Sked set for General Douglas MacArthur Week
75th Jubilee of Breakout from Corregidor
The local government units of Cagayan de Oro City and Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon are now in the thick of preparations for General Douglas MacArthur Week.
“This marks the 75th anniversary of General MacArthur’s breakout from Corregidor when he rode the PT Boat to Cagayan, Misamis and eventually reached Australia by B-17 bomber,” said Dr. Erlinda M. Burton, chairperson of the Cagayan de Oro City Historical & Cultural Commission (Hiscom) which is coordinating the event.
On March 11, 1942, General Douglas MacArthur, his family and general staff ran the Imperial Japanese Navy blockade and arrived in Macabalan Pier at Cagayan, Misamis at 7:00AM of March 13th. After sweating it out in Del Monte, Tankulan (present day Manolo Fortich) for four days waiting for their flight to Australia, the party finally boarded two B-17E bombers which brought them safely to Batchelor Field, Northern Territory in Australia.
On his way to Melbourne, MacArthur met journalists in Terowie, South Australia where he uttered what has probably become the most famous phrase to come out of World War II: “I Shall Return!”
To celebrate the 75th Diamond Jubilee of MacArthur’s Breakout, the Cagayan de Oro City Council has officially declaredMarch 13-17, 2017 as “General Douglas MacArthur Week.”
A week-long schedule of events has been coordinated by the Hiscom starting with the re-enactment of MacArthur’s Arrival in Macabalan Pier & Convoy to Del Monte, Tankulan (Manolo Fortich) on March 13.
Spectators will be treated to a spectacle of World War II vintage vehicles such as Willys MB jeeps ridden by reenactors dressed in military uniforms of the time (March 1942) and armed with vintage weapons like the BAR, Garand, Thompson submachine gun and Springfield 1903 rifle as the convoy winds its way along Julio Pacana Street and C.M. Recto Avenue and up to Sayre Highway to Dicklum, Tankulan (now Manolo Fortich) where a whole day activity has been planned by the LGU of Manolo Fortich as part of its Centennial celebration as a municipality.
On March 14-17, the movies “Unsurrendered 2” and “Valor: The Legacy of Col. Emmanuel V. De Ocampo” by the Film Production Company Spyron-AV Manila, will be screened for free every morning at 8AM and 10AM in all Centrio Ayala Cinemas.
These documentaries tell the stories of the forgotten Filipino Guerrillas who fought against the Japanese during WWII. Written and directed by Bani Logroño, a Kagay-anon.
The Hiscom is coordinating with the DepEd Division of Cagayan de Oro to bring high school history students to watch the films. The Field Service Extension Office-Region X of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) is also coordinating to bring WW2 veterans and their kin to the free screenings. A symposium will be held after each screening with the film maker and WWII veterans to answer questions from the audience.
History students, teachers, researchers and World War II enthusiasts are invited to attend a series of symposiums on how it was in Mindanao during the time.
These include “Guerrilla Daughter” by Virginia Hansen Holmes on 10AM Tuesday, 14 March at the Centrio Activity Center.
Ms. Hansen is the President of the American Guerrillas of Mindanao Descendants Group (AGOM) and will share her personal experience her family spent in Lanao, Misamis Oriental and Surigao from the late 1930s through WWII. Her Dad operated a sawmill in Lanao while her three older brothers attended Ateneo de Cagayan (present day Xavier University) while her sister attended Lourdes Academy (now Lourdes College).
The Hansen family later moved to northern Surigao where her father worked as Plant Superintendent of a gold mine. Her father and two elder brothers were guerrillas in Wendell Fertig’s group during WWII.
Ms. Hansen will again lecture on Wendell Fertig and his Guerrilla Forces in the Philippines (Fighting the Japanese Occupation 1942-1945), a book written by her husband Kent Holmes the following day, Wednesday, 15 March at 10:30AM at the Centrio Mall Activity Center.
The book is an in-depth study of Col Wendell Fertig and the challenges he had to overcome while organizing and leading the 10th Military District in Mindanao and contains valuable research material for those interested in historical details about the guerrilla resistance movement in Mindanao during WWII — SPYRON submarine missions, radio communications, coast watcher stations, etc.
Kent Holmes is a retired Central Intelligence Agency officer and a member of CIA’s Senior Intelligence Service. He served overseas for 15 years in six countries, including two years in Laos supervising paramilitary operations in northwest Laos. He lives in Falls Church, Virginia and is married to Ms. Holmes.
Ms. Hansen’s presentation will be followed at 2PM of the same day at the same venue by Finding Our Heroes (The Brig. Gen. Francisco Licuanan, Jr. Memorial Collection Philippine Guerrilla Files from the US National Archives) to be presented by Marie Vallejo, Head Researcher.
Having worked with Intel, Ms. Vallejo has helped digitize extant records of Filipino soldiers during WWII. Through her extensive research, many Filipino veterans have qualified for more benefits from their service during the war. She renders another lecture on the same topic on Thursday, 16 February at 10:30AM at the Liceo de Cagayan University Library.
Another interactive event awaits on Wednesday, 15 March with the launching of the MacArthur Breakout Exhibit at 10AM at the 3rd floor foyer of Centrio Mall.
The exhibit will feature pictures from the MacArthur Memorial of Norfolk, Virginia through the Cagayan de Oro City Committee of the Norfolk Sister Cities Association, the Cagayan de Oro City Historical & Cultural Heritage Commission and Cagayan de Oro MacArthur Memorial Core Group and relics from local collectors.
Visitors will get a first-hand look at pictures of MacArthur’s time in Del Monte while he was waiting for his B-17 ride to Australia, weapons, uniforms and other gear of the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) and Japanese Imperial Army.
Another exhibit will be opened on Thursday, 16 March at the Liceo de Cagayan University Library focusing on Mindanao Guerrillas especially local heroes like Col. Fidencio Laplap, the Tiano Brothers, the Montalvan Brothers, Maj. Angel Limena,Pastor and Jake Ilogon, Salipada Pendatun and Busran Kalaw.
Not the least, an Eyesight 20/20 Optometric Mission will be conducted on March 15-16 at the J.R. Borja Memorial General Hospital from 8am-4PM daily. This is a free Eye Care Medical Mission led by Dr. Chris Buniel, president of the Optometric Association of the Philippines (OAP) for a maximum 300 patients.
Newly purchased reading and prescription eyeglasses will be dispensed to deserving indigent patients—MMM’s tribute of friendship to Kagay-anons. Sponsored by Montero Medical Missions in coordination with the Cagayan de Oro Eyesight Board, Optometric Association of the Philippines – CDO-Chapter, Rotary Club of Cagayan de Oro (Mother Club), J.R. Borja Memorial General Hospital, Cagayan de Oro Eyesight Board and PVAO FSEO-10 office.
The week’s events come to a close with a Thanksgiving Mass at the St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral to be officiated by Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, S.J, and Fr. Daniel Coronel, SSJV.
The week concludes with a Thanksgiving Program and 75th Diamond Jubilee Commemorative Dinner at Casa Real, VIP Hotel. The program will include the recognition of Mindanao Guerrillas and Veterans who fought the Japanese Occupation.
General Douglas MacArthur Week is a joint project of the Cagayan de Oro Historical & Cultural Commission, Cagayan de Oro City Tourism Council and Manolo Fortich Municipal Tourism Office, in coordination with General Douglas MacArthur Foundation (Norfolk, Virginia); Norfolk Sister City Association (NSCA, Norfolk, Virginia); Cagayan de Oro City Tourism Council, Cagayan de Oro City Tourism & Cultural Affairs Office, Cagayan de Oro City Council Tourism Committee, Manolo Fortich Municipal Board Tourism Committee; Rotary Club of Northern Bukidnon, Rotary Club of Cagayan de Oro, and Department of Education Cagayan de Oro City Division of City Schools.
The organizers would also like to recognize the contribution of the following sponsors: Philippine Ports Authority, Montero Medical Missions, Philippine Veterans Bank, Centrio Mall, Ayala Mall Cinemas, 4th Infantry Division (Philippine Army), Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao (Philippine Navy), UC-1 Corporation, Cebu Pacific Air, Smart Telecommunications, Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines, Davies Paints Philippines, Seda Centrio, Liceo de Cagayan University, V.V. Security Agency, STEAG State Power Inc. and Ms. Gigi G. Go.