THE AMORES' DURING
THE JAPANESE OCCUPATION
As told by
Army S/Sgt. Primo Castaneda Amores (Ret.)
Vigan, Philippines, December
9, 1941- The
Japanese Imperial Forces landed in Mindoro beach. Vigan folks initially
suspected the ships offshore were Americans. There had been some "maneuver"
activities (bivouac) by new army recruits in previous months. Many went
to Mindoro beach as curiosity seekers and met by Japanese gun fires as
they landed on the beachhead. A vehicle full of soldiers from Tamag Hills
barracks went to welcome or see for themselves, but they were ambushed
by the Japanese at the curve in barrio Bulala where most were killed.
at home, evacuated to barrio Paoa and took cover along the creek east of
Ernesto Amores present home, and stayed at the house of Lakay Doro Amores.
The girls: Anita, Fe, Lydia, and Mirope dressed themselves as old women
and later went back home for safety.
extended family evacuated by boat(paraw) to Candon, staying with our relatives
in barrio Paratong until it was much safer in Vigan. Great-grandmother
Macaria "Aket" Andino was left to mind the house.
Occupation Forces appointed Dr. Gregorio Favis as the town mayor. When
food supply was becoming scarce, we were forced to lugaw(porridge), camote(sweet
potato), sago(arrow root), and our two(2) rimas(bread fruit) trees near
Amang's nipa hut helped us a lot.
decreed people not to eat rice on Sundays. We experimented with a lot of
possible food to get nourishment especially for the child Amado. There
were times when lugaw was mixed with the pith of papaya tree. This had
bad side-effects as the eyes became swollen after a few meals.
and Kulas Amistad started a jar-making business. They constructed the "kamarin"(factory)
just south of Amistad's residence and named their joint venture MARNIC(Marcelo-Nicolas).
Andoy(Jovito) sacrificed so much in the construction of the "kamarin" and
he eventually mastered the trade of jar making. The business, mostly by
barter trade, made life more bearable for our family. Burnays(earthen jars)
were traded with rice, bagoong(salted shrimp dip), tagapulot(raw sugar),
and dried fish. Rice was stored in small cans/containers and secretly placed
in locations around the backyard.
Amang(Felicisimo) closed the FIGAMO business in Vigan when partner Tata
Mining(Herminio) Figueras joined Kodak Philippines. He was later employed
in the Philippine Constabulary -CIS Lab, while Herminio joined the National
Bureau of Investigation, Medico Legal Section - formerly Department of
one of those assigned to round-up the Japanese in Manila at the outbreak
of World War II. Surprisingly, the Japanese were prepared because even
the children had knapsacks/backpacks ready. He took the second bus trip
to Ilocos because the first bus did not reach Vigan. He saw dead human
bodies, animal corpses, and books/papers scattered along the highway.
war broke out, Army sergeant Primo "Momo" Amores was serving with the Signal
Corps of the Philippine Commonwealth Army. They were sent to defend Bataan
peninsula until the "surrender"on April 9, 1942. Momo did not surrender
to the Japanese Imperial Army, instead he escaped the infamous Death March
via Orani, Bataan to Tinajeros, Pampanga where he got sick from malaria.
He recovered and stayed for a while with his sister Tancing(Tarcila) in
Manila, then proceeded to Vigan.
Momo organized a guerilla unit known as "The Bolo Unit" in barrio Pagbantayan,
Vigan attached to the United States Armed Forced in the Philippines -Northern
Luzon(USAFP-NL). Andoy was in charge of the Women's Auxiliary Corps(WAC)
in Vigan. He trained women in first-aid as support group of the guerilla
The guerilla unit
moved from Vigan to San Esteban and then to San Juan, La Union. The late
Col. Floro Crisologo of Vigan was with us in San Esteban, Ilocos Sur. Amang
was assigned to S-3 Section(Plans and Training Unit), and Momo was in S-2
Section(Intelligence Unit) both at the Headquarters, 121st Infantry Regiment
in San Juan, La Union. The 121st Infantry Regiment was responsible for
the liberation of Bessang Pass, a Japanese Army stronghold, near Cervantes,
Ilocos Sur and the capture of Japanese Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita aka "The
Tiger of Malaya".
war, Amang did not claim for back pay or pension because he believes that
it is every citizen's duty to defend and serve his country without benefits.
Tata Rodring Avila was also a veteran of the historic Battle of Bessang
Pass as a volunteer porter of ammunitions and supplies. The bravery of
the Filipinos in this battle proves that they are the true sons of Diego
Silang- a revolutionary war hero during Spain's colonial rule and who declared
a short-lived Ilocos Republic.
This story reminds
the younger generations how life is miserable in times of war. The brutality
of the Japanese and the bravery of Filipinos and Americans shall serve
a lesson to future generations that in war there are no victors, only victims.
Written by Dante
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