mike in manila - island life

Thursday, April 20, 2006

An old Palawan Post card- christmas 1945!

Some Old views of my hometown - all taken from the Archives of the US Government in the public domain of the National Archives.

Picture of Canigaran Beach near what is now WESCOM as I can see from the mountains in the distance beyond.
The postcard was made for GI's and Airmen stationed on the Island to send back home to famlies in the U.S.
Honda Bay is in the background.

In another picture below was the more common scene at this beach with over 40,000 US troops mostly male - on the island.
Malaria - rampant at that time kept them close to the Base and they seldom really mixed with locals over fears of TB which was another problem.

The Island was major base for pounding Japanese forces in Dutch Harbor and other parts of the Borneo Area it was supposed to be used as staging area for then British Borneo and Brunei or what is now present day.

However Palawan was not as Idelic as pictured for thousands who suffered under Japanese Occupation led by former Governor Hegino Mendoza, who led the resistance on the Island to the Japanese. He was later beheaded not far from where these pictures were taken according to reports that reached his family later after liberation.

The Japanese britality was not only for the locals - the American POW's who were in violation of the Geneva Convention brought to Puerto Princesa were later executed inside a air raid shelter.

Some did escape to tell the tale and it led to the rescue at cabantatuan or the great raid recently made into a movie.

The picture on the right is the mass grave near the air raid shalter that the remians of the massacred POW's were recovered from while above is the gate of the Old Philippine Constabulary camp the Japanese made into the prison camp and Kempetai HQ.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Counter terror - Shangri-la

It is billed as "The first Counter-Terrorism Experts Conference or (CTEC)" meaning it is the first time officials will discuss in a forum effective programs and failures in counter terrorism that are taking place all over the globe.

Setting it in a major resort - one of the most beautiful settings in Asia should focus the delegates attention to prime targets for terror groups in the region have been setting their eyes on.

This is not a time to wander about Mactan Island I can imagine the security level there will be high and traffic to and from the City a bit more than usual. The conference which runs for two days - April 20th – 22 April that the Philippine Government is hosting at the Shangrila-Mactan Island Resort, Cebu.

Well considering the guests - I guess the Pool and beach will be relatively not too crowded.

" In a press statement, conference chairambassadorr Benjamin Defensor disclosed that more than 30 countries will be joining the event in the war against terror and terrorist."
The report release by Philippine Government went on to say - "The Conference’s overall theme shall “Defeating Dilemmas in Counter-Terrorism” says Philippine information agency press release to media.

"Those present will be attending workshops with five sub-themes: Strengthening the Basics; Finding a Realistic Middle Ground; Understanding Regional and Sub-Regional Approaches; Bridging the Gaps and Balancing Assistance; Paving the Middle Way."

" The CTEC program shall follow a plenary – panel discussion format and participated in by experienced counter-terrorism practitioners, policymakers, civil society leaders, renowned scholars, and joined by guests and representatives of participating countries."

Objectives set at this time:

(a) To identify key dilemmas and difficulties in fighting terrorism from global, regional and national perspectives;

(b) To map areas of convergence in counter-terrorism efforts through exploration of strategic and practical responses which address peculiar causes and conditions, harmonize CT capacity-building, and allow states to sustain peace and development strategies while prosecuting the war on terror;

(c) To come up with a declaration, establishing the common counter-terrorism position of experts, particularly the “middle way” for those that live with and take direct responsibility for dealing with the threat.

I'll post updates and information on this as I'm covering the events - albeit from a distance.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

My favorite islands... Getaway

The Sky and sea and sun ...
Honda Bay in Puerto Princesa .. is where I often would bring friends and family when I lived on palawan during my college days and early part of media life.

The sunset across the bay and over the central palawan mountain range is always something in my mind of simpler easer part of my life.

The drive out to tagburos pier and getting onto small boats to make the journey to one of many little spots tourist now track was always a fun filled time.

I miss it sometimes... I also miss the fun nights--- and the stars!
A sky alive with lights so alive I wonder if they still shine so bright that one could navigate when night fishing was a thing to to do.

I also remember the fun of being able to drift and float under the star filled sky while night swimming on the islands of friends or in boat traveling the low waves that never really got too big to handle.

It was only when one went as far as pandan island the waves got bigger...
flying over it many times I often think of what it was like long ago when the beach was the main road for people going to and from places along the coast.

I remember when the highway north was so bad- years ago... One often took a boat to get to San Rafael in the northern part of the city. Then treks by land over the mountains going down to Bahile and onto Sabang Beach and taking another boat to get to the Underground river.

then taking a boat back from Sabang to nagtabon beach... Trekking down to Bacungan and getting back into your jeep you left at Tagburos... I miss those wild wandering days of youth.

Island life... The smell of the tree's ... The wind so clean it filled your lungs and renewed your soul. Till you got a gulp of dust from the unpaved roads.

Thats also a taste I miss... dust washed down with a good gulp of rum & coke and a little calamansi.

Ah... island life of youth.