|20 My Sister's VersionI wanted to learn more
about some details of the February war so I e-mailed my sister Sang in Illinois, inquiring
After a few days, she replied with several
pages long of Internet research that she said she did about the topic using Yahoo and
Lycos and Webcrawler. She was sorry she could not find any much material about the event
itself, but here were some related literature about Sulu and about American wars in the
Philippines in the early to middle 20th century:
PROVINCIAL PROFILE OF SULU
Capital : Jolo
Area : 1,600 sq. km.
Population : 470,000
Cities : none
No. of Towns : 18
Sulu lies midway between Basilan and
Tawi-Tawi in southern Mindanao. It is surrounded by the Sulu Sea on the north and west,
the Mindanao Sea on the east, and the Celebes Sea on the south.
The province consists of four island
groups - Jolo, Pangutaran, Tapul, and Samales - that cover 157 islands and islets. Jolo is
the name of the capital town, the island on which the town is located
What a Way to Spend a War: Navy Nurse POWs
in the Philippines
Dorothy Still Danner
Reviews and Commentary From The Publisher:
Nonfiction Large Print Edition
By the time Corregidor fell in 1942,
prisoners of the Japanese in Manila included eleven U.S. Navy nurses. They endured
They Were Expendable
William Lindsay White W.L. White
Reviews and Commentary From The Publisher:
A national bestseller when it was
originally published in 1942 and the subject of a 1945 John Ford film featuring John
Wayne, They Were Expendable offers an account of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Three's
heroic actions during the disastrous Philippine campaign early in World War II
I protested to Sang, "No, no, I do
not need any Harrison Ford film for my book. And do not give me your scholarly doctoral
dissertation piece about it either. Just tell me what it was like spending
Valentines in a war with whatever details you can remember, especially the dates,
sort of like a school What I did last summer composition.
After a couple more days, she e-mailed me
this school-composition account:
February 28, 1999
Dear Kah Jun,
Salaam. Sorry for the
delayed response to your message. I was replaying the event in my mind which is both a
frightening and exciting experience for a 12-year old kid during that time. I'm not really
sure when the events started, probably the first week of Feb. (4?), however you can also
ask Mamang and Papang. I can however remember our great grandmother's death on Dec. 29
(Innocence Day), few months before the war. Then the rest of the kids were taken by Papang
to Zamboanga City leaving you and me as the older kids and Amina and Yusra. We were left
behind in Jolo because both of us were waiting for our graduation from elementary and high
school and the 2 small kids were just too young to be separated from Mamang.
If I recall it correctly,
a loud boom at the airport followed by a barrage of gunfire were heard in the early
morning. We stayed in the house for one day and one night (without electricity) before it
got burned down the following day in late afternoon. Most of the time during the day we
hid under the dining table in the first floor. Little Yus was fond of hiding under the bed
while singing "Mabuhay ang Pilipino". Pah Asmala came to the house to get his
children and he was inviting Mamang to take us all with them to the mountains.
Fortunately, Mamang made a good decision for us not to go.
When the fire finally came
to our house, we threw some of our ready-packed sacks to the other side of the fence where
there was a marshy area while some were just slid down the front stairs. I think we were
able to save most of our belongings because the fire stopped at the balcony of the stairs
and the covered bridge at the front was not touched by the fire.
I think I was only
carrying with me the milk of Yus and Amy during the entire moving around. I remember
Nur-aina, our cousin, complaining about her bleeding shoulder from carrying heavy things
when we were back safe in ZC. We ran to the Protestant (Lopston?) compound across the
street to get away from the burning house but we got more exposed to the danger of being
hit by flying bullets in that open field.
From there we went to
upper San Raymundo to Pah (??) house. We stayed there and had our meal of rice porridge
flavored with sugar or salt. We slept there for a while on floors, tables and chairs
before we were told to go to the general hospital near the PC headquarters because it was
safer there. During our march to the hospital, I remember seeing burnt posts which looked
like lighted Xmas trees at night and walking through a road lined with heavily armed men
with flashlights and peeking through everyone's baggage. I think we slept the rest of the
night at the grounds of the hospital. In the morning, Dra. Estampador, Mamang's
obstetrician and pediatrician helped us get a place inside the hospital. I think this was
already the 3rd day or 4th day? While in the hospital, I could see snipers from
other far buildings running back and forth. At the hospital grounds some people seemed to
be in a picnic mood, frying food and pancakes (there were rice, flour, sugar, oil, canned
foods, etc. that were rationed to the refugees) while some were crying in pain from the
wounds inflicted by bullets.
In the afternoon we went
to the pier and I remember seeing dead bodies lying on the streets, covered by newspapers.
We went to the Bureau of Customs office and I saw some smeared blood and scattered flesh
on the walls. I also remember going into those empty houses on stilts in the pier to
answer the call of nature with Ninang. We had to cross a high and narrow cemented bridge
that I almost backed out for fear of falling into the sea. As late night approaches,
people were scampering to get into the navy ship. We had to hold on very strongly to each
other in order not to get separated from the group. Apuh Dayang (Mamang Anna) who was
tugging Amy with her got her gripping loose and they were left behind. But Mamang thought
that Apuh Dayang was worried of the house belongings left behind and Bapah Abdul was
staying behind any way. Fortunately nothing happened to them and they reached ZC 2 days(?)
later. In Zamboanga, I remember Papang kept on going back and forth to the pier to check
In the navy ship, soldiers
were helping the people climb in and it seemed like I was just being thrown from one
person to another (maybe they were just doing it to kids because they were small people).
We were cramped into the open area of the ship. We just have to put our heads down on our
bags in order to get some sleep. Nur-aina was complaining of an old man who was throwing
out his collected urine into the sea and getting them blown back to her face by the wind.
Well, I think you just
wanted to know from me the dates but I ended up telling my story. You can also try to
juggle Mamang's memory. Mamang was having Wafia that time and she didn't even know that
she was pregnant.