Vicente Solante can be considered one of the folk heroes of Tudela town during World War II. That was, of course, before he became a politician and one of the allies of Ramon Durano Sr. in the fifth congressional district where Tudela belongs. The association with Durano diluted people’s knowledge of him as a war hero.
I wanted to enlarge the details of the story of his hiding in the caves of Tudela to escape pursuing Japanese forces and his eventual surrender. Japanese soldiers looking for Solante reportedly ended up committing atrocities, one of the reasons why the place became a ghost town before the liberation of Camotes by the Americans.
Unfortunately, Solante’s son Vic, a lawyer, refused to cooperate fearing the history book I am writing would be, in his words, “commercialized.” I didn’t want to go into an argument with him on that so I let it go. But until now I still rue over the missed chance of writing Solante’s World War II story for Tudelanhons to appreciate. Sad, really.
My only consolation was that Vic Solante told me my father Timoteo (Tiyong) was his classmate in the elementary, together with Demetrio Granada, who would later on become Tudela mayor. He told me my father was the brightest in the class. That was an information that made me appreciate my father even more.
I know my father possessed good intellect; he spoke English when he got inebriated. He was politically inclined and well-informed. Unlike Vic and Noy Demet, however, my father came from a poor family and had to work after he graduated from high school. Had he pursued his studies, he would have probably become a lawyer, and an elected official.