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97-year old veteran recalls war experience

Written by
  • Perla E.
  • 8 years ago

    Rosita who was five years his junior died at 76 last 2000. They are blessed with four children.

   Cabalang’s story began in 1942 when he was 25 years old. He was then assigned at the Engineering Corps in Dagupan, Pangasinan. “Nang dumating ang mga Hapon sa La Union, umatras kami sa Calayungan at dumaan kami sa Arayat (Pampanga) kung saan nagbuwal kami ng malaking kahoy para humarang sa daan.”

   He described Calayungan as a place with a big bridge and airport.

   From Arayat, they passed Lubao, also in Pampanga where there was a bridge for the railway. “Pinasabog namin ang dulo ng tulay,” he said casually.

   In Hermosa, first town of Bataan from Pampanga, a Japanese warplane bombed their vehicle that resulted to the death of two of his companions but their vehicle was still functional so they proceeded to Balanga.

   “Inabutan namin ang mga Infantry (Filipino-American soldiers) sa tabi ng daan. Pinatabas sa amin ang mga  tubo para makita sa malayo kung may dumarating na kaaway,”  Cabalang  said.

   From Balanga, they went to Balut, Pilar before proceeding to Orion where they fenced the seaside with barbed wires. From Orion, they went back to the crossing of Pilar bound for Bagac where joining the Infantry, they were met with heavy gunfire.

   “Matapos ang matinding putukan, nahalata yata ng mga Hapon na wala nang bala ang Infantry kaya hinuli sila. Dinala ang mga Infantry sa tabi ng ilog at pinagpapatay. Mabuti na lamang naka-libre kami,” Cabalang said.

   He could not say how many were killed by the Japanese soldiers. He said that he and some companions escaped in separate directions. “Nagkahiwa-hiwalay kami at suot ako ng suot sa bundok hanggang makatagpo ako ng mga sibilyan.”

   He stayed in the hut of his future father-in-law where he helped plant crops.

   Cabalang receives a monthly pension of P5,000 plus P1,700 or a total of P6,700. “Dagdagan sana kami, nakakaawa kami dahil kulang na kulang sa bahay,” he said when asked what he wanted to tell Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.

   “Dagdagan din sana kami ni Pangulong Barrack Obama,” the old man appealed.

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