‘MacArthur landed in Dagupan, not Lingayen’
(The Philippine Star) - January 10, 2017 - 12:04am

DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines – General Douglas MacArthur first landed on Bonuan Blue beach here and not in Lingayen Gulf, according to a 90-year-old former US Navy man. 

“Jan. 9, 1945 between 11 a.m. and noon, I was standing in Bonuan Catacdang beside the road when Gen. Douglas MacArthur passed by in a military jeep,” Alejandro Balolong, a resident of Barangay Bonuan Gueset, said.

“I saw him,” Balolong said, noting that MacArthur was wearing a military uniform and his jeep was in a convoy of military vehicles.

Balolong was only 17 at the time. He joined the US Navy after four months.

“That’s why I believe that it was here on Bonuan beach where he landed, not in Lingayen or other places,” he said.

Balolong is said to be the only living witness to MacArthur’s landing here.

He said he remembers the incident every time Dagupeños celebrate the anniversary of Mac-Arthur’s return to the country.  He also makes it a point to attend the anniversary celebration every year.

“That feeling keeps coming back and it’s good that he returned here,” Balolong said.

Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino III led local officials in welcoming representatives of the military, other government agencies, allied countries and surviving World War II veterans at the ceremony marking the 72nd anniversary of the Lingayen Gulf Landings of the US Allied Forces and 10th Pangasinan Veterans Day here yesterday.

Espino said war veterans and their families “remain worthy recipients of our deepest respect, admiration and gratitude.”

However, he noted that from 15,000, there are only 370 surviving veterans, 13 of them centenarians.

“Every passing day in their lives is a blessing, a bonus for those who care for them,” Espino said. – Eva Visperas, Cesar Ramirez

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