From Iloilo to Sendai with Compassion


Sendai Airport CCTV capturing the tsunami engulfing its tarmac (video courtesy of Russia Today)

On March 11, 2011, the world was shocked and awed again with nature’s raw awesome power as Japan’s Tohoku region was rattled by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake, and after that-the sea gobbled up cities, towns, farms and people — seven meter tsunami has changed the Japanese psyche and landscape forever. The aftermath was devastation and death. Japan’s worst crisis since the end of World War II.

Iloilo Airport was brought by the cooperation between the Japanese and the Filipinos

What I couldn’t believe was that even Sendai Airport was like a sitting duck in nature’s fury as its runway was submerged in sea water of debris and destruction. Come to think of it, the airport is already located more than a kilometer away from the coast (the tsunami was reported to have reached as far as 10 kilometers inland!) In a way, Sendai Airport reminds me of Iloilo Airport…however its far from the coast line and was constructed with Japanese backing and aid.

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La Conquista de Corregidor: The Guns and Christmas 1941


All right, all right…you may be wondering why the introduction for this article was with Felipe De Leon’s Christmas Carol “Payapang Daigdig?” Nope, its not that I’m forcing it to fit on Christmas (or this article was meant to be posted on Christmas eve). The song was made out of bombardment of Manila in 1945, when the maestro woke up one morning with such devastation that engulfed the whole city-world’s second most destroyed. We also have to remember that it was during Christmas of 1941 that the Philippines was invaded by the Japanese imperial troops and bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. These stories of melancholic Christmas intertwined with Corregidor’s embattled past. As we head on for our tour, one December morning, I can feel the sirens and the cool breeze…however with more tension.

Battery Way

Our first stop was the Middleside area of Corregidor. Its a plateau between Topside and the coastline. It is here were you can find the second longest military barracks in the world at that time, the MiddleSide Barracks, which houses several Filipino and American troops at that time. Near it was a reservoir disguised as a tennis court. A few meters away from it, is the ruined building of the YMCA. The area is a camping ground for most excursionists and scouts.

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