MULTIMEDIA

SLIDESHOW: 75 years a patriot

Text and photos by Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 23 2019 01:02 PM

Patriotism does not exist in a vacuum.

It is measured by the resolve to fight back and the spirit to carry on with the battle.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) led by Comdr. Don Biadog, CHC, USN, Ret. honors remaining World War II Veterans in a simple ceremony inTacloban City as they commemorate the 75th anniversary of General MacArthur's Leyte Landing on October 20, 2019.  Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

In October 20, 1944, General Douglas MacArthur returned to the Philippines and found men and women who fought as guerillas against the Japanese invaders. These fighters kept the Japanese forces at bay until the General’s return.

Seventy-five after that historic battle, the few remaining fighting guerillas in these parts are honored. 

In a simple ceremony organized by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Comdr. Don Biadog, CHC, USN, Ret. handed out simple tokens of appreciation to the remaining WWII Philippine Scouts, former guerillas who joined the Philippine and American soldiers in completely driving out the Japanese.

Philippine Scout Cesario Palaña Lagutan, 93, 

“Oh yes 100% (hundred) percent. I love my country (Philippines) second only is the United States, because I was a native of the Philippines.”  

Philippine Scout Cesario Palaña Lagutan, 93, was given recognition during a simple ceremony organized by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) held in Tacloban City as part of the Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Leyte Landings on October 19, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Philippine Scout Benjamin Canonigo, 95

“Syempre, paano kung maubos ang Pilipino kamatay? ‘Di kawawa ang mga tao.” (“Of course, What would happen if the Filipinos were all killed? Then all the people would be miserable.”). 

A definite answer from Philippine Scout Benjamin Canonigo, 95, when asked if he’s more than happy to have served and fought against the Japanese army during World War II. He was given recognition during a simple ceremony organized by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) held in Tacloban City as part of the Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Leyte Landings on October 19, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Philippine Scout Felicidad Lagahit Palaña, 94,

“We ambushed the Japanese patrol. We were only six with 6 rifles and a pistol.”  Philippine Scout Felicidad Lagahit Palaña, 94, shared how they fought against the Japanese troops during World War II.

He was given recognition during a simple ceremony organized by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) held in Tacloban City as part of the Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Leyte Landings on October 19, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Philippine Scout Fortunata Balyeras Perez, 90,

“Ang amon misyon, ang pag-pangulektang pagkaun, para sa mga gerilya.” (Our mission was to collect food for the guerilla armies.)

Fortunata Perez, 90, joined the army at 13 years old, while she was in grade 5. She joined a group of young girls in collecting food from neighbors as support to the Filipino resistance fighters.

She was given recognition during a simple ceremony organized by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) held in Tacloban City as part of the Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Leyte Landings on October 19, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Commander Don Biadog, CHC, USN, Ret. , 62

“We’re honoring them because of their faithful service to this country. We have to express gratitude whenever possible, because as you know, we are losing them by the hundreds everyday.” 

Comdr. Don Biadog, CHC, USN, Ret. leads the prayer to open the simple recognition ceremonies for World War II veterans organized by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) in Tacloban City as part of the commemoration of General MacArthur's Leyte Landings on October 20, 2019.  Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Remaining World War II Veterans arrive for a simple ceremony organized by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) led by Comdr. Don Biadog, CHC, USN, Ret. in Tacloban City as they commemorate General MacArthur's Leyte Landings on October 20, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Philippine Scout Fortunata Balyeras Perez, 90, arrive for the ceremony organized by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) in Tacloban City on October 19, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Remaining World War II Veterans grace the simple ceremony organized by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) led by Comdr. Don Biadog, CHC, USN, Ret in Tacloban City as they commemorate General MacArthur's Leyte Landings on October 20, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Philippine Scout Benjamin Canonigo, 95, listens during the recognition ceremonies by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) held in Tacloban City on October 19, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Comdr. Don Biadog, CHC, USN, Ret. share a light moment with Philippine Scout Benjamin Canonigo, 95 during a recognition ceremonies organized by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) held in Tacloban City on October 19, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Philippine Scout Cesario Palaña Lagutan, 93 is given recognition during a ceremony organized by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) held in Tacloban City on October 19, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Comdr. Don Biadog, CHC, USN, Ret. spends time with World War II veterans during a recognition ceremonies organized by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) held in Tacloban City on October 19, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News