PART IV MACATHUR RETURNS

 

        1.  THE ADVANCE TROOP

The First week of January 1945, the American liberation army was at the Lingayen Gulf. For several days, the American bombarded the central coastal towns with cannon shells for their warships. Their aim was to clear the area of Japanese troops before they would land.

Dagupan suffered a heavy damage from this shelling operation. Among the most precious building destroyed was the original elementary school on the bank of the river on what is now Magsaysay park.

After the area was cleared of Japanese, the American advance troop consisting of the sixth army under the command of General Walter Krueger landed simultaneously over a wide area extending from Lingayen, Binmaley, Dagupan up to San Fabian.


2.  MACARTHUR LANDS IN BONUAN

Here is an eyewitness account of the MacArthur landing in Bonuan, given by Atty. Iluminado C. Meneses, Secretary to Mayor Cipriano M. Manaois. He grew up in Bonuan.

"It was about 9:00 O'clock in the morning of January 9, l945 when the advance troops under General Krueger landed. I was about 14 years old at the time and my family was in Bonuan. I was then first year in high school.

After the advance troops landed, they mounted an anti-air craft on a hill near the old cemetery in Bonuan, in the vicinity of what is now the Dagupan Golf Club links. As soon as the troops sett1ed in the beach area, we, the people of Bonuan started to befriend them. Two men of the anti-air craft unit became my friends. They were Pvt. Julio Funaro, and one Sgt. Kelth. T

The coconut grooves along the shoreline in Bonuan struck them with the similarity of the place to New Guinea. Because of this similarity, they held the initial impression that the people of the area must be like the people of New Guinea. They were Surprised to find out that we spoke English. In his curiosity, Sgt. Keith asked me: "Where did you learn to speak English?" "Oh, I learned it in school." I replied. "You have a school here?" he pursued his inquiry. "Yeah," I told him, with pride. ''How far is your school from here?" "Its over there about a few kilometers away," I said, pointing towards the direction of the Gregorio del Pilar school.

"Kilometer? Hi, how long is a kilometer?" he asked. That struck me as strange. The American did not know how long a kilometer is.

It was about two, Or three days, later when MacArthur actually landed in Bonuan. About 11:00 o'clock in the morning, I was at the hill with my friends who were manning the anti-air craft unit. There was a sense of anticipation among the Americans all over the place. They were all looking towards the sea, their eyes focused towards a group of soldiers wading towards the shore. I followed their gaze and I saw General MacArthur wading towards the shore. You can't miss him.. His figure was so striking with his cap, Rayban (sunglasses) and corncob pipe.

"There he is," Pvt. Funaro exclaimed. He was so excited. In the spirit of levity, Sgt. Keith responded: "That son-of-a-bitch, He could get ashore riding a 'duck,' but he prefers to wade, with all those photographers around. He is a big show-off."

MacArthur's landing- spot was about 100 meters away from where I stood.

Atty. Meneses was a grandson of Don Macario Meneses, the hero of the Katipunan revolution who did the liaison work between General Romeo Manalang of Zambales and "General Francisco Macabulos of Central Luzon. He graduated law as cum laude from the then Dagupan Colleges (now University of Pangasinan) and was for sometime provincial supervisor of the Commission on Elections. He is a director of the blue Beach Lions Club.


3.  MACARTHUR IN DAGUPAN

As soon as General Macarthur landed in Bonuan, he proceeded to the town. He appropriated the Home Economics building of the West Central School as his headquarters.mcarthur1.JPG (26281 bytes)

Shortly thereafter, the Philippine Civil Affairs Unit (PCAU) started to organize the civil government of the province. Dagupan continued to be the capital town of Pangasinan until about June, 1945.

As a matter of formality the Filipino leaders who held government positions during the Japanese occupation were placed under arrest to account for their activities during the wartime.

Among the numerous Pangasinan leaders arrested were Secretary B1as F Rayos and Mayor Amado LI. Ayson Mayor Ayson was cleared soon enough, and for a while, he was made to continue as mayor under the PCUA.

It took sometime for Secretary Rayos to be cleared. He was brought to Muntinlupa, One of those who worked for his clearance was the famous Guerrilla leader, Ferdinand Marcos, who one time slept in the Rayos house in Pantal his sojourn in Pangasinan during the war.


4.  SCHOOL ROOM

As normal times returned in Pangasinan, Sofronio Quioson was appointed Governor. In Dagupan Angel Fernandez was returned to his post as the town executive.

Immediately, the schools opened their doors to resume their operations. Every where there were countless students who could not be accommodated for lack of facilities. The Pangasinan Provincial High School in Lingayen was decentralized. Dagupan branch of the provincial high school was opened.

The Klar building in front of the plaza (now the Dagupan Polyclinic Hospital) was utilized as a schoolhouse. An annex building, consisting of temporary materials, was put up in elementary school compound facing Torres Bugallon Avenue west, which is now the site of the Teachers Memorial Building.

The man responsible in organizing the high school in Dagupan, and serving as its first principal was Emilio Severino. Responding to the need of the hour, Mayor Fernandez made representation to the Americans occupation force-and requested for Quonset huts. His request was granted.

Mayor Fernandez put up the Quonset huts in Tapuac. On the second year of its operations, the High School was moved to Tapuac end occupied the Quonset huts put up by Mayor. By then, Nemesio Caralde was the new principal.

From that time on, three other principals have taken turns to administer the school: Eduardo Q. Edralin (1953-1954); Isabel Alisangco (1954-1967) and Luz Alfante (1967 up to the present).


5.  ORIENT COLLEGES

Responding to the school boom, veteran educator Andres Jacinto and his wife Lourdes Villamil Jacinto went around to organize a corporation to put up a school. With five other men who joined them, they put up the Orient Colleges on Rivera Street.

The five others who helped the Jacintos put up Orient Colleges were: Dr Angel Estrellas, Felipe Tanopo, Jose Zabala, Teofilo P. Guadiz and Juan Saingan.

More schools were established later. This established the position of Dagupan as the new educational center of Pangasinan.

In 1972, Orient Colleges began to have a young Dagupeno for its new president. His name was Reynaldo Quinto Lambino. Born February 19 1933 in Lucao, Lambino was barely 39 years old when he assumed the presidency of the college. An accountant by profession, he undertook a daring move in 1968 when he opened the Philippine Review Center. This is a new review school for would be accountants preparing for the board examinations. The center turned out to be a success, and it has grown steadily stronger with the years.

Lambino graduated with a degree in commerce, major in accounting and auditing and taught in the following review center: Manila review Center; Trinity Review center in Quezon City; Zamboanga Review Center, and Davao Review Center. He is married to the former Lucerlita Paragas, a practicing Certified Public Accountant.


6.  LEE SIN

With the return of normal times after three troubled years of Japanese occupation the climate for business and economic growth in Dagupan became more promising.

Sometime in 1946, Lee Sin, an amoy-born Chinese businessman arrived in Manila when he was eight years old. Born in China in 1922, He was 24 when he arrived in Dagupan.

He organized the Carried Lumber Company together with two brothers: Ben Lim Choy and Lim Chat. They put up its lumberyard at the foot of Quintos Bridge, where the Teczon Furniture Store now stands.

In 1960, another company group of traders put up the Cosmic Lumber Company. These were Domingo Chua Cham, Maria Gunday, Deogracias Fernandez and Inocencia Collado.

Lee Sin broke off with his partners at Carried Lumber in 1965. He bought the Cosmic Lumber Company and renamed it the Great Cosmic Lumber Company, the indisputable lumberyard king of Dagupan. Today, Lee Sin has become the indisputable lumberyard king of Dagupan. He became a Filipino citizen in 1961.

7. MACARTHUR AND NORIEGA

We close this chapter with an interesting incident in Dagupan about General Douglas MacArthur in 1945.

As soon as the American general was settled in his headquarters at the home economics building of the west central elementary school compound he realized that one tail of his star insignia was broken. He was so agitated about it. He wanted it restored to perfect condition, and he could not entrust it just to anyone among his thousands of soldiers. He personally went out and looked for a goldsmith who could do the job for him.

Accompanied by his aide de camp, he went by foot downtown and inquired for a good goldsmith who could restore his broken star insignia into perfect condition.

Gregorio S. Noriega was the man of the hour for him. He entered the Noriega Goldsmith shop and watched Noriega perform the task. When Noriega returned the insignia to the American general, he was completely satisfied with the craftsmanship. He beamed with joy and thanked Noriega profusely for it.

As he came out of the Noriega shop, he had his picture taken on the street along Torres Bugallon Avenue, with the Noriega goldsmith shop as the background. That historic picture has traveled far and wide. It has become Dagupan's immortal picture of MacArthur's stay in their midst.

Noriega was a native of Meycawayan, Bulacan. He migrated to Dagupan in 1933. He was the first goldsmith to establish a nickel and chromium plating shop in the entire northern Luzon area. Noriega has six children; Gregorio, Jr., Jose, Carlos, Zenaida, Estrellita and Clarita.

After his death, Zenaida now a physician, continued to manage the business he left behind. Zenaida is married to City Councilor Pedro T. Torio, Jr

 

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