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Thank you Rod Hall

Manila was the second most destroyed city — next to Warsaw — after World War II. It seems with each year that passes, the physical scars remain, but the memory of what happened here diminishes. Thankfully, there are individuals who are doing everything in their power to make sure the memories of what happened in Manila during World War II are not forgotten.

Our oldest brother, Rafael Roces, was beheaded by the Japanese. He had a column in the old Manila Times called “Thorns and Roses,” we named our column after his. I joined the guerillas and eventually became a captain in Marking’s guerillas. We saw the best and worst of the Filipino during those years. But, one thing we learned has always stuck with us: “Patriots never get rich.” Because of our personal experience, we are grateful for the gift that Rod Hall is giving to the Philippines tomorrow.

Roderick Hall was born in the Philippines in 1932; the son of Alaistair Hall and Consuelo McMicking. For students of Philippine economic history the name McMicking should be very familiar. Consuelo was the sister of Joseph R. McMicking, a Filipino, who married Mercedes Zobel. Rod and Joe are also members of one of the oldest and most storied families in Philippine history, the Ynchausti family. Joe McMicking was well-known as the driving force and economic power behind Ayala Corporation and the development of Makati. He is also known in Spain and Europe for developing the resort town of Sotogrande. It is appropriate then that Rod Hall is donating over 700 books on World War II to the Filipinas Heritage Library, a part of the Ayala Foundation. The Ayala Foundation was originally named the Filipinas Foundation, until its name was changed in 1990. The original founders of the Filipinas Foundation were Joe and Mercedes McMicking.

From February 3 to March 3, 1945 the Battle for Manila raged. It is regarded as some of the worst urban fighting during World War II in the Pacific, with around 100,000 civilian casualties on top of combatant losses. Every atrocity imaginable, and many unimaginable, happened. It is truly appropriate that Rod Hall is donating his collection on the 65th anniversary of the first day of the Battle for Manila.

Previously, Rod has memorialized his memories of wartime Manila in the book Manila Memories, in which he talks about the loss of his family. “Those taken from our home that day were: Mrs. Angelina Rico de McMicking, my grandmother; Mrs Consuelo McMicking Hall, my mother; Miss Helen McMicking, my aunt; Lieut. Alfred McMicking, my uncle, a survivor of the Bataan Death March; Miss Marita Lopez Mena, a family friend; Mr Carlos Perez Rubio, my aunt’s fiancé…after the liberation it was discovered that our family members were among more than one hundred people executed at the Masonic Temple. They were identified from the charred bodies.”

Rod Hall also relates how he and his sister Consuelo and his brothers Ian and Alaistair were rescued: “Suddenly I saw a relative, Arturo Ortigas, and said ‘Look at our new house.’ He replied ‘Oh my God, your father is frantic about you. Come on, I am going to take you to your father…’ Arriving at the front gates of Santo Tomas, Dad was called, and we had a tearful reunion.” Accordingly, Rod Hall has dedicated his donation in memory of his family members who died during World War II.

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It is through the efforts of private individuals like Rod Hall that Manila and the Philippines during World War II is being remembered. We hope that scholars and students will take advantage of the incredible collection of World War II era books that he has given to the Filipinas Heritage Library. Thank you Rod Hall for this gift and for all that you have done to help remember World War II in the Philippines.

For more information about the Roderick Hall Collection please call the Filipinas Heritage Library at (632) 8921801.

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