41st of a series
Japan surrenders, WW2 Pacific theatre ends
FINALLY, peace and freedom once again. Japan accepted the terms of surrender blared radio news when the sun showed its bright shining light in the morning of August 15, 1945.
Upon hearing the news, my father wrote:
“Early this morning, radio news announced that Japan accepted the terms of surrender last night. At 9:05 in the morning, THE ARTILERY GUNS AT KIANGAN STOPPED FIRING, THUS ENDING THE WAR IN THE PHILIPPINES.
Thus, wrote the late Luis Pawid Sr., Ifugao Deputy Governor, in sets of diaries that chronicle the dark years of the Japanese occupation in the country, particularly in Ifugao, during World War II.
Before the sun blanketed the firing lines in Kiangan, “... radio news informed that Japan accepted the terms of surrender last night,” he added.
“THIS LAST ARTILLERY FIRE FROM THE GUN, 105, of the 32nd Division signifies the end of sufferings and of the downfall of Nazism and tyranny from the enemy, all over the world. It is history for us here in Kiangan, to be proud that the last Allied artillery fire against the enemy was shot from one of the 105 cannons of the Americans, ending the war in the East and in the Philippines in particular,” he documented.
“I was honored by the American officers for inviting me to stand beside them when the ceremonial artillery / cannon fire boomed to end the war. No other civilians or officials were around. The gesture of these American officers soared my spirits to an exalted level which I consider as recognition of my love for country, democracy and freedom.
“After the ceremonies and the handshaking and goodbyes, I walked tall to our home and to the embrace of my beloved family. I tried to forget and forgive the evil intentions of those responsible for ‘blacklisting’ civilians. I tried to forget those months living in anxiety and fear for my life and thoughts of what would befall to my family. In the silence of my heart, I prayed ‘thank you Lord Jesus’ for His love and protection.
Americans breaking camp
“The artillery company immediately packed up their armaments and in the afternoon went to the lowlands. Silence reigned in Kiangan central once again.
“Sporadic rifle shots still went on in the front lines probably from the enemy as no more rifle shots sounded from our side. The Japanese were probably surprised when there were no more cannon fires, and why the Americans were withdrawing from the front lines.
“I can see all the soldiers and people are very happy that finally the war has come to its end. Although there was also sadness in the eyes of civilians as the American soldiers started packing their things and ready to leave town for the lowlands. However, I noted a battalion or so of the U.S. Army remained.
“On August 16, my relatives who are still staying with us are trying to keep themselves busy by fixing our war-torn house. Our neighbors are doing the same. Except for the sounds of carpentry work in town, there was quiet and calm.
“Occasionally, we hear the sounds of Japanese rifle shots over the ridge. They probably do not as yet know of the surrender of their country.
“But this afternoon, two sickly enemy soldiers with six stout Japanese women came to town to surrender. They stated that they passed through the open rice fields at night from the ridge above Bayninan.
“All the members of the 20th Infantry left this afternoon...
“On Aug. 17, I was informed that Japanese soldiers and civilians came down to Nunto-ol and Pudawan and helped themselves of the food supplies left by the American soldiers, purposely for the hungry enemy, and by way of informing them that the war is over.”
Hungry enemy soldiers
“On Aug. 18, information from civilians coming from Hungduan reveal that Japanese soldiers are killing civilians and eating their cadavers. Some friendly Japanese soldiers were informed of the surrender of Japan simply sneered at the information, saying: ‘no, Japan no surrender; only American propaganda.’
“In the afternoon, Robert Pawid, a cousin of mine in the US Navy arrived for a short pass. We were overjoyed seeing him because it was rumored that the ship he was in, the ‘Langley’, was sunk by the enemy navy during the early part of the war.
“On August 19, no Japs came down to surrender, but my informants say sickly soldiers were coming down in small groups into the barrio of Nagacadan.
“On August 20, still no Japs came to town, reportedly for fear of Filipino soldiers. This prompted two squads of American soldiers, accompanied by our spearmen, to march to the barrios to call out the Japanese soldiers.
“It is sad to state that many civilians are sick and daily dying of influenza, malaria and dysentery. I wonder when sufficient medicine will be available in the readily established dispensary.
“August 21, no Japs are coming down to surrender. And there is no important event today.
“August 22, the American soldiers are very anxious to leave town and be shipped back to their homeland. Getting inpatient with the no show of Japanese soldiers, they had to march back to the barrios to seek and convince them that the war is over.
“On August 23, many civilians from the barrios are flocking into the dispensary for medical care. Most are sick of dysentery.
“Councilor Timmikpao, a nephew of mine, came to visit me. He and councilor Kimayong Dulnuan were the first locals to hide and protect Col. Volkman and Col. Blackburn at Antipolo and Haliap.
“On August 24, several civilians came to see me and expressed fear that the Japanese who are slowly moving from their zones might attack the town. I told them I do not have any authority to mobilize the soldiers.
However, the presence of a contingent of American soldiers is an assurance of safety. Besides, the 14th Infantry of the Philippine Army are also around.
“On August 25, the first batch of Japs started to come this morning. They come into town in two’s and most of them weak and sickly. One interesting happening was that a sickly Jap collapsed some 100 meters to the dispensary, and an American soldier just picked him up and carried him to the infirmary where he was fed and treated.
Civilians from Nagacadan, Maggok, and Hungduan are anxious to go back to their homes and see what remained of them; but information showed the Japs still occupied every native house in these barrios.
“On August 26, medicine has gone short and the Americans again gave some of their supplies. Captain Marvel in command of the remaining American contingent immediately requested his Headquarters to spare more medicine.
“This morning, the Buenavista Philippine Army left for Nueva Vizcaya because the Japs are afraid to come out and surrender so long as there are Filipino soldiers in town. They know the temper of Filipinos due to what they had done against the people these past years.
“Were it not for the Americans forbidding the killing of the defeated Japs, many of them who are sickly and dying of hunger would have been ‘finished’ by the people. The Japs began to fear even the natives.
“In the afternoon, American soldiers went to Amduntog and Nungawa to appease civilians who wanted to kill those Japanese who got all the remaining palay in their granaries. They were reminded that the war is over and killing the enemy is not right.
“On August 27, no Japs surrendered today.
“On August 28, a few sick Japs came to surrender and were immediately attended at the infirmary. In the afternoon, a battalion of the 14th Infantry arrived today from the North.
“On August 29, Councilor Puguon Buyocan with few men returned from a reconnaissance to see the possibility of going back to their homes. They informed that thousands of Japs are at the Malohong school compound where they set up regular guard patrols and an infirmary. They must have come from the forests of Dinayahan and Lobong.
“On August 30, other civilians who went to the barrios informed that the Japs are saying they will not yet surrender until their highest commander gives the order. No japs came down today.
“On August 31, some of the healthier Japanese soldiers who surrendered accompanied the Americans to the barrios. Carrying an upright white flag, they attempted to convince those Japs who occupied all the native houses. They came back without any enemy soldier surrendering.
To be continued. The series is published weekly every Saturday by SunStar Baguio, Philippines.
Note: The narrator is the youngest son of the late Luis I. Pawid of Kiangan, Ifugao and Angeline Laoyan of La Trinidad, Benguet. He is a journalist by profession, former town Mayor of La Trinidad, Benguet, and former Executive Director of the defunct Cordillera Executive Board, Cordillera Administrative Region. He now resides in New Jersey, USA.