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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Memorials and museums

Following the funky museum, we went to see a great big gun!

That came off the deck of a Hellship, the Oryoko Maru, and then to the Hellships Memorial itself. This is now maintained by the Australians who were a major presence in the capture and liberation of the Philippines. We had an Australian fellow with us and he laid a wreath there.

In the water just beyond the memorial is the Oryoko Maru, from which the big deck gun came. Around 1700 people died when it was sunk by friendly fire, right there where it rests, so this is a tomb and a place honoring the sacrifice of the Australians and many others. Thanks, mates.

Here are a couple of links about the Hell Ships. Top one is general, second is about the ship sunk in Subic Bay at the memorial site. It's really a terrible story, sort of like a floating Death March. Uncle Karl was not on one of these ships because he became too sick to be moved and died shortly thereafter. Only healthy soldiers were shipped out to Japan and elsewhere.

Then we went back to our hotel to prepare to move on the next day to places like Clark Air Base and Camp O'Donnell. My uncle was stationed on the base at least part of the time, and may have been there at the time of the surrender. We don't know.

The day we went to the former Clark Air Base was one of those days we got a cheeseburger AND a sundae! Imagine! These delights were provided by the local VFW which is run by American ex-pats who live in the Philippines. And this is where we learned the Philippines has no public libraries, because the VFW has one and is looking for more books all the time. The only other libraries are in schools and certain businesses like law firms.

Here are some shots of the parade ground. I have some 
taken by Uncle Karl also and will post them as soon as I figure out how. I was able to scan them in, but can't upload them due to file size. Any ideas?

Then we went to a site totally unrelated to any war. We just happened to be in the area where Mt Pinatubo erupted in 1991, and covered the ground with a mudflow many feet thick. So they moved themselves into the ceiling of this sanctuary, most of which was buried.

Here's a link to a site with better pictures.

Just from looking at this guy's blog I can see there are better times to visit the Philippines, when it's not so God-awful hot. I know they arrange this tour to coincide with Araw Ng Kagitingan, but if you don't have an interest in the war, and just want to travel here, I was told January is best. The toilets will still not accept toilet paper, however, you can always get mangoes.


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