Those Gallant Igorots: A Video Documentary

Here’s a video documentary on the Igorot soldiers who fought to defend our freedom during World War II. It is produced by a group called Research Mate and the Outstanding Students of the Cordillera (OSCAR) Alumni Community.

PART 1

Part 1 underscores the importance of this video project. Our kids (pero kasama na rin tayo actually) are really clueless about the past and the 1940s isn’t really that long ago. Thank God for the boy in this video who at least knows who the “veterans” are.

PART 2

Part 2 depicts the war so be warned that it has footages of violence. Except for some additional footages, this section actually appears to be the same as the Agi Band’s tribute video to the Igorot soldier which we earlier uploaded here. So maybe the band and OSCAR collaborated on this project.

PART 3

Part 3 presents interviews with two people who are part of this initiative. Not to be nitpicky but what’s up with Benguet being specially mentioned? I’m sure there’s a reason but the video didn’t clarify. Did the then sub-province have more soldiers in this particular infantry regiment? Or is the video specifically directed to a Benguet audience? It seemed odd to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I admire Benguet a lot (heck it’s the best province in the country, no) but if I am going to give special distinction to some place, then I have to be very clear why it deserves the distinction. Hopefully the producers can clarify because, to me, this special mention unnecessarily distracts us from the noble purpose of the project. Its effect on me was this: instead of feeling good about what the soldiers accomplished, I was left wondering about why Benguet was specifically mentioned. Para kasing naging adjunct lang ang the rest of the Cordilleras.

RELATED POSTS: Those Gallant Igorots; It Was Also a Women’s War. VIDEO CREDIT: Research Mate and the OSCAR Alumni Community.

13 Comments
  1. I have tried to asked some veterans here in Kalinga and they say the war effort on the cordilleras is an all filipino and american efforts…Remember that Yamashitas route of escape is in the cordilleras, from ifugao..If i was not mistaken he was captured only in benguet..Kung indi man nagkabaw daytoy nga lakay nga kunana dagiti tao metlang nga nakigubat diay benguet ket adu nga ili, adda taga ilocos,abra,ifugao,kalinga,americans ken syempre adu nga taga benguet ta ili da..

  2. I agree with Nats. I wrote my thesis on WWII Guerilla Fighters, and I interviewed a few living former guerilla fighters who live currently in the US. Unfortunately, they’re in their 80s and 90s but still fighting for the recognition they’ve always yearned for. I interviewed fighters from Abra, Ilocos, Sagada, Bontoc, Tarlac etc. My sole inspiration for this thesis is my grandfather, he was a guerilla fighter, but he never got recognized. I was hoping that the younger generation would be interested to look at what our “apongs” have done for us. It would be nice to write a paper specifically about our gallant Igorots though.

  3. Hi Nats,
    I think Yamashita was captured in Kiangan Ifugao kasi meron silang war memorial doon sa site where he surrendered yata. But I’m not 100 sure.

    Based on your comment, baka naman pala most of the fighting in the Cordilleras happened in Benguet so Benguet was especially mentioned by the video producers. Now it is starting to make sense.

    Hi Kayni,
    Wow, I’m sure that’s a very interesting thesis. Oy you blog about your thesis naman so we will know more about our guerrilla fighters. There’s very few literature about this matter. Too bad about your grandpa its good though that he inspired you to look deeper into the guerrillas’ story.

  4. Don’t you find it sad that History books hardly mention the Cordi? I mean… the Cordi was the lst “bastion” of the Japanese… but it’s not written in any history books. I was informed that Several prominent Igoys aided the first Philippine Republic that’s why Aguinaldo was able to escape to Cagayan(?) Don’t know if it’s true. In case it were, they deserve recognition. =)

  5. Thank you for spurring discussions about the documentary we are completing, and for putting it in your blog. Yes, maybe the documentary focuses on Benguet/Baguio veterans because of the reasons you’ve surmised and also because of the following reasons:
    a) the docu entitled: “Our Igorot Fathers, the Heroes: The Untold Story of the 66th Infantry Regiment USAFIP, NL” was initially thought of as our (the Benguet youth) tribute to our local heroes during the Adivay Celebrations in Benguet. It was first shown during the Benguet Youth DAy during the ADivay celebs;
    b)the final docu is to be an educational material in local schools specially in Benguet,(as we are also thankful to the Benguet Provl SB/govt, provincial school board and municipal govts for their support)..and Baguio, and Cordilleran schools if they would deem it necessary in their local history subjects;
    c) the 66th infantry is usually dubbed as “Benguet’s very own”. The USAFIP NL commanded by Col. Volckmann had 5 subordinate units: 11th infantry operating in the Cagayan Valley,Bontoc, Kalinga and Apayao, 12th infantry in Isabela and Vizcaya, 15th inf in Ilocos Norte and Abra, 66th infantry in Baguio and Benguet, 121st infantry in Ilocos Sur and La Union; d) mostly Benguet people comprised the 66th infantry; e) just identifying the leaders of the 66th infantry, the focus of the film, would make you think of Benguet- the leaders of the 66th infantry were Dennis Molintas, Bado Dangwa, Felipe Tio-tio, Eugene Badival, Morris Fianza, Pedro Baban, Ben Palispis, etc and many others who became prominent statesmen of the province; f) the production team who are all young (16-30 years old) are all from the different municipalities of Benguet- the 2 who were interviewed you mentioned were the project leaders..Betty- from Kibungan and myself- from Bokod/Kabayan. It is our hope that more young people and the young people of other provinces in our region would also take interest in their own stories of heroism and local history and culture; g) most of the production team are grandsons and granddaughters of the 66th infantry members (I for one am a grandchild of 2ndLt. Alisandro Marquez, a platoon ldr (M compnay 3rd battalion) who was then leading operations in Kabayan) and we have embraced it to be our personal responsibility to tell others of their gallantry; h) while we mention Benguet often times in the docu, we recognize that there were people from adjoining provinces who comprised the 66th infantry…even Chinese Filipinos were part of it,these facts are tackled in the docu too- there was cultural diversity in the infantry. The docu is INClusive more than EXClusive=)
    Telling the whole story of the USAFIP NL which covered Cordi and Northern Luzon will be cumbersome so we chose a theme closer to us and to home, so we focused on the 66th infantry.=)The docu really wont be about all the guerillas in the Cordi during the WWII, it focuses on the 66th infantry, but it would tell the story of the bravery, determination and strength of the Igorots who gained admiration from locals and foreigners alike.
    Its also a docu to highlight their great contribution to our freedom and thus they deserve our respect and care for all their sacrifices.

    Isunga dapat regular ti pension da ken daduma pay nga benefits, marecognize da met ijay US koma as they also fought side by side American soldiers idi ken no mabalin suportaan tayo met jay VETERANS party list tata nga elections=)They deserve our all.

    COntinue the discussions and also the research about them, things you’ll uncover will define your being=)

  6. Ryan – agree w/u that these FilVets
    be fully compensated for their gallant contributions here and the U.S. It’s appalling to see some of these veterans die one by one w/out seeing even a dime of what was promised them by Uncle Sam. At times you wonder why “naimot ni Uncle Sam” yet billions of $$$ is still being spent in Iraq.
    Off-topic: are u related to Sandy and Lolita?
    Goodhealth…..

  7. to trublue: making the docu is a bittersweet experience. you find relics of ww2 sold to junkshops and you also find people cherishing it; you come face to face with the veteran heroes themselves in their rural homes still strong and happy, at other times you reach their place only to know they’ve just died days or a couple of months ago…
    they really deserve their “benefits” which are not really commensurate to their sacrifices now…
    han koma nga agimot talaga ni Uncle Sam…
    owen apo, uncle/auntiek ni sandy/lolita=) Good health too=)

  8. Hi Ryan,
    Thanks so much for clarifying this matter. Now it makes sense. And I must say that I admire your initiative in working on this project. Like you, I hope that other young people from other provinces will follow your example and likewise document the heroism of the WW II veterans in their localities. FYI, I plan to upload your comment in the main page pala. Again, thanks for clarifying the matter, my apologies if I kinda needled you on this hehe, and I hope you continue to visit 🙂

    Hi TruBlue,
    Yup, the U.S. is apparently not at all interested in giving proper recognition to WW II veterans from the Phils. Too bad no?

  9. Hi there… I was reading your input on the WWII and i must say that i’m really impressed with your hard works in making your project a successful one. Anyway, i grow with my grandfather telling us about his life during the war. although i didn’t manage to know it all, i kinda gathered that it was almost his group that captured Yamashita…He belongs to the 66th Infantry and that time that my grandfather was on his way with his group to capture him, Yamashita heard that the US army was on the other side so he went to them and surrendered before the 66th infantry was able to catch him. My grandfather mentioned that it was at Bisang Pass (near nueva viscaya and Ifugao)where he surrendered. My grandfather actually wrote his life during the WWII and managed to have it typed and documented into a book and gave it all to his children and grandkids but it’s too bad that he passed away sooner. My grandfather was the captain on the 66th infantry and we were all proud of what he’d done. Anyway, i hope that you will continue researching and writing about the lives of our “Aapos” because they were the real and true heroes of the WWII. Thank you and God Bless.

  10. the eleventh infantry was the one who brought about the capture of general yamashita. it was this infantry that was almost decimated as its soldiers gave chase all over the cordillera. my father, the late col. henry t acmor and the father of former congressman solomon chungala were officers of this infantry . it was from them we heard the story. however , yamashita wanted to surrender to an american contingent thereby the story of the tiger of malaya surrendering to the americans. before this episode, my father was one of the 2000 filipino soldiers who surrendered in corregidor.

  11. Im reading a ww2 book “ghost soldiers” and ended up at this great site. reading the comments I found some wrote gen. Yamashita was captured. Was he captured or did he surrender?

  12. On behalf of Bill Bilig….and to answer your question, General Yamashita formally surrendered at Camp John Hay, Baguio City in 1945.

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