Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Those World War II Stories

An article about Filipino World War II veterans prompted me to write about my Lolo. It’s been a while since I saw him. Being the eldest grandchild, I know I have this special place in his heart. I confirmed that when I lived with him and lola when I was in Grade 1.

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Lolo Badoy was born in the 1920s to an aging Spanish mestizo and his third wife. His father died when he was on his teens, leaving him and his younger brother to his mother. There was no inheritance left for them. No land, no money. Perhaps the children from the first and second wives got all of the shares. He was not even close to his father’s large clan in Dumaguete City. So he lived and grew in the countryside, working on the farm all day, and getting drunk at night.

When World War II came, he had no choice but to get enlisted in the army, part of the USAFFE. It was at this time that he lost his only brother. He said he might have traveled to Manila. He cannot even confirm if he died. He did not seek him either after the war.

These wartime stories fascinated me. I watched that FPJ movie about the war. Hundreds and thousands of Japanese and Filipinos died. History books tell us about the death march. But what could be the story of my lolo in the island of Negros?

“How many japs did you kill?” I asked him once.

“I don’t know. Perhaps many. We ambushed lots of them in the mountains.”

“Have you seen the enemy eye to eye?”

“It was not a close range encounter.”

“Have you ever been hit by a bullet?”

“Nope. I hid.”

Ooops! I would have wanted to ask more. I want the numbers, perhaps some memorabilia, some loot, or some items from the conquered foe. But then, it’s a bloody war. Survival is of utmost importance.

Lolo Badoy must have been wily. He survived unscathed. Well, I thanked God he survived. He got himself a beautiful wife right after the war. Then he returned to tend a farm he did not own. They had 10 children and my mom was the 2nd eldest daughter.


iskoo said...

nakipag kwentuhan ako sa lolo ko nitong mga nakaraang araw lang, tinanong ko kung ano ang isa sa mga experiences nya sa panahon ng hapon. sabi niya yung nililigawan daw niya sa bataan ay nasabugan ng granada ng mga hapon, kwento nya ang ganda raw talaga nung nililigawan nya halos maging sila na bago siya namatay. iniisip ko kung sila kaya nagkatuluyan ng lolo ko, asan kaya ako ngayon?

snglguy said...

I guess every family have their own war stories to tell. Whether it was about heroism or the mundane day to day life during the Japanese occupation.

vernaloo said...

Thank God for Lolo Badoy we got Lazarus in the blogosphere :)

zherwin said...

my lola always tells us how hard it was during the japanese occupation, according to her it was like living on a day-to-day basis and they are not sure if they can make it the next day. i hope a similar thing will no longer happen in the future.

Lazarus said...

iskoo, naalala pa pala ni lolo mo love nya nung giyera. kilig pa siguro sya nung ikinwento nya sa yo.

snglguy, you're right. but there are those who are not proud of their stories.

verns, ha ha. thank God lolo did not get himself killed.

zherwin, i can't imagine how we are to survive world war III. Even if we are to hide in the moon, some missiles may even reach there.

Swipe said...

I think my lolo was a boy of 12 or 13 during the war so he didn't have to go fight. He told us about seeing a lot of airplanes while he was on his way to school one day. During the occupation they mostly continued living their lives. he still went to school and helped out in the farm that his father worked on. so no was stories for us?

lazarus said...

swipe, there were areas with fewer war actions. For my lola (father's side), life went on as usual in their farm in a town in southern cebu. They heard planes passing by and they were given instructions to hide everytime they see one, or when they hear announcements that the japs are coming.