More memories of WWII
"Those were dangerous times, indeed."
Before I continue with my recollections about the Japanese Occupation, I would like to acknowledge a letter of thanks sent me by the richest Filipina, according to Forbes. Here is Teresita Sy-Coson, vice chair of SM Investments Corporation. “On behalf of our family, I would like to thank you for remembering our father Henry Sy, Sr. in your column in Manila Standard on January 22 and February 7. It means a lot to us to know how he touched people’s lives. The stories and memories you shared with your readers are priceless—from the time you met him in his downtown store, how you bought your pair of Bostonian shoes, and much later when he shared his dream about SM North EDSA over a cup of coffee at Cafe Elysees in Makati. Thank you again for this gesture of kindness, condolence and sympathy. The outpouring of your support has been a great comfort to us during this difficult time.” * * * As I said in yesterday’s column, my two older brothers joined the guerilla movement against the Japanese in Northern Luzon. They both got commissioned as lieutenants, under the command of Major Conrado Rigor. My family had to move around Abra when we wanted to see my brothers so we would not be detected by the Japanese. Alas, I caught malaria. I thought I would die because of my fever and chills. I did recover, but soon found myself getting yellow. There were also instances we had to hide in mountain caves of Abra to avoid detection by the Japanese. We came to live with some Igorots. It was also the time I suggested to my brothers that I wanted to join the guerilla movement, too. I was already 16 at that time, and I wanted to do my share for the country. But my brothers said no. During the war I saw the best and worst of Filipinos. The best—when I saw the Ilocanos and Igorots fighting the Japanese. The worst, when I saw with my own two eyes how the members of the movement were tortured and butchered by Filipino collaborators. I also saw a town mayor killed by a faction of the movement for allegedly being appointed by the puppet government under President Laurel. Indeed we lived in dangerous times.