Launching of the book, The War in Cebu

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Freeman) - December 7, 2015 - 9:00am

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and therefore for us Catholics it is a holiday of obligation because as Catholics we truly believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary was made sinless or free from the stain of original sin from the time she was conceived in her mother's womb by the virtue of her bearing the only begotten son of God. It is a one of the most important doctrines of the Catholic Church by Pope Pius IX in the year 1854.

But four-years later in the year 1558 in a small village called Lourdes in the foothills of the Pyrenees on the French side, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a 14-year old girl named Bernadette Soubirous in a cave next to a river. She appeared to her many times but on March 25, 1858 the beautiful lady in the grotto said to Bernadette, "Que soy era Immaculada Concepcion" (I am the Immaculate Conception). Bernadette ran away repeating what the Blessed Lady just told her, but she didn't understand what it meant because she did not know that four years earlier Pope Pius IX had issued a Papal Bull declaring the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Immaculate Conception.

The young girl then joined the convent and when she died; her body was not corrupted at all. She lies in state in Nevers, France and has since been declared St. Bernadette. One of the most famous movies about this apparition was "The Song of Bernadette" where millions have seen it on film.

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Today is a historic day as it was on December 8, 1941 (in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii it was December 7, 1941) when the United States entered the war in the Pacific after Japan bombed its naval base in Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands and because of this the war in Europe became World War II. This year is the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II when Japan accepted the unconditional surrender on August 15, 1945. On September 2, 1945, Japan signed the surrender document on board the USS Missouri, which is now a museum ship in Pearl Harbor.

Because of the historic significance of this day, my good friend, Professor Jobers "Jojo" Bersales informed me that today we will officially launch the coffee table book, entitled "The War in Cebu." Bersales, one of the five co-authors for this coffee table book, already wrote other books, "Pagsulay: Churches of Bohol; before and after the 2013 earthquake. Then he and Mr. Carlos Apuhin of the Bank of the Philippine Islands both wrote the Anvil Award winning coffee table book entitled "Salapi" The Numismatic Heritage of the Philippines in 2013. Who would believe that a coffee table book about the history of money would be awarded the 50th Grand Anvil Awards last year.

In 2012 he also wrote the commemorative album "Celebrating Milestones: 75 Years of the SVD Mission at USC. And in 2006 he co-authored with Dr. Resil Mojares and Mrs. Erlinda Alburo the book entitled "University of San Carlos, A Commemorative History." Now he has asked me to collaborate with him in the making of the book "The War in Cebu."

Another co-author is the eminent Dr. Resil Mojares, Professor Emeritus of the University of San Carlos and founding director of the Cebuano Studies Center and visiting professor of Kyoto University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of California-Los Angeles, University of Hawaii and the University of Singapore. Many of his books have received national recognition. Among them "The War Against the Americans: Resistance and Collaboration in Cebu Province," Vicente Sotto: The Maverick Senator" and the "Aboitiz Family & Firm in the Philippines." One of my favorite books by Resil is "Theater in Society; Society in Theater: A Social History of a Cebuano Village 1840-1940 about the life in the town of Carcar where my grandfather Don Jose Avila grew up. Yes we have roots in Carcar City.

The other authors are David Colamaria an archivist for the United States Navy whose grandfather Edward Monahan served as 1st Sergeant for Company G of the 182nd Infantry Regiment during the Liberation of Cebu and Mr. David Taylor who is the official historian on World War II for the Americal Division Veterans Association the unit that liberated Cebu in 1945. Both of them live in the United States of America and I haven't met them yet.

As far as the book "The War in Cebu" is concerned, it is a very comprehensive book about the events before, during and at the end of World War II written in different chapters. More importantly, it has black and white photos that Prof. Bersales was able to secure from the archives of the US Army and Navy which can be found in the US National Archives. Kudos to the University of San Carlos Press and my fellow co-authors who wrote this piece of history of World War II in Cebu, which hopefully should be a must read book by all Cebuano students in high school or in college. Hopefully the Department of Education (DepEd) would include this book as part of the reading materials for all grade levels.

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For email responses to this article, write to vsbobita@mozcom.com or vsbobita@gmail.com. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.



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