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The Battle of the Clouds - Saturday, October 15th from 4-5:30pm

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“To the epic of Bataan and Corregidor is added the story of the American and Filipino soldiers who chose to die fighting rather than lay down their arms. Through three long, dismal years they resisted the enemy. Cut from outside help, to “I Shall Return” they proudly replied: ‘We Remained’” (Col. Russell Volckmann, Commanding Officer, US Armed Forces in the Philippines, Northern Luzon, from his book, We Remained)

World War II in the Philippines, the fight against the Imperial Japanese Army is replete with stories from those who survived. Foremost among these stories retold in major documented accounts, however, is the Death March or the Fall of Bataan and Corregidor. This has been the defeatist narrative of the war in the Philippines; how the US allied forces, along with their Filipino counterpart, finally surrendered to Imperial Japan. It was at this juncture when General Douglas Macarthur declared “I shall return”, fleeing to Australia as Manila turned into an open city to the invading Japanese forces.

Relegated underneath this popular historical chronicle of the war is that one battle led by the remnant US and Filipino soldiers when most of their US allies had left the islands. This was the victorious Battle of Bessang Pass. This battle was spearheaded not by the Americans.

The backbone mountain defenses of the retreating Japanese forces with General Tomoyuki Yamashita at Bessang, was finally defeated, broken open in their final surrender and the end of Japanese occupation in the Philippines. This assault was led by an unheralded, sturdy battalion of mostly bolo-men from the mountains of Abra alongside the gallant leadership of the very few Filipino officers who survived and escaped the Death March. To this day, this story has been kept silent.

Engage in a presentation with noted Philippine War Historian, Dr. Rico T. Jose from the University of the Philippines, as he shares his insights with years of extensive research about the forgotten role of the Filipino soldier in the fight and inevitable surrender of the Japanese in the Philippines.

And why the silence about this particular battle continues.

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