Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Philippines in DC

Where can you not find Filipinos around the world? Much like our Indian friends, Filipinos can be seen anywhere and everywhere. A Filipino became a starting pitcher for the 2010 Major League Baseball championship. One Filipino of four Black Eyed Peas played during the US's most watched sports spectacle this year. "Just the Way You Are" has been sung many times by American Idol contestants, and this song was composed by a Filipino. President Obama's appetite is ensured to be on high by a Filipino Chef. I wouldn't be surprised if there are Filipinos invited to the Royal Wedding. A Filipino is truly emerging among many races around the world.

The Philippines and the United States have long been related in history and development. The US, after the Spaniards have inhabited the Philippines for quite some time. During the War of the Pacific, the US liberated the country from Japanese rule. The US gave the Philippines its independence on July 4, 1946. The US also gave the influence of Basketball, reality shows and Lindsay Lohan...

Washington DC is one of the many melting pot cities in the US. You can see a lot of different cultures from every corner of the city. This is why everytime I stroll the Nation's Capital, I try to see if there are any monuments, objects, signs, or sights related to my beloved hometown. And I was surprised to see that there are places and sites in DC that highlights or mentions the Philippines.

Just across the Philippine Embassy to the United States along Massachusetts Avenue, there exists two (2) streets named after two Philippine places liberated by the Americans. Beside the Embassy there is the Bataan St., while across the rotunda there is Corregidor St. Bataan is a province in Region 3 of the Philippines where the infamous Death March started. The Fall of Bataan, or better known as the Araw ng Kagitingin is still being commemorated in the Philippines until today. On the other hand, Corregidor is an island off the coast of Manila Bay, which was an American stronghold during the second World War.

We have been strong allies with the US during the Second World War. This made us worthy to have our country's name etched in one of the pillars of the World War II Memorial, which is found just across the Washington Monument.

Etched on the "Pacific" side of the WWII Memorial are some Philippine provinces were much battle took place during the war. Places mentioned were Bataan, Corregidor, Leyte Gulf, Phillippine Sea, and Manila.

The name of our country can also be seen in the Korean War Memorial, located on the left side of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial. If we recall our history right, the Philippines sent the 4th largest troop under the United Nations command. Around 7,420 Fillipinos participated in the Korean War. Former President Fidel V. Ramos was among the soldiers sent to Korea.

Various Filipino-sounding names can also be seen in the name wall of the Vietnam War Memorial. The Philippines, just like in the two previous wars, participated in the Vietnam War, which took place from 1964-1973. Around 2,000 Filipinos participated in the Vietnam War.

The Iwo Jima Memorial, or the US Marine Corps Memorial, is located in Meade Street in Arlington, Virginia, just a few miles from Downtown DC. The monument depicts the flag-raising Iwo Jima island, much made famous by the Clint Eastwood movie "Flags of Our Fathers." The US Marines participated in what the United States call the "Philippine Insurrection," a more politically correct terminology for the US regime in the Philippines.

In the Arlington Cemetery, where the famous Tomb of the Unknown Soldier can be seen, there is a museum that features military decorations from all over the world. There, the Phillippines' Medal of Valor is exhibited. I have to brag that ours is one of the most beautiful military decorations. :)

It is also exhibited in the Cemetery the several plaques of appreciation and commemoration to the Tomb of the Unkown Soldier. In 2009, then AFP Chief of Staff Narciso Abaya and Army Chief Gen. Delfin Bangit offered their respective plaques. 

On matters of faith, of course the Philippines is famous for being the only Catholic country in East Asia. Here in DC, the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception houses many chapels of images of the Virgin Mary from many countries. Of course, the Philippines has its share of image. The replica of the image of our Lady of Antipolo can be seen in the beautiful crypt church at the basement of the Basilica. 


The paintings on both sides of the chapel were painted by the famous Blanco family of Rizal.

Also, thank God for stores like the Manila Oriental and Fiesta Oriental, where we buy our stock of Stik-O, Lucky Me Pancit Canton, Choc-Nut, Patis, Sinigang Mix, Tocino, and Pan de Sal, we wouldn't have to be uber-homesick after all.


Anonymous said...

"We have been strong allies with the US during the Second World War. This made us worthy to have our country's name etched in one of the pillars of the World War II Memorial, which is found just across the Washington Monument."
--- better get your facts straight. The reason for the Philippines being there was because it was a territory and and a protectorate of the United States. This is what the columns meant and why they were erected: to enumerate the states and the territories of the US back in WW2 which were affected by the war.

Jurb said...

That is correct. The Philippines during WWII was a Commonwealth of the United States, similar to Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands.

Thanks for the clarification.