I was sifting through my file when I chanced upon a small message sent by former ambassador Esteban T. Gochan on October 21, 1994 yet. It was about his reaction to an article wherein I mentioned a tunnel in Sudlon, Lahug, Cebu City.
I recall writing about a World War II-vintage tunnel located near the top of a hill just above the now Ecotech Center. The last time I was there was in the ’80s yet when one time we held a discussion session there. The hole was spacious enough and was long, although we were not able to survey its entire length.
We brought bamboo lamps (sulo) inside to illuminate us while we pored over some reading materials. We used to joke about what happened after: our nostrils ended up blackened with soot. I don’t know what happened to that hill and to that tunnel now.
Here’s Gochan’s letter, which I want to save in this blog or it could get lost through time:
“I thought perhaps you might want to know a bit more about the tunnel in Sudlon hills that you described in the second item of your article in today’s (October 21, 19940 issue of The Freeman.
“The tunnel was dug by remnants of the Japanese troops stationed in the Sudlon area during the last stage of World War II in preparation for their defense. In fact it took all of two days–from March 24 to March 25, 1945—for the mopping-up operation of the American troops to clear the tunnel of Japanese snipers holed up inside.
“The encounter was later known as ‘The Battle of Gochan Hill, so-called because the hill used to belong to my late father, Felix Gochan. In the first quarter of the century, a lighthouse stood on the hill to guide incoming ships sailing past the towns of Liloan and Consolacion through the channel on to the Cebu harbor. The lighthouse must have been destroyed in the early period of the war.
“The hill no longer belongs to us. But since my house is located at the foot of that hill, we have come to call our residential compound ‘The Gochan Hill’ (in Camputhaw, Lahug).”