Monday, October 20, 2008

The Battle of Leyte

Today is the 64th anniversary of the famous “Leyte Landing” of General Douglas MacArthur and his forces in Palo, Leyte Island on October 20, 1944.
The Battle of Leyte was part of the Pacific Theatre of World War II.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur and staff land at Palo Beach, Leyte, 20 October 1944.
Date 20 October – 31 December 1944
Location: Leyte Island, Philippines
Result: Decisive Allied victory

United States
Empire of Japan

Douglas MacArthur
Walter Krueger
Franklin C. Sibert
John R. Hodge
Ruperto C. Kangleon
Tomoyuki Yamashita
Sosaku Suzuki
Shiro Makino

200,000 U.S. troops
3,189 Filipino guerrillas
55,000 Japanese troops

Casualties and losses:
Allied trops 3,500 killed
and 12,000 wounded
Japanese 49,000 killed

The Battle of Leyte in the Pacific campaign of World War II was the invasion and conquest of Leyte in the Philippines by American and Filipino guerrilla forces under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, who fought against the Imperial Japanese Army in the Philippines led by General Tomoyuki Yamashita from 17 October to 31 December 1944. The battle launched the Philippines campaign of 1944-45 for the recapture and liberation of the entire Philippine Archipelago and to end almost three years of Japanese occupation.

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaand wikimedia/commons.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

“MILAGROSA,” miracle lady with a mystic scent

By: Enn C. Baybay
Freelance Writer

“Milagrosa,” a runaway rice variety- "miracle lady" with a mystic scent wants to be reunited to her homeland.

RIYADH - “Milagrosa Rice” or miracle rice has striking resemblance to a beautiful lady, Filipina name, but embracing citizenship of another country. When this fashionable young woman walks in for the swimsuit category, the gullible audience were overjoyed and thought at last a new breed of Filipina will be crowned as Miss Universe. However, when she introduced herself, her fans were caught by surprise when she said: “I am Miss Thailand.” The festive air fades away in an instant.

In reality, it is not only our talented Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who invaded the lucrative market abroad, but also various Philippine products except for rice. Once our very own, Milagrosa has joined the caravan but ironically coming from another country. Some OFWs may have been victims of illegal recruiters or in the case of Milagrosa rice by shrewd businessmen whose ultimate opportunistic goal may prompt them to cheat and to enrich themselves at the expense of our national heritage.

During the Marcos era, a high yielding rice variety, named as IR8 was created. This variety was also popularly called the "Milagrosa" rice, a Spanish word for "miracle rice" which has been our pride and a favorite rice for many years. Its crystal, transparent complexion attracted not only Filipinos but also people from other countries. Many competitors are trying to duplicate this variety but failed to equal its vibrant texture. In fact, there was a report that a similar variety of "miracle rice" would have been christened as “Imelda” in honor of a once beauty queen and the former First Lady of the Philippines. However, the idea was abandoned due to the rice pests at that time that might have caused a "bad image for Mrs. Marcos and the IRRI."

Many people were wondering why the Philippines is facing a rice crisis when it hosts the prestigious International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the world. Since its founding, agriculture scientists have known that the Philippine agricultural lands need government support in providing fertilizers and pesticides to counteract the menacing bugs that attack our crops. That was almost half a century ago. Today, we are still confronted with the same dilemma. Before the so-called “Asian Tigers” were born, we were there at the limelight. We were always in the international spotlight economically. The importance of the "miracle rice" can not be ignored since it is the only variety that made the Philippines self-sufficient in rice during the early days of the Marcos regime.

Although there are factors beyond control, but failure in effective governance has been a major cause in the tremendous decline in the economy. The country’s debt has multiplied and keep on rising since the Martial law era and there is nothing in the horizon that shows us the light of recovery. I am expressing the sentiment of the common people, recipients of the fruits of a “failed economy.”

Meanwhile, feed up and frustrated of the economic situation, skilled workers have gone abroad in search of a better life, free from the "pests" that occupied the influential sector in society.

Going back to our beauty queen, Milagrosa, shall we just sit back and do nothing to regain its ownership? Was she adopted, stolen or pirated? I believe, the real mystery involving Milagrosa is adding insult to injury in a country whose “runaway daughter” gives magic and glory to an alien country. In my opinion, our local farmers are very sensitive to this issue and would like to be reunited to their once national pride which is nearing its extinction in a country it originates.

Can we prevent Milagrosa to be commercially manipulated, its Filipino name to be misrepresented and falsely advertised? For the sake of our national heritage, shall we take the initiative and start the campaign now to bring home our beautiful, “Milagrosa?” The least we can do perhaps is to convince the parties involved to refrain from using "Milagrosa" and "WagWag" rice labels in millions of bags being marketed abroad.

Close-up of Milagrosa rice bags on sale

Abundance of Milagrosa rice on sale abroad
at the height of the "rice crisis" in the Philippines.

Another variety "WagWag" rice of Philippine origin marketed abroad.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"The Sound of Music" An Inspiration

One of my friends emailed me the pictures of the kids behind the musical movie. Indeed, an inspiration to the present and future generations to come. Allow me to share with you its contents:

The 7 Children In "The Sound of Music" - After 40 Years
"The Sound of Music" is a 1965 film. It won the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1965 and is one of the most popular musicals ever produced. Still remember the 7 children of the Trapp family?

They were having a reunion after 40 years and all were looking healthy and amazingly well...

Sound Of Music

The hills are alive
With the sound of music
With songs they have sung
For a thousand years

The hills fill my heart
With the sound of music
My heart wants to sing ev'ry song it hears

My heart wants to beat like the wings of the birds
That rise from the lake to the trees
My heart wants to sigh like a chime that flies
From a church on a breeze

To laugh like a brook when it trips and falls
Over stones on its way
To sing through the night
Like a lark who is learning to prey

I go to the hills
When my heart is lonely
I know I will hear
What I've heard before

My heart will be blessed
With the sound of music
And I'll sing once more

(The owner of this website would like to thank the original source of this article/photos and would like to secure permission for its publication.)