I have been to two other tunnels in Cebu City used as shelter, probably by the Japanese in World War II. One is in the hill overlooking the Eco-tech Center in Sudlon in Barangay Lahug and the other is in a hill in the mountain barangay of Sapangdaku, Cebu City.
I went inside the Sudlon tunnel in, if I remember it right, 1980. I was still a student of Southwestern University but already active in student activism. We were talking about possible “safe” areas to hold our study sessions when a student at the then Sudlon Agricultural School told us about the tunnel. We decided to go there.
The tunnel was high enough in some portions for us to stand up. It wasn’t like the tunnel in Banawa in that its insides was not concreted. But the Sudlon tunnel was longer and winding, although we were not able to survey its entire length. There were compartments that looked like rooms with mounds that seemed to serve as chairs and tables.
We stayed there for several hours discussing the problem of the youth-student sector and the three basics of imperialism feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. Recalling that study session made us laugh. We later found out that using torches for lamps in an almost confined setting like a tunnel resulted in black soot filling the insides of our noses.
The tunnel in Barangay Sapangdaku we discovered in 1983 or 1984. I was with the propaganda staff of the underground (UG) movement. We were looking for a secret place to print the UG paper Pakigbisog and to reproduce UG reading materials. The farmers told us about a tunnel that was already partly filled with soil near the top of a hill.
The tunnel was short, barely ten meters in length. Its eastern opening faced the shoreline of Cebu City and its western opening faced the rows of mountains going to Balamban town. One theory had it that it was a tunnel for sentries because of its strategic position. With the help of the farmers, we cleared the tunnel of soil and got enough room to bring in the mimeographing machine and other printing materials.
We stayed there only a few days, however. One day, we heard voices apparently of passersby discovering the tunnel’s opening. We stopped work, worried that the strangers might gather the daring to venture inside. We were armed, of course, but I did not like the idea of us “arresting” an innocent person just because he strayed into a lion’s den, sort of.
Fortunately, the strangers left. But the incident made us realize that the tunnel was not a secure place for our kind of work. We went back to basing in a farmer’s house where we were immediately informed of threats to our security. I would like to think that the soil has again reclaimed the tunnel and that nobody there ever remembers it exists.
—Candido O. Wenceslao, August 6, 2007