Filipinos and Americans in World War II

This is a long one, but I am sharing with you this view from Peter Field, an American residing in Cebu and who said he is an American veteran (not from World War II). It’s good reading and enlightening, and it gives us a glimpse of the feelings of our ordinary brother Americans:

I am an American and, as such, is a guest in the Philippines. I have NO right to say anything about the politics here. I feel honored and privileged that I am permitted to live in the Philippines, as I love the Filipino people and am fascinated by the culture. To the people of the Philippines, a heartfelt thank you!

Being a regular reader of Sun.Star in Cebu I have seen columns written by a Mr. Wenceslao wherein he refers to World War II as the “Japanese-American War” and that Filipinos were fighting for the US. He seems to be a young man and perhaps did not read history books related to the war.

World War II was NOT a “Japanese-American War”! Courageous Filipinos served alongside Americans in the Philippines to fight the Japanese, not just to defend America but to free the Philippines from tyrannical occupation after the Japanese invaded the Philippines.

Mr. Wenceslao should look closely at the waters of “Red Beach” in Leyte and he would see that Filipino blood is mixed with American blood. Yes, Filipinos fought under the American flag in the Philippines during Eorld War II but right next to them were thousands of Americans who also shed their blood to help them free their country.

He never relates the atrocities committed against the Filipino people during that occupation. But, he should talk to the Filipinos that were alive at that time and read history books, or perhaps visit a few memorials in the Philippines that show the common sacrifices that Americans and proud Filipinos made.

A direct comparison would be the Americans fighting in France, with French resistance forces fighting under the American flag against Germany. When the war was over, a contingent of American forces remained to assist France in it’s rebuilding efforts–at great expense to the US.

The same situation existed in the Philippines. Under agreement with the Philippine Government, the US established fixed installations at Clark, Olongapo, and in Baguio. This was NOT done as an occupying force, but for mutual defense: to assist the Philippines in the face of a new threat. When the Philippine Government asked the US to leave, it did.

Yes, the Americans were at one time a colonial power. That was during our “formative years” and, like a growing child, the US has matured and is no longer interested in occupying foreign lands. Perhaps he should read the book “In Our Image,” which provides extensive information and a fair evaluation on historical facts of the American occupation of the Philippines.

The American people would be outraged if our government were to try to be a colonial power in modern times.

There is a special bond between the American people and the Filipino people. It goes beyond politics or finances. As an American living in the Philippines, I can honestly say that even I do not fully understand it, but I guarantee you it is there.

In my opinion, the compensation due to the Filipino soldiers that fought alongside the Americans to free the Philippines in World War II is long overdue and I am pleased that our new President has taken an active role in securing resolution to the issue.

I am a disabled vet and as such can fully empathize with the Filipino veterans in their ongoing struggle to receive their rightful compensation. As an American veteran, it took me 35 years to accomplish a similar goal. So the Filipino veterans were never alone in their quest.

The ties between the Filipino people remain close and strong regardless of the actions or positions of either government. Look closely, Mr. Wenceslao, at the color of our blood. As an American to a Filipino, I will gladly shed it to defend your right to speak your mind whether you may agree with me or not.


34 Responses to Filipinos and Americans in World War II

  1. Tagabukid says:

    I have this little knowledge about World war 11. I am not sure exactly where I got it, maybe from the Phillippine history or from my father who is also a WWII veteran. What I knew was that, the Filipinos were fighting against the Japanese not for the U.S. but to protect the Philippines against the Japanese who invaded the country during world war 11. The intent of the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii was to disable the US command who could fight against the Japanese for Filipinos because the US promised to protect the Philippines for any threat. It was the Japanese who wanted to own the Philippines not the US. The main reason is that the Philippines is a good path for business and trade. I knew that the Filipinos fought hard and one of them was my father. They never gave up even though Mcarthur left them for so many years. The Filipinos trusted MacArthur with his famous “I shall return”. Actually MacArthur loved and never left the Filipinos. The US was just rebuilding the US troops that was broken by the Japanese bombing at the Pearl Harbor. So the general idea is.. the Filipinos and the US worked hand in hand to protect the Philippines. Let us be thankful to both of them. I am thankful to the new US President Obama for the Lump sum money to be given to the Filipino veterans. I know they seemed to be forgotten during Bush Administration. Even though it is a long time overdue but it is better than never. My father needs it as it helps for his Medical expenses. It gives smiles on his face.

  2. cebuano says:

    Japan declared war on the US after the latter declared an embargo on the sale of oil to the former. This was after Japan attacked Indochina. Japan chose between withdrawing from Indochina or seizing the Central Pacific and its rich resources including oil. So giatake sa Japan ang Pearl Harbor ug uban pang mga US positions to weaken the US Pacific Fleet. At that time, colony ta sa US ug dunay mga US troops dinhi. So naapil ta og atake. Japan did not declare war on the Philippines but on the US nga maoy atong colonial masters at that time. So it was properly a US-Japan war. The Philippines was still a commonwealth and not an independent country. We were not capable of formally declaring war against Japan and vice-versa because dili man ta country. Ulipon man ta sa US. We became independent from US rule only in 1946 or after World War II.

  3. Elmer says:

    My name is Elmer. My wife and I live in Baltimore, Maryland, USA my wife lived in Sto. Nino, PBN, Busay.

    I have been reading about the battle for Cebu by American and Philippine forces in 1945. I am curious to the locations of Mt. Babag and Coconut Hill. From the little bit I can find I can not determine the exact locations. I have tried using Google maps satellite view and also the site, but cannot locate Coconut Hill or Mt. Babag or Babag Ridge.

    A friend of mine has family that the father was killed on Coconut Hill which is either near or part of Babag ridge. He also would like to know where Coconut Hill is located. During the Battle for Cebu the American forces assigned numbers to the mountains and hills. Coconut Hill was near Hill 21 and Hill 22. Coconut Hill may also actually been Hill 21 or Hill 22.

    The Battle at Babag Ridge was some of the fiercest fighting of the war in the Philippines and was the battle that liberated Cebu from the Japanese forces.

    Does anyone know where Babag Ridge, Coconut Hill, Hill 21, Hill 22 are located? Could someone please go to google maps and place markers at the location of Babag Ridge, Coconut Hill, Mt. Babag, Hill 21 Hill 22 and Go Chan Hill? I believe Go Chan Hill is somewhere near Guadalupe.

    I, and others, would greatly appreciate if someone could do that.


  4. cebuano says:

    Babag Ridge is visible from the city. I don’t know if Barangay Babag is visible in Google, but most Cebu City residents know where Babag is. I don’t know Coconut Hill and those other hills. World War II veterans would know that, pero tiguwang na sila.

  5. Elmer says:

    Salamat Candido… but it is a little difficult to see Babag Ridge from Baltimore. 😉

    As a reporter would you be able to find and identify some of the hills and mountains north and northwest of Cebu City for the benefit of hikers and climbers and also those that are interested in the historical nature of the area?

    If someone could place markers on google satellite showing the names and locations of those hills and mountains that would be great. Could you mark Babag Ridge? And Go Chan Hill and Coconut Hill if you could discover them?

    We are comng up on the 64th anniversary of the Battle for Cebu which began with the battle at Go Chan Hill on March 28th, 1945 and continued to Babag Ridge on April 17th.

  6. pinoyapache says:

    I am a regular hiker from Napo to Mt. Babag which I do every Sunday as part of my training as a mountaineer. Mt. Babag is the one having the RCPI tower on its crown and rises 752 meters above sea level. It is the highest point of the Babag Mountain Range which is a landmark of Cebu City. Babag Ridge is now made a road that starts from Garahe in Upper Busay and ends at Pamutan. Coconut Hill could probably be the lower hills located either in the Capitol area, in Banawa, in the Beverly Hills area or in Quiot, Pardo. The numbers in Hill 21 or Hill 22 is the designation given to its altitude by mapmakers. I hope this answers partly your questions. I will try to locate and give you the exact coordinates of Mt. Babag in G-map.

  7. linsa says:

    I guess coconut hill is located in Antuanga, Quiot Pardo.. You can reach Babag Ridge by taking a hike from Napo to Kahugan then to Babag or you can take the second route, from lanipao then cross the mountain of liboron bocawe then to babag,or take a ride from JY square to Babag..

  8. Elmer says:

    Off hand I do not know where Antuanga or Quiot Pardo is located. Not sure if my wife knows, I will have to ask her.

    My wife is from Nivel Hills which is about half way between Marco Polo and Chateau de Busay, right before the Tanscentral or Veteran’s Highway and Paseo John-John intersection.

    Maybe Coconut Hill was the hill between Veteran’s Highway and Paseo John-John. Or the next higher hill to the West.

    Any thoughts, on that?


  9. Paolo says:

    My grandfather was also a WWII veteran and has fought in Cebu and Manila. Does anyone know about Hill 55? That was what they used to call Guadalupe back then, according to my lolo.

  10. Randele Arcilla says:

    The 82nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army was founded on 1942 to 1946 at the general headquarters in Babag, Cebu City.

    The PCA 82nd Infantry Division is a volunteer military force of over 20,000 active troops in reserve. The PCA 82nd Infantry Division was the several units included the the 85th, 86th, 87th and 88th Infantry Regiments, 85th and 86th Field Artillery Regiments, 85th and 86th Engineer Combat Battalions and many others.

    The engagements of the Anti-Japanese Operation in Cebu from 1942 to 1945 against the Japanese forces led by General Sosaku Suzuki during the Battle for the Liberation of Cebu in 1945 between the combined Filipino and U.S. forces including Cebuano guerrillas against the Japanese forces in Cebu.

  11. Randele Arcilla says:

    The 82nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army was founded on 1942 to 1946 at the general headquarters in Babag, Cebu City.

    The PCA 82nd Infantry Division is a volunteer military force of over 20,000 active troops in reserve. The PCA 82nd Infantry Division was the several units included the 85th, 86th, 87th and 88th Infantry Regiments, 85th and 86th Field Artillery Regiments, 85th and 86th Engineer Combat Battalions and many others.

    The engagements of the Anti-Japanese Operation in Cebu from 1942 to 1945 against the Japanese forces led by General Sosaku Suzuki during the Battle for the Liberation of Cebu in 1945 between the combined Filipino and U.S. forces including Cebuano guerrillas against the Japanese forces in Cebu.

  12. Randele Arcilla says:

    Started of Battle of Guila-Guila in 1943 in Compostela, Cebu during the Philippine Recaptures under the Japanese Occupation (1942-1944). When local Filipino soldiers of the pre-war 82nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army was sended and entered in the towns in Compostela, Cebu and helpful to the Cebuano guerrilla fighters and fought the Japanese Imperial forces.

  13. Joanna Aballe says:

    Is there a place called Babay Ridge in Cebu City? I was told that this was where a battle between American-Filipino forces ensued against the Japanese in 1945. I’m just guessing that this must be a mistake because I haven’t heard of a place in Cebu that is called Babay but there is a Babag ridge.

  14. Renato Pacifico says:

    Hold a moment longer! Not quite yet, gentlemen! Before you go I would like to say just a word about the Philippine business. I have been criticized a good deal about the Philippines, but don’t deserve it. The truth is I didn’t want the Philippines, and when they came to us, as a gift from the gods, I did not know what to do with them. When the Spanish War broke out Dewey was at Hongkong, and I ordered him to go to Manila and to capture or destroy the Spanish fleet, and he had to; because, if defeated, he had no place to refit on that side of the globe, and if the Dons were victorious they would likely cross the Pacific and ravage our Oregon and California coasts. And so he had to destroy the Spanish fleet, and did it! But that was as far as I thought then.
    When I next realized that the Philippines had dropped into our laps I confess I did not know what to do with them. I sought counsel from all sides—Democrats as well as Republicans—but got little help. I thought first we would take only Manila; then Luzon; then other islands perhaps also. I walked the floor of the White House night after night until midnight; and I am not ashamed to tell you, gentlemen, that I went down on my knees and prayed Almighty God for light and guidance more than one night. And one night late it came to me this way—I don’t know how it was, but it came:
    (1) That we could not give them back to Spain—that would be cowardly and dishonorable;
    (2) that we could not turn them over to France and Germany—our commercial rivals in the Orient—that would be bad business and discreditable;
    (3) that we could not leave them to themselves—they were unfit for self-government—and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain’s was; and
    (4) that there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God’s grace do the very best we could by them, as our fellow-men for whom Christ also died. [1]
    And then I went to bed, and went to sleep, and slept soundly, and the next morning I sent for the chief engineer of the War Department (our map-maker), and I told him to put the Philippines on the map of the United States (pointing to a large map on the wall of his office), and there they are, and there they will stay while I am President!

  15. Renato Pacifico says:

    Filipionos were a headache to Americans. Americans did not want Filipinos. Above quote from America’s President can never be found in pHILIPPINE TEXTBOOK.


  16. ronreagan says:

    The reason it never appeared in a filipino textbook is because it is a big crock of you know what!

    I am American, very conservative, and very patriotic and nationalistic… BUT…
    I am VERY much ashamed as to what the United States did to the filipino people after the end of the Philippine Revolution and during the Philippine-American WAR.
    Read what President Emilio Aguinaldo, President of the Philippines wrote in his book in 1899, here:

    “True Version of the Philippine Revolution”


  17. Randele A. Arcilla says:

    The 3rd and 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army was established and military active from 1942 to 1946 at the general headquarters in Cebu City, Cebu during World War II.

    During the Battle for the Liberation of Cebu in 1945, Filipino forces of the PCA 3rd, 8th and 82nd Infantry Division and the PC 8th Infantry Regiment was found clearing combat operations and they liberated in Cebu City and Cebu Province and aiding by the Cebuano resistance groups and American forces of the U.S. Army’s Americal Division and fought side by side and defeated against the Imperial Japanese forces led by General Sozaku Suzuki of the Japanese 35th Army in Central Philippines.

    Many casualties of all Filipino troops of the Philippine Army and Constabulary units was over hundreds of thousands are killed and wounded in action during the main battles for liberating in Cebu from the attacking Japanese. However, the Japanese Imperial forces in Cebu on August 15, 1945 was surrender by the combined American and Filipino forces and the main battle and till ended in World War II.

  18. Randele A. Arcilla says:

    The British Crusader tanks and Nazi German Tiger II Tanks was equip for the Philippine Commonwealth military and using for the local Filipino soldiers, officers and tank commanders under the Philippine Commonwealth Army and Philippine Constabulary units and start the main battles for liberated in Cebu 1945 against the Japanese forces.

  19. AICE says:

    Joanna Aballe MAYBE YOU MEAN BABAG – PONG-OL? my grandfather is a WWII veteran 85th inf. regiment cebu area command, my garndfather just pass away last dec 19, 2011. He wrote a book, a months before he died and as we read it these places are involved during the encounter with the japanese in BABAG – PONG-OL, ANTUANGA HILLS, GUADALUPE HILLS AND BUHISAN DAM…

  20. live channels online…

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  21. richard says:

    babag, a barangay exists as babag a mountain ridge a Bisaya term to mean obstacle or cross, numeric hills are codes that could only be known, a book decoding them as hills, 11, 25 etc, coconut hills could simply mean, kalubihan or a sitio or a hill wih coconut. it think its still possible recognizing them

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