACKS.  Measuring 1, 520 feet, This is reportedly the longest military barracks in the world. During the American Commonwealth and before World War 2, this structure housed some 8,000 U.S. troops. These ruins are all that is left after Japanese forces bombarded the area



MALINTA TUNNEL. This tunnel is 831 feet (253 m) long, 24 feet (7.3 m) wide and 18 feet (5.5 m) high. It served as the residence of Philippines President Manuel L. Quezon and Vice-President Sergio Osmena along with their families after they fled Manila during the Japanese invasion. Quezon, Osmena, and their families were eventually brought to the U.S. along with Gen. Douglas McArthur via submarine. The tunnel also housed soldiers, medical personnel, and civilians left behind while Japanese forces laid siege to Corregidor.

Corregidor Island, which is a popular historical tourist attraction in the Philippines, is currently undergoing more improvements following a 10-month tourism masterplan by Palafox Associates.

Now categorized as an eco-tourism site, Corregidor is managed and operated by the Corregidor Foundation, Inc. (CFI) under its current chairperson and CEO, Ms. Cynthia Carrion.  It is strongly supported for development and marketing by the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) under the aegis of the Department of Tourism (DOT).

The DOT, TPB and CFI jointly manage Corregidor to remind us not so much of the horrors of war but rather, how high a price we must pay for our freedom and how we must all work to keep the peace.

As an eco-tourism site, Corregidor is not just a repository of history but an island full of fun and excitement.  A fully functional beach resort and campsites are available for families and friends to relive history, relax and unwind. Indeed, history is made more fun in the Philippines!

Like always, April 9 is a Holiday – what could be an even better way to celebrate it by setting foot in one of the places where the men and women before us truly sacrificed for the motherland? Going to Corregidor is easy. Head to the ferry terminal located from the Esplanade Seaside Terminal at the SM Mall of Asia Complex.

For more information, go to www.corregidorisland.com.ph 



My favorite things (Week 1): books, soaps and all things good for the soul

Thought I’d begin a new series for KamikazeeGirl by sharing more of the things that I love. 

Being a typical Taurean, I am the kind of person that can get very stubborn when it comes to the things that I like. I can get very picky when it comes to what I use, more so on the food I eat. Are you also the type that when you like something, you will use it over and over until you tire of it? That’s how I am. 

I have this idea to share with you, via a weekly installment, some of my favorite things and maybe even inspire you to share with me some of your too! Do drop me a note on the comments. 

Soaps with natural ingredients 

My current work is really stressful. There are days when my only means to escape stress is to have my “Me Time” usually spent in the company of my pens, sketch pads or books. That is if I am not blogging or doing any writing on the side. Or I take a bath – a long hard bath where I am not time consciousness hurrying for work–and I take my time enjoying the cold shower. 

I love bath soaps with natural ingredients — like fruits and flowers mixed into the soap bar itself. I love the fresh smell of fruits on a newly opened bar of soap. 

 I am currently using “Flake Away Scrub in a Bath” by Skin Naturelle. This soap smells like kiwi and strawberry and it smelled really good. The first time I opened it, I am almost tempted to lick the soap because of how good it smelled. I’ve been using this for a few days now and I love its effect on my skin. It’s like having a built in loofah or scrub in a soap due to the kiwi seeds which served as a natural scrub. This is perfect to use on dry areas since it scrubs old or dry skin away. Aside from the kiwi and strawberry, the soap also contains glutathione, papaya extract and moisturizers. The fresh smell also lasts the whole day.
I am looking forward to using my “Pretty Me All-In-One Soap” made of tomato extract and glutathione. While getting fair skin is the farthest from my mind, I love it’s moisturizing and anti-aging properties. Skin Naturelle Soaps retail for PHP 130 per bar. 
Heneral Luna: The History Behind the Movie 


I have so much respect and love for the movie, “Heneral Luna” because it made me realize that the local industry is capable of making decent movies. 

I hated the local movies. I find it-with the mindless comedies, slapstick humor, kabit tearjerker sand saccharine fares for the younger set-tasteless and a waste of the PHP230 usual cost of a movie ticket. But then, Heneral Luna came along. 

This movie showed that given an intelligently-done movie, Filipinos will flock to the cinemas and watch it over and over again. Young Pinoys will use social media to invite others to support the movie and refrain from downloading via torrent or buying pirated copies. Given a good movie, Pinoys can appreciate history. Heneral Luna showed that you don’t have to put big, studio names in order to sell a story. This movie showed that there is to the local film of industry than the mindless drivel usually available on screen. The movie has now earned more than PHP240M and still counting, something which was not possible before with local historical films. This early, Pinoys are already waiting for the second installment of the movie about the life of the boy general Gregorio del Pilar. 

I loved the book because it clarified a lot of the aspects of the film, and gave more insights on the life of the fiery General Luna. (Did you know that he is known for his generosity and that Rizal considered him a good friend?) I will gladly support any undertaking related to the film, if only to encourage more writers to publish historical books. For PHP120, it is worth the price and is a very good read. 

CBTL’s Break-O-Day 

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (CBTL) is my husband and I’s happy place. We usually go to CBTL weekly for our usual bonding. This is where we hash things out when we argue and where we usually discuss our plans and dreams for the future. 

Aside from the coffee and tea, CBTL makes the best meals. My favorite is their breakfast menu simply because I love eating breakfast food no matter what time of the day. My current favorite is the Brek-O-Day, a platter composed of big focaccia bread slices, 2 sausages, herbed scrambled egg and a side of salad, served with jam and butter. I usually wash it down with a steaming mug of Genmaicha tea. 

These things usually help me get through an otherwise tough day… Or week. Sometimes, even a cup of hot tea, good food and good reads can restore balance in my otherwise cha price universe. 

What is a Cedula — and what is it for?

During the Spanish era, one of the highlights of the Philippine revolution was when Andres Bonifacio and his fellow Katipuneros tore their Cedulas to signal the start of the Filipinos’ revolt against Spanish rule. That moment in history is called “The Cry of Pugad Lawin” (also known as “The Cry of Balintawak” where in August 1896, members of the secret society of Filipino revolucionarios Katipunan tore their community tax certificates (cedulas personales) while shouting, “Mabuhay ang Pilipinas” in their defiance of their allegiance to Spain.


More than 100 years later and on a God-forsaken Friday morning, I ponder this same thought as I line up in one of the available windows of the city hall to get my community tax certificate or cedula. The Hub and I needed to sign some contracts and one of the requirements is a CTC number. So, five years after I got married, I found myself again needing one.

So what is the Cedula or the community tax certificate? To me, it’s the random jumble of numbers which you need to acknowledge a document prior to sending it to the notary public. But because I was curious, I looked it up and found out that here in our country, Cedulas are considered primary forms of identification, in the same vein as the passport or your driver’s license. CTCs are issued to individuals at the age of majority and who has paid their community tax. During our usual office round table during lunch, I asked what’s the difference between the freaking tax deducted from my salary and the community tax? The cool boss said that our community tax pays for the utilities used by our town or city, like garbage collection, payment of the city security group, fixing of local signs and light fixtures. In my head, I can’t seem to process that I am paying this government twice in order for it to function.

But are Cedulas still relevant in these modern times? The Bureau of International Revenue seemed to think otherwise:

“In the modern digital age of electronic identification cards, does the Philippines still need that relic of the Spanish era, the community tax certificate known as the cedula?

For Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares, the answer is a firm no.

“Sa totoo lang, if there’s going to be any policy reform ay siguro ang unang reporma ay alisin ang hindi na kailangan,” Henares told reporters in Manila during the BIR’s weekly filing of tax evasion cases at the Department of Justice.

“Ang cedula ay isang bagay na hindi na kailangan ngayon. Spanish time pa ‘yan eh. Ngayon nga pag nagno-notarize ka hindi na pinapansin ang cedula kasi alam ng lahat ng tao kahit saan pwede kumuha ng cedula,” she said.

Also called a residence certificate, a cedula is a legal identity document issued by local government units to residents upon payment of community tax (usually P5 for an individual wage earner).

Henares also lamented that her agency, which is mandated to manufacture the cedulas, spends money to print them out and distribute them to the LGUs, but never sees the earnings derived from them.

“Iyong kinita ng local government sa cedula hindi pumupunta ni isang kusing sa BIR [or] sa national government,” she said.

“Hindi ko alam kung saan napupunta sa local government, pero magkano ba ang nakukuha nila?” Henares added.

She could not immediately provide the exact figure of how much could be saved if cedulas were phased out, but said it would be “in the millions.” Henares said the BIR is required to provide cedulas to the country’s more than 1,000 cities and municipalities.

“I think that is an area that is ripe for reform. You remove that,” Henares said.

Introduced in the 19th century during Spanish colonial rule, cedulas replaced the tribute system and were issued to indios after payment of residence tax. People were required to bring their cedulas at all times or risk being declared “indocumentado.”

The certificates took their place in Philippine history in August 1896, when revolutionary leader Andres Bonifacio led his men in tearing up their cedulas, an act of defiance against Spanish rule.

More from: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/302423/economy/finance/do-we-still-need-spanish-era-cedulas-bir-chief-says-no SOURCE HERE

I currently a resident of the Philippines’ so-called richest city, with our current mayor a spawn of a political dynasty with ambitions for the highest office in the land. Considering the number of employed people in these city and the number of people who was in line that day, waiting for their own cedulas, I want to know where these so-called “taxes” are going. The dynasty said that our city is a rich city, and if it is so — then do we need to pay for a piece of paper with no significant use other than to acknowledge a legal and binding document? Can’t our passport numbers or Unified ID Numbers do that for us?

In this day and age where the road to progress is getting wired and wired further and everything online, don’t you think it’s about time that these cedulas get torn up for good?