Introducing The Campus of the Future & Advancement Office Campaign
Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan (Xavier Ateneo) held its 1st ever MOVE FOR MORE Run and Walk—a milestone event dedicated to introducing the Campus of the Future, and the “Move for More” campaign of Xavier Ateneo’s Advancement Office.
The event aimed to gather the Xavier Ateneo Community and its partners as it celebrates its 90th year, and look forward to The Campus of the Future.
It was one of the highlight events of the three-day Xavier Festival Days, an annual school tradition featuring this year games and attractions like food and artists stalls and stores, XU Psychology Society’s Horror House and the XU Ateneo Mountaineering Society’s Rappelling and Wall Climbing, concerts by the Xavier Philharmonia and live bands during the Tugtugan and Music Fest, Christmas Carol Contest, K-Pop Dance Contest on Saturday, and student showcases like the X-Hibit show, Dulaang Atenista’s “No Prob It’s Improv” at the Museo de Oro Gallery, and Padayeem Comedy Night at the Magis Canteen.
The MOVE FOR MORE Run and Walk was held on December 2, 2023 with two contingents; a 5 kilometer Uphill Run & Walk from the Downtown Divisoria Campus to the Campus of the Future site in Manresa; and a 2 kilometer Fun Run & Walk from the Basic Education Complex in Pueblo de Oro, both linking up in the Manresa Campus for a program where developments of the New Campus were shared to the participants.
“The New Campus symbolizes our readiness for the future as we celebrate our centennial (100) year in 2033,” ” announced Fr Mars P. Tan, SJ during the program following the event held at the site of the future church of the Manresa Campus.
“Faith and steadfastness brought us here. In 2021, we received the Vatican’s approval of this momentous project, which signals the turning of a vision to reality; in 2022 to 2023, we obtained the necessary permits, clearances, and local approvals for this project to begin.”
He related how the Xavier Community would soon experience the 21-hectare future-ready campus with over 25 hectares of protected forest and animal sanctuaries, and its complementary 14-hectare Manresa Township.
“Different zones on this campus will highlight the various aspects of total formation/education of each Xavier Atenean: academic, social development, sports, spiritual, and engagement with the public,” Fr. Mars noted.
Furthermore, the new campus would have large green spaces, bike lanes, upgraded facilities and equipment, renewable sources of energy, digital connectivity, new academic programs, that would house and provide support to the many innovations of the university – academic, research, technology, social engagement, and formation.
Thus, the new campus is the vehicle for XU to become more innovative and responsive to 21st century educational challenges, he added.
“This is God’s gift to Xavier Ateneo, a gift we share not only with Cagayan de Oro City but to the whole region of (Northern) Mindanao. We are ready for this dream’s fruition. Together, let us witness the beginning of the future. Join XU and make this dream come true!”
Fr Mars also acknowledged the invaluable contributions of the university’s partners: Cebu Landmasters Incorporated (CLI); AVP Construction, the site developer; Aidea Architectural Firm; and the entire Xavier Ateneo Community.
The event was sponsored by CLI as Co-Presenter; Toyota Cagayan de Oro, SM City CDO Uptown, the SM Store, and La Bella Luna as event sponsors, and Sari Sari (kape, komunidad, atbp.), Noble’s Seafoods & Grill, Thai Me Up!, Nia ra jud! and Una Mela, as partner establishments.
For the first time ever, Pueblo de Oro Golf and Country Club in Cagayan de Oro City and Del Monte Golf and Country Club in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon hosted the Junior Golf Foundation of the Philippines (JGFP) Mindanao Inter-School Golf Championship.
The Inter-School tournament has four divisions, Grades 1-3 Lower School, Grades 4-6 Middle School, Grades 7-9 Junior High School and Grades 10-12 Senior High School.
For this year, there were some 97 participants from 20 teams of various schools all over Mindanao who joined the tourney.
The event, though primarily a team competition, also recognizes and awards the accomplishments of individual students.
Following are the team and individual winners of the second leg:
SENIOR HIGH Champion – Manolo Fortich National High School Team1 (213points) Xhylas Adrian Luzon Simon Wahing Keith Pagalan
1st Runner Up – Abbas Orchard CDO (198 pts) Kiara Montebon Iggy Fabiala Mark Gabriel Dano Jaymee Que
2nd Runner up – Manolo Fortich National High School Team2 (187 pts) Mark Ivan Parilla Wendell Aparilla Harold Tagud Marten Luther Quinlog
JUNIOR HIGH Champion – Davao Christian High School (206 pts) Vince Enzo Naranjo Davis James Teves Albert Alejandre IV
1st runner Up – Little Me Academy (205 pts) Zero Plete Alexis Nailga Clement Ordeneza
2nd Runner Up – Xavier Ateneo Junior High School Team 1 (187 pts) Isabella Alanis Tabanas Mikela Guillermo Louie Virgil Remolador Seth Arvee Santos
MIDDLE SCHOOL Champion- Oro Christian Grace School (199 pts) Eliana Veneece Dumalaog Rafella adrianne Batican Mico Deltheo Woo
1st Runner Up – SEAIT Tupi, South Cotabato (194 pts) Britanny Pauline Tamayo Jared Saban Laurence Saban Marco Senador
2nd Runner Up- Rosevale School CDO ( 166 pts) Sasha Edwards Isabella Margaux Espina Ken Edward Guillermo
LOWER SCHOOL Champion – Abbas Orchard CDO (187 pts) Gunnar Velez Bendi Rolida Jamie Barnes Jannah Nicole Sanchez
1st runner up – Rosevale School CDO (72 pts) Amelia Velez Elyse Geroy
2nd Runner up – San Miguel Elementary School (63 pts) Altier Lucas Sabas Malo Ian Langamin
SENIOR High Girls Champion – Kiara Montebon (104 pts) 1st r up – Abby Abarcas (102 pts) 2nd r up – Crista Miñoza (95 pts)
JUNIOR HIGH Girls Champion – Isabella Alanis Tabanas (107 pts) 1st r up – Zero Plete (101 pts) 2nd r up – Merry Rose Wacan (86 pts)
MIDDLE SCHOOL Girls Champion – Eliana Veneece Dumalaog (108 pts) 1st r up – Rafella Adrienne Batican (100 pts) 2nd r up- Isabella Margaux Espina (100 pts)
LOWER SCHOOL Girls Champion – Soliel Ianne Molde (84 pts) 1st r up – Amelia Velez (80 pts) 2nd r up – Claren E. Quiño (60 pts)
SENIOR HIGH Boys Champion – Simon Wahing (111 pts) 1st r up – Xhylas Adrian Luzon (107 pts) 2nd r up – Cliff Richard Nuneza (106 pts)
JUNIOR HIGH Boys Champion – Clement Ordeneza (107 pts) 1st r up – David James Teves (107 pts) 2nd r up – Cody John Langamin (89 pts)
MIDDLE SCHOOL Boys Champion – Jared Saban (105 pts) 1st r up – Apollo Batican (101 pts) 2nd r up – Kiel Xander Elvena (89 pts)
LOWER SCHOOL Boys Champion – Jamie Barnes (114 pts) 1st runner up – Ethan Lago (100 pts) 2nd runner up- Lucas Miguel Revilleza (95 pts)
The Junior Golf Foundation of the Philippines (JGFP) was founded in 1976 by Amalia Montecillo with the vision of providing junior golfers an opportunity to play in a competitive environment. Apart from organizing tournament circuits, the JGFP brought together parents and stakeholders for a common goal of developing globally competitive golfers. It aims to provide junior golfers of all abilities with a competitive and fun environment that not only develops golf skills, but also positively builds their character. The JGFP is a non-profit organization dedicated to the growth and development of Philippine Golf.
Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan (Xavier Ateneo) hosted a forum on Diplomatic Relations between the Philippines and Indonesia on November 21, 2023.
Echoing Indonesia’s diplomacy with the theme “Rowing between two reefs in a fast-changing world”, the event was graced by Minister Counsellor Dr. Partogi Jan Pieter Samosir, Head of the Embassy of Indonesia-Manila Political Section, and attended by Xavier Ateneo political science, international studies and history faculty and students.
MC Samosir’s talk highlighted Indonesia’s foreign policy prioritizing the recovery process, citizens’ protection abroad, promotion of peace and Indonesia’s leadership role in the Group of 20.
“Indonesia prefers to prioritize ASEAN as the epicenter of growth, including implementing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and ASEAN Outlook in Indo-Pacific, and to use ASEAN health crisis-related mechanisms to achieve an inclusive and sustainable post-pandemic recovery,” MC Samosir noted.
He cited the positive growth rate of ASEAN rom 2000-2022 estimated to rise further to 5.0-5.3 percent in 2022, higher than the 3.2 percent global growth average.
With the entry of Timor-Leste, ASEAN needs deeper integration, stronger institutions, processes and mechanisms to openly and constructively address political and security issues between its members and external partners.
“The post-2025 ASEAN agenda will be crucial to ensure a more secure and stable region, narrow development and infrastructure gaps, as well as strengthen resilience against future shocks and crises,” he noted.
In response, Fr. Amado T. Tumbali Jr, SJ, Chairman of Xavier Ateneo’s History & International Studies Department, highlighted how the waters that distance the Philippines and Indonesia, the two largest archipelagoes in Asia, has become a platform for unity.
“Minister Samosir’s presentation located for us where the Philippines and Indonesian relations are in the scope of Asia-Pacific geo-economics with a bold encouragement to us, Filipinos, to continue and strengthen the circular economy between the two nations,” Fr. Tumbali stressed.
He noted further how the convergent exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of both countries presents positive opportunities of cooperation in economy and maritime peace and order.
“Indeed, the strength of union among countries is measured in converting differences and other obstacles into opportunities, rather than obstacles,” he added.
Thus, despite the two nation’s diversity shaped by social and historical developments, Fr. Tumbali cited how events of cooperation such as the forum serve as reminders that cross-country economic resources are there to be shared, with a shared human dignity to promote as well as defend.
“After all, we all have the same planet, our common home, to heal and protect,” he concluded. “May our diversity enrich the solutions that shall contribute in making our world, particularly our common ASEAN region a better place.”
The Cagayan de Oro delegation to the 40th Philippine Columbian Association Open Age Group Championships led by the Philippine Tennis Academy kids put up a good showing in the tournament held recently at PCA Sports Club Complex at Plaza Dilao, Paco, Manila.
Philippine Tennis Academy (PTA) is a grassroots program based in Nazareth Tennis Courts, Bgy. Nazareth, Cagayan de Oro City. PTA Cagayan de Oro had the most number of kids who made a deep run in the various age group categories under Coach Eson Autentico.
“Our Cagayan de Oro delegation had the most number of outstanding performers with one champion, three finalists (three singles), eight semi-finalists (five singles, three doubles), and six quarterfinalists (three singles, three doubles),” Coach Eson stressed.
The Kagay-anon charge was led by Ela Marie Sanchez and Carlo Gabriel Mejia Semi who won the Unisex 10 years and underDoubles category diadem.
Also making it to the finals not quite making the top podium were Kenzo Ramos (12 yrs and under Boys); Cyrel Mae Sanchez (12 yrs and under, Girls); and Al Rasheed Lucman (16 yrs and under, Boys).
Going as far as the semi-final round were Carlo Gabriel Mejia (10 yrs & under, Boys); Francine Madeleine Wong (12 yrs & under, Girls); Zacci Elyse Yuipco (14 yrs & under, Girls); Kian Jan Sanchez (16 yrs & under, Boys); Abdul Ganie Acoon (14 yrs & under, Boys); Ivan Benedict Sanchez & Kenzo Mozart Ramos (12 yrs & under, Boys Doubles); Zacci Elyse Yuipco & Cyrel Mae Sanchez (14 yrs & under, Girls, Doubles); and Francine Madeleine Wong & Kresthan Belacas (Unisex 10 yrs & under Doubles).
Not the least, the following also made it to the quarterfinals: Troy Joshua Lapara (16 yrs and under, Boys); Yusuf Hadi Mangotara (16 yrs and under, Boys) ; Ivan Benedict Sanchez (12 yrs & under, Boys); Cherika Sanchez & Anica Amoguis (14 yrs and under, Girls Doubles); Yusuf Mangotara & Chauncy Aguanta (18 yrs & under, Boys Doubles) and Troy Joshua Lapara & Kian John Sanchez ((18 yrs & under, Boys Doubles).
Michelle Du Wong, mother of standout Francine Madeleine Du Wong, noted that the PTA CDO delegation has the talents but were not used to the shell courts of the PCA since there are currently none at present in Cagayan de Oro.
“Our kids are really talented but since there are no shell courts in Cagayan de Oro, they had a hard time getting used to the PCA shell courts,” she noted. “Hopefully, our city administration can allocate maybe three shell courts in the City Tennis Courts currently under construction in Apovel Subdivision as a practice facility for our future tennis champions.”
Added Coach Eson: “Hopefully, we can also borrow a page from the Iloilo Age Group Delegation which has enjoyed the constant support of the LGU. Even in municipalities like Kibawe and Dangcagan, Bukidnon, their LGUs employ coaches to train the kids in designated courts with matching budgets for the coach, balls and equipment. Unfortunately, we have never enjoyed such support for tennis. For instance, for the coming Batang Pinoy this December, we have no entries from Cagayan de Oro.”
Pilgrim Christian College (PCC) honored 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐎𝐮𝐭𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐏𝐢𝐥𝐠𝐫𝐢𝐦𝐢𝐚𝐧𝐬 (𝐓𝐎𝐏) 𝐀𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐞𝐬 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟑 on the occasion of the school’s 75th Diamond Foundation Anniversary.
The Awarding Ceremony was held Friday, November 24, 2023 at the PCC Auditorium.
The Outstanding Pilgrimians (TOP) 2023 are the following: Dr. Fausto S. Abella (Coll’09/PE’23) for Business Education; Rev. Cleto P. Bacarro, Jr. (HS’84) for Religious Vocation; Eiko Hazel Acuña-Belsky (HS’73) for Global Filipino Professional; Hon. Vergito O. Factura (HS’87/Coll’91) for Public Service; Sheldon Rhoy A. Frias (HS’98) for Events Management; Dir. Marigold Cherie Ramos-Garrido (HS’87) for Government Service; Gladys Quilo-Mariano (HS’87) for Nursing; and Chared A. Naliponguit (Coll’09) for Management.
Also honored was TOP 2019 Awardee for Sports John Paul I. Erram who received his much delayed recognition.
The TOP Awards were conferred on the awardees by Bishop Melzar D. Labuntog (Chairman, Board of Trustees/General Secretary, UCCP); Dr. Pio D. Baconga (PCC President); Dr. Dahlia D. Busiños (Vice President, Academic Affairs) and select members of the Board of Trustees, Management Committee, and TOP Search Committee.
“We applaud their unwavering commitment to academic excellence, their outstanding achievements in various fields, and their remarkable characters, which sets them apart as role models for future generations of Pilgrimians. Their accomplishments inspire us all and remind us of the incredible potential within each individual,” PCC in its social media page in acknowledgement of its 75th Diamond Foundation Anniversary awardees.
“As we celebrate our 75th Diamond Foundation anniversary, we reflect on the rich legacy and values that have shaped our community over the years. The Outstanding Pilgrimian 2023 Awardees truly embody the Christian values of Faith, Integrity, Responsibility, Excellence, and Service (FIRES). Inspiring others to strive for greatness and make a positive impact on the world.”
Here, at long last, is a primer for the younger generation of Kagay-anons, as well as those of us, getting up in years, who could be a tad wiser after going through this book, about who those pioneers who made our city were.
Gwendolyn Ramos Garcia relates how she came up with the idea for “The Amazing Men and Women of Cagayan de Oro City”.
“When I started mulling over this Dream Project, I only had the vaguest idea about what I wanted to accomplish. It started as a thought – that I owed it to those men and women who had contributed to the city’s landscape in many different ways, and to my mother who would have liked the idea of putting together something like this.”
Wendy, as she is known to friends, is the daughter of former City Councilor Pureza Neri-Ramos, who has the distinction of not only being the first lady lawyer of Cagayan de Oro, but also the first FIDA President of Cagayan de Oro (Federacion International de Abogadas) and first Jaycerette President of the city as well. Her brother is also a former city Councilor Honorio “Boy” Ramos, Jr.
Wendy belongs to the Roa and Neri clans on her Mother’s side, and to the Abejuela and Ramos clans on her Father’s side. Her grandfather was Lucio Salvador Ramos y Pimentel who was twice elected Mayor of Cagayan de Misamis.Growing up in a genteel household such as this, placed the author in the middle of the city’s social and political milieu, thus often giving her a first-hand knowledge of the personages listed in her book.
“Quite daunting with me not knowing when, where and how to start, who to include, how to arrange the materials, and so on,” Ms. Wendy admits in her book’s introduction.
“For one thing, many or most of those I wanted to write about had long been gone. And when I started contacting their family members, I realized it was not going to be a walk in the park. There were a few who were very enthusiastic and shared materials including old photos. Others were indifferent or outright just not interested. I’m glad I did not let such minor setbacks discourage me. I continued to work at it, a little at a time, adding names and groupings in my head.”
Thus, the reader is treated with sketches of names the present youth and immigrants to the city only know from the street names like Toribio Chaves, Tirso Roa Neri, Gen. Nicolas Capistrano, Maximo Suniel, and Apolinar Velez.
“Another problem was how to arrange my book in an orderly, cohesive and interesting fashion,” she relates further. “The eureka moment came after I had gathered about a dozen personalities to write about. And as I plodded along, more subjects came to mind although it became obvious that I could not write entire pages about some of them. The practical approach therefore was to arrange them together if they belonged to the same genre, in a manner of speaking.”
So, the reader will find the list of the mayors of the former Cagayan de Misamis from Toribio Chaves in 1898, to Hermigildo Avanceña in 1945, followed by the elected mayors from Lucio Ramos in 1946, to Maximo Y. Suniel who served as the last mayor of Cagayan de Misamis. and transitioned as the first Mayor of the Chartered City of Cagayan de Oro in 1950, and on to Oscar S. Moreno, who was the mayor at the time this book was published.
Then this is followed by the sketches of the Jesuits who played a crucial role in the formation of the city from MostRev. James T. Hayes, SJ, its first Catholic Bishop and Archbishop; the esteemed scholar Fr. Miguel A. Bernad, SJ; the visionary Fr. William Masterson, SJ, father of the Cooperative Movement in Mindanao, the Xavier University College of Agriculture, and South East Asian Rural Social Leadership Institute (SEARSOLIN); Fr. Antonio Cuna, SJ, famous as the XU Glee Club Director “Derps”, organizer of the Basta Ikaw Lord (BIL) and Born to Love (BTL) movements responsible for the Christian Formation of young men and women of XU, and organizer of the Christian Family Movement, and Marriage Encounter Programs; and not the least, Fr. Francisco R. Demetrio, SJ, founder of the XU Folkloric Museum, now the XU Museo de Oro.
Mention is also made of the Rev. Lloyd Van Vactor, American missionary of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) who was a key figure in the formation of the Cagayan de Oro UCCP Church, Pilgrim Institute (now Pilgrim Christian College), and the Dansalan College of Marawi City.
Lest I spoil the reader’s delight in perusing through the history of the other personages in this book, let me just list its other sections, such as Personalities on the World Stage, the Press, Arts and Culture, Education, World War II Heroes, and not the least, the Saga of 3 Remarkable Families who helped transform the city.
Finally, the book ends with a photo gallery of the personages presented it its pages and how their exploits helped make Cagayan de Oro known far and wide as “The City of Golden Friendship.”
“I am happy that I finally made a resolve to work religiously on said project and see it to its completion. Hopefully, this coffee table book will enlighten not just my generation but also future ones about those amazing men and women who, because of their life work and passion have made a positive impact in the lives of all Kagay-anons,” the author writes.
“I thank God for planting the seed in my mind and heart. Without His Grace, this would not have been possible. Perpetuating the memory of those who have gone before us should be everyone’s concern because how else can we keep our town’s history alive. By honoring and celebrating the lives of these men and women, we are inspired to follow in their footsteps.”
“Read on and be enthralled by their life stories.”
“This book is dedicated to my mother, Pureza Neri Ramos, and to my husband, Peter Garcia, and our daughters, Maria Margarita Nguyen and Gretchen Latham.”
“It is the story of our hometown. Perusing its pages is like strolling down memory lane. You may recognize many of the personalities featured in it — they may even be your relatives or friends. I hope you will derive as much pleasure from reading it, as l did in creating it.”
Resolution No. 14729-2023 in the 20th City Council (Sangguniang Panlungsod) of Cagayan de Oro during the 59th Regular Session on October 23, 2023 City Councilor Suzette G. Magtajas-Daba together with City Vice Mayor Jocelyn B. Rodriguez and all city councils unanimously commended Associate Dean Horst Hans Bäcker of Liceo de Cagayan University Conservatory of Music, Theatre and Dance for winning a joint second place during the 2022 WorldVision Composers Contest.
You may read more about Professor Bäcker‘s unprecedented feat at this link.
Similarly, Resolution No. 14798-2023 in the 20th City Council (Sangguniang Panlungsod) of Cagayan de Oro during the 59th Regular Session on October 23, 2023 City Councilor Suzette G. Magtajas-Daba together with City Vice Mayor Jocelyn B. Rodriguez and all city councils unanimously commended Professor Cipriano de Guzman, Jr. of Liceo de Cagayan University Conservatory of Music, Theatre and Dance for being the first Filipino in 16 years featured in a full Italian Opera in Campobasso, Italy.
You may read more about Professor de Guzman’s peformance in Italian Opera from this link.
The presentation of the commendations were held prior to the regular session of the city council and was followed by a photo session with the honorees. Maestro de Guzman rendered the immortal Filipino Kundiman “DAHIL SA IYO” following the presentation to the delight of the councilors who sang along with him.
Following the brief ceremony, the honorees proceeded to join Mayor Rolando “Klarex” Uy in the City Hall Quadrangle for a photo memento during a break in his People’s Day.
Both commendations were unanimously approved by City Vice Mayor Jocelyn “Bebot” Rodriguez and all members of the Cagayan de Oro City Council.
The story of a top secret Filipino unit that fought Imperial Japan in Occupied Philippines
The tensions growing with China’s incursions in the West Philippines Sea have again revived similar times during the early 1940s when Imperial Japan began expanding its empire by invading China, then Southeast Asia including the Philippines.
Author Marie Silva Vallejo recalls those turbulent times in her new book, “Dauntless”, about a secret Filipino group who volunteered to do secret missions “behind enemy lines’ in Occupied Philippines. The group’s exploits were so hush-hush that even after nearly 80 years, little is known about them.
Vallejo inadvertently started her research when she became curious about how her father, Lt. Col. Saturnino “Tony” Ramos Silva, was involved in secret operations during World War II.
“Admitting that she hadn’t paid that much attention to his military service as a girl growing up, as an adult, she wanted to learn more.”
“She visited museums and libraries, national archives, and sifted through boxes of military records as well as conducted interviews; her meticulous and exhaustive research spanned some 10 years.”
“The result is a labor of love not only bringing her father’s accomplishments to light but countless others who served in these regiments formed under the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt.”
“What she unearthed was a number of clandestine operations that were critical during the war effort in the Pacific. Her father, for example, was involved in top-secret submarine fact-finding missions known only to Gen. MacArthur and his staff.”
“In researching the book, Vallejo unpacked buried information on her father’s unit. Upon asking libraries and researchers about the Filipino secret units, most were certain that they did not exist.
Vallejo’s father served in the First and Second Filipino Regiments in the U.S. Army and the First Reconnaissance Battalion created by President Roosevelt. The president constructed the Filipino unit to fight in the islands. The secret mission men brought weapons and supplies to keep the guerrillas’ morale high to continue the resistance.”
On Feb. 19, 1942, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson announced the creation of a Filipino fighting force that would include Americans of Filipino ancestry as well as resident Filipinos to serve in the U.S. Army. By the summer of 1942, the First Filipino Infantry Regiment was activated at Salinas, California. By October 1942, the Second Filipino Regiment was established. (Sherman, 2023)
Enduring extreme racism, Filipinos were forced into low-paying, back-breaking jobs in the agricultural fields on the west coast, the canneries in the Northwest and in service industries in the cities and towns along the way to the east. They were loyal to the families they left behind by sending home their meager earnings. When they received news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the invasion of their homeland by the Japanese, these Nationals petitioned and fought for the right to join the United States military.
After President Roosevelt changed legislation in 1942, Filipinos could enlist in the military. Migrant workers, students, domestic helpers, musicians, doctors, and other professionals from across the nation enlisted with the burning desire to serve and they came by the thousands.
In March 1942, the 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment was activated in San Luis Obispo, California, and was so large they eventually had to create two regiments, the 1st Filipino Infantry and the 2nd Filipino Infantry (also known as “California’s own”).
“Nobody knew,” said Vallejo. “They said no, there were no Filipino men from the U.S. I said, ‘No, there were.’ They hardly knew about it. So I had to look in all the archives and libraries in the U.S. It was the U.S. National Archives and the MacArthur Library that provided the most information. That’s when it started to piece together, but the information was so scattered.”
Vallejo believes it was imperative to tell this story, not just regarding her father, but all of the men on the unit.
“People may ask why these men even want to volunteer and fight for America when they underwent so much racism, hurt, and disadvantages at that time. But they did. They did so they decided to fight for America to remove the invaders from their motherland,” said Vallejo. (Baker, 2023)
During World War II and Japan’s invasion of the Philippines, Filipinos living in the United States of America up and volunteered for the military–burning with the desire to return to their motherland and repel the enemy.
The question arose: why did they join when their entire life in California was debased with systemic and rampant anti-Filipino sentiment and legislation? What complicated patriotism had made thousands of Filipino men in America volunteer into the Army despite decades of horrible inequities inflicted upon them? (Eastwind Interview with Alex Fabros Jr and Lillian Bando, 2023)
Vallejo spent a decade gathering information and writing this book. Initially, Vallejo decided she would contribute to the book with research and allow a writer to compose the book. However, the seven writers she interviewed all insisted Vallejo create this book on her own. (Baker, 2023)
“I feel like I gave birth to something, ” said Vallejo. “I really didn’t think I was capable enough of writing because I’m more of a researcher, I can dig up the dead. But to put it all together, it was difficult. I found persistence and perseverance because many times I wanted to give up and I didn’t think I could be the writer.”
Vallejo feels strongly about the research she uncovered and hopes to share it with different audiences.
“I wanted to disseminate the information in this story about these men,” said Vallejo. “They were also the first generation of U.S. citizens in the United States, and then the children became U.S. citizens. They were the beginning. Because they had to be naturalized by the U.S. government so that they could also bear arms.”
“I wanted to show the close relationship that the Filipinos had with the Americans at that point in time, even though racism was really rampant. There were restaurants that had signs saying “No dogs or Filipinos allowed.” The Filipino men would get lynched if they were seen with a white woman. It was that bad. But they still went on to fight for America to remove the invaders from their motherland.” (Baker, 2023)
But to the author’s credit, the subject matter is deep and her coverage is richly detailed and extensive. She is a remarkable researcher, and the length and breadth of her narrative is full of historical context and goes even further. She includes specifics, even expressing what individual soldiers were feeling and thinking about their predicaments; this information was garnered from newspaper articles and letters.(Sherman, 2023)
For World War II enthusiasts, those interested in the Filipino American experience, and preservers of military history will relish that she persevered and put her research into print. The text includes numerous photographs from that period—many harsh reminders of the pain of war. There are nearly 200 pages of appendixes and source materials. Many of those pages are filled with lists of names: thousands who served, their units, their dates of service, and where they served. It is a litany of daring lives, well lived for having served their country.
It is a legacy not to be forgotten.
According to the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project, more than 260,000 Filipino and Filipino American soldiers defended the United States and the Philippines during World War II. The bravery of these soldiers was integral to the American victory in the Pacific.
For decades, their accomplishments were largely ignored. In 2016, the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act was signed into law. In October 2017, more than 600 veterans were awarded the Congressional Gold Medals at the Emancipation Hall at Capitol Hill. After 75 years, Filipino American WWII veterans earned the recognition they long deserved.
In an online review posted November 15, 2023 by Hubert U. Caloud, Sgt Maj, USMC, rates Dauntless as “a wonderful addition to my WW2 Pacific Library”. Caloud is a Federal Employee of 20 years in American Battle Monuments Commission cemeteries in Europe and the Philippines.
“For many wars the history of Bataan and Corregidor focused on American Units and Commanders although Philippine Commonwealth Army units mobilized and integrated in the US Armed Forces in the summer of 1941 manned almost all the front line on Bataan, suffered many more deaths on the Death March and in Camp 0’Donnell than suffered by the American manned units. This has gotten better coverage in recent years filling in an important gap.”
“What this book does is document the service and sacrifice of Filipinos who were in the Continental US and Hawaii who joined the US Armed Forces. Kudos to the author for her meticulous research.”
“There were many varied types of service in Filipino Infantry Regiments, and in more specialized service training in Australia and inserted into the Philippine Islands for special missions. It’s service not covered extensively elsewhere that I know of and was a pleasure for me to read. Not just the military history but the history of immigration into the US, their entry into the US Armed Forces and their lives afterward.”
“I think any reader will be surprised at the amount of information in this book. It’s organized well covering all the facets of their service. I think it is an important book for a WWII library and kudos to the author for dedicating the immense amount of time it had to have taken to gather all this information and turn it into a readable narrative.”
About the author
Marie Silva Vallejo has a degree in Education and pursued graduate studies in Psychology. Her corporate life was in Data Security and Internal Audit at Intel Corpora on in Santa Clara, California. She authored The Battle of Ising, a WWII battle for the liberation of Mindanao, Philippines. She was on the Board of the American Historical Collection in Manila. She has managed the Museum Volunteers of the Philippines (MVP)’s WWII History course modules and given talks on WWII subjects. She spearheaded the scanning of the Guerrilla Recognition Program files in the Philippine Archives Collection at the US National Records and Administration (NARA) that began the Philippine Veterans Administration Office’s (PVAO) mission to scan the entire Collection and make it available online to show the Filipinos’ contribution to WWII history.
Join the Free Author Talk and Book Signing
The author will be speaking about her book and research this coming Saturday, 25 November 2023 at the AVR-1, Old Library Building of the Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan downtown campus at Corrales Avenue. Copies of her book purchased after the event will be autographed by the author. Registration for the free event starts at 1PM. This event is sponsored by the Philippine Veterans Bank in cooperation with the History & International Studies Department of Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan (Xavier Ateneo) headed by Chairperson Fr. Amado T. Tumbali Jr., SJ.
The first Kagay-anon full-length film written, produced, and directed by Kagay-anons in decades has garnered multiple awards in a prestigious film festival in the USA.
In an online post dated November 15, 2023, San Francisco, The Filipino Arts & Cinema International (FACINE) which concluded its 30th year last Sunday, November 12, announced its tiered citations – Gold, Silver, Particularly Noteworthy – in different categories including Outstanding Film.
Markado was cited in the following tiered awards:
Markado, The Moon Devourer (Imoortal Productions, Micromedia Digital Video Productions, National Commission on Culture and the Arts)
In Bisaya with English subtitles
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTION
Joe Bacus, Markado, The Moon Devourer
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN WRITING FOR FILM
Joe Bacus, Markado
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A LEAD ROLE
Jean Stefani Obsiana, Markado, The Moon Devourer
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A SECONDARY ROLE
Roxan Lood, Markado, The Moon Devourer
OUSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN EDITING
Joe Bacus, Markado, The Moon Devourer
OUSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL DESIGN
Production design: Orpheus Nery; Art direction: Clark Cabantan, Michelle Hollanes Lua, Jake Vamenta, Markado, The Moon Devourer
Markado: The Moon Devourer is the first full-length film to be made in Cagayan de Oro after Lorenzo M. de la Serna’s Sa Imong Lawas ug Dugo decades ago.
With live action interspersed with stop motion animation, Markado follows the story of Sab, a drug mule (courier) for ant traders (small time drug dealers). Caught in the crossfire between her superiors, Sab drifts to the dark side to fulfill her dying Lola’s wish to have an apo, despite her barrenness.
Bacus brews a heady mix of illicit drugs, poppets (voodoo dolls), and aswang folklore referencing a smorgasbord of influences from his earlier works: Ika-3 Putahi (2014), The End of War (2014), and his seminal short Happy Fiesta (2014), all of which have won awards and programmed in national and international film festivals such as the QCinema International Film Festival 2018, Focus on Asia–Fukuoka International Film Festival 2019, Ngilngig Asian Fantastic Film Festival 2019, Binisaya Film Festival 2019, and Salamindanaw Asian Film Festival 2019.
Bacus recalls the challenges the team faced in completing the film, including the two year production which depleted their budget, on top of the availability of the actors and production crew, that he was at the point of giving up.
“But on our third year, we devised a solution to finish the film. Armed with a collection of toys from home, a script, and cameras, we decided to shoot the remaining sequences through stop-motion animation,” he recalls.
“As artists, we must evolve and complete the film, regardless of the challenges. The most crucial aspect is the story, regardless of the execution. Experimentation is essential. To quote Nicolas Refn, ‘Art needs to move, change. Controlling art is the exact opposite of creativity,” so we let the evolution happen unconsciously.”
“During Tropical Storm Sendong, Kagay-anons shared an experience which left people stunned and uncertain of what to do. Everyone felt like dolls, awaiting someone to animate us, and continue our daily lives. This marked the inception of the stop-motion concept.”
Orpheus Nery, who won a gold citation for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design, helped Bacus come up with their eureka moment to finish the film with stop-motion animation.
“We had to start from scratch because the materials we initially prepared didn’t apply to miniatures. The inspiration was real life. We simulated the live action scenes, the locations, the actors, their wardrobe and props had to be scaled down to 1:16.”
“It was a delicate process to build miniatures and finish them with details such as graffiti and scattered junk food wrappers on the ground. For instance, we had to build a sari-sari store with concrete and wooden slats, a pool table, and a concrete wall plastered with graffiti and campaign posters for the riding-in-tandem scene. These had to be furthered weathered for an authentic look. It was a long and laborious process, like getting only a minute or so of screen time for a full day’s work, but with Bacus’ vision, none of our efforts went to waste.”
Rotsanjani Mojica, who shared a silver citation for Outstanding Achievement in Aural Design withNuncyspungen, Switch, & Ace P. and RodielI Veloso, for Sound Design, said they were inspired by the movie soundtracks from the 1980s in coming up with the score.
Not the least, Jean Stefani Obsiana who garnered a silver citation for Outstanding Achievement in Performance by a Female Actor in a Lead Role as the film’s protagonist Sab, recalls reflecting on her character’s motivations for her words and actions, to gain a better grasp on her character.
“I also remember creating a vivid image of Sab in my head, reading articles about the rampant war on drugs at that time. I took notes from my own close relationship with my lola to further appreciate how Sab’s relationship with her lola moved her. The discussions and exchanges we had about Sab’s character also helped a lot.”
Eight full-length films were in competition which were shown in different venues across San Francisco – Roxie Theater, Yerba Center for the Arts Screening Room and CAST-SF Theater. A special screening of MORAL was shown at the SF Main Library in tribute to the late Marilou Diaz-Abaya, National Artist for Film and Broadcast Arts.
A panel of three jury members which includes the legendary critic-academic-filmmaker Julia Lesage, writer-film programmer Irene Soriano, and journalist-media specialist Pavel Vondra saw all films and made their separate evaluations over a period of two months.
FACINE is the longest-running festival of Filipino films, by and/or about the Filipinos in the homeland or the diaspora, held outside of the Philippines.
Mauro Feria Tumbocon Jr, FACINE Founder/Artistic Director, expressed his thanks in a social media post to the core staff led by FACINE Executive Director Neil Torrefiel and his members: Voltaire Gungab, Nikki Vendil, Sheila Alix, Robin Abad Ocubillo, Ma. Isabel Lopez, and Nino Fajardo. “Mabuhay ang Pelikulang Filipino! Long live Filipino cinema!”
Mr. Tumbocon is a 2023 awardee of the Jefferson Awards for Community Service, given to individuals who have devoted their lives to exceptional public service in any arena. For over 50 years, the Jefferson Awards have been the highest and most prestigious honor recognizing public service in the United States. Past recipients include Oprah Winfrey, Former President Jimmy Carter, and Shaquille O’Neal.
On November 3, 2023, a Kagay-anon MMA fighter based in Qatar won his debut MMA fight with a third round technical knockout on the undercard of ONE Friday Fights 39 at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
Moises Lois Ilogon, a.k.a. The Lion King, won his third straight professional MMA bout to keep his record spotless at 3-0, a feat cheered by his close friends and associates who watched the fight live online.
But just who is the Lion King of Cagayan de Oro?
Moises Lois Ilogon was born in Cagayan de Oro City on August 13, 2000, the youngest of four children of Mie Amor Ilogon and Apolinario “Dodong” Casil Jr. of Barangay Canitoan.
His siblings are Mielandbeth“Lalyn” a businesswoman, Noah Gadriel, Territory Manager of Recket Mead Johnson (who’s also a Muay Thai/MMA Instructor), and Apolinario GabrielIII“Thirdy”, a Muay Thai/MMA Instructor at the Pelaez Sports Center and head coach of Cagayan de Oro City’s Muay Thai Team.
Although he’s known as Em-em to his family and friends, his Mom Amor called him Bololot because even as early as eight months old, she already noticed her bunso’s unusual dexterity with his hands and feet.
He finished his elementary days at City Central School and high school at the Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School (MOGCHS).
“He is so lambing and humble, and was a favorite of his late grandfather (Amor’s father), whom he constantly amused with his funny antics,” Amor recalls. Moises is the youngest apo of Calinico Putian Blasco-Ilogon and Elnora Balibagon Tiu Contreras-Ilogon.
Even at a young age, his mom already noticed he did not have a barkada, just acquaintances, preferring instead the company of his siblings Thirdy and Noah, who were influential in awakening his interest in the martial arts, especially Muay Thai.
Muay Thai Roots
In 2010, Moises started hanging around his brother Thirdy at the former Elorde Boxing Gym at Stonestown Suites in Uptown Cagayan de Oro.
Eventually, Thirdy became his first instructor for Muay Thai and at the young age of 13, he was entered into a summer tournament in Impasug-ong, Bukidnon,, where he won and was adjudged the Best Fighter of the tournament.
The very next month, he was sponsored by the Pelaez Sports Center Muay Thai Gym to the 2013 Batang Pinoy games in Bacolod City where he came home with his first gold medal. It was this group known as the Lions who baptized him with his MMA moniker “The Lion King” since he was the most outstanding member of their club.
The Philippine Youth Games a.k.a. Batang Pinoy is the national youth sports competition of the Philippines for athletes under 15 years old. Unlike the Palarong Pambansa a competition for student athletes, the Batang Pinoy also includes the out-of-school youth.
In 2013 Moises became a member of the Philippine Muay Thai Team non-training pool until officially becoming a National Team member in 2018. He fought in Vietnam at the Uni Super Championship where he absorbed his first loss in Muay Thai on December 23, 2018, but still made a podium finish with a silver medal.
“I still enjoy Muay Thai which has become my bread-and-butter, and I have only lost three times in the 40 bouts I have already competed in,” he reveals. Although he has previously won the national title three times, he last competed during the 32nd Southeast Asian Games held 5 to 17 May 2023 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia where he won a bronze medal but maintains he remains open to again competing in Muay Thai (known as Kun Khmer in Cambodia).
“The bronze medal I got at the SEA Games meant a lot to me because, even though I’ve been out of circulation for a while, I’ve rediscovered my desire to compete and win,” Ilogon said in an article posted in The Tiebreaker Times.
Due to his outstanding performance in the 32nd SEA Games, Ilogon was recruited by ONE Championship under the ONE Friday Fights banner, and the rest is history.
The Lion King cometh
Under the mentorship of his Kuya Thirdy, Moises fought his first MMA bout in 2014 at Quezon City. He further added to his repertoire of moves by developing his wrestling and Jiu jitsu skills while working at the Pasig Metrowalk with Submission Sport Philippines.
After further honing his skills, he turned professional in 2018 with the URCC and won his next two bouts by second-round submission. He credits Coach Erwin Tagle for rounding out his fighting skills in MMA and Jiu Jitsu to a higher level.
In 2020, he moved to Doha, Qatar as an OFW seeking greener pastures to ensure a brighter future for his only child, five-year old Ammarah Lois. At present, he works as a Muay Thai and Fitness Instructor with Ox Fitness Lab.
While in Qatar, he enrolled in an online course for nursing assistants when the covid pandemic hit, and eventually graduated in October 28, 2022 with a professional diploma to practice should he choose to do so in the future.
It seems that after all those hungry years, the stars are finally aligning for The Lion King of Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines.