By: ZYMosende (Taga Barangay Magsaysay, Poblacion Mainit)
May 10, 2002
World War II broke out three decades before I was born. I am in no way an authority to talk about what happened in Mainit during the 1940s. However, the stories I will be narrating in no time are interest because they have, in one way or another, contributed to the shaping of the community.
I was 7 years old when my family went home to Mainit from Manila to take care of our aging Lolo and Lola. Being a Tagalog ("puti itlog," as the local children would call us brothers) and new to the place, I had so many questions for my old folks. Whenever I'd stay beside Lola Tisay either to ask for an imaginary "siksik" (jaon magkuha nan lusa sa buhok nan dispis tusdon kunohay para makatuyog) or ask her to bring me to sleep, I usually bombarded her with so many questions. Questions were varied. Here are some of them: (a) "La (Lola), uman grabe man kataas an tuug?;" (b) "La, uman jaon may tagkayo?;" and so many others. She answers my questions diligently, but most of the time, she has a ready answer for difficult ones: "kanan Diyos pagbuot!" "Lola, uno man na pito (7) man an imo mga anak?"... "Kay kanan Diyos pagbuot." Hahaha permi ra ako pildi. This has lead me to discover a more strategic way of letting my Lola Tisay talk that would bring me to sleep. "La, istorya anay mahitungod sa gira", "La, istorya anay uman namalhin man kamo gikan sa daang lungsod nganhi dinhi sa bag-o na Mainit?" And so, most of the World War II accounts here are the stories of my grand folks.
"Cuyot" or "kuyot" is a wild rootcrop with thorny vines. It has to be prepared by a skilled hand or else one will take the risk of being poisoned. But don't you know that "Cuyot" was also a place in Mainit? I am not aware if there's still such a place. During the Japanese occupation, the USAFFE volunteers created Cuyot, a sitio somewhere north of Matin-ao, as their camp. My Lolo and my Daddy could recall the names of Diamola (Simoy), Madelo, Reyes, Lozada (Pinoy, Daling, Dodong), Col. Sayson, Patagan (Lolo Cencio), Patiño (Bos), Moleta (Juan), and Moral (Juan) among the volunteers.
Cuyot became a favorite topic of Lola Tisay because of Lolo Bitoy's claim to fame with the place. When the Japanese found out about the place being a hide-out of the USAFFE volunteers, they made a counter-campaign. All males were called for questioning. Tungod kay Japon, naglisod pag litok in English. Usually Japanese would ask "Where is KUYO?" And expectedly, our beloved Mainitnons will point to their "kuyo" (their fingernails)! Resulta, tamagdukdok! Finally, Lolo Bitoy's turn came. Well, perhaps knowing about the interest of the Japs and the process of questioning, he knew that the Japs were looking for a place. But since, Lolo know practically everyone in the USAFFE, he told that "Cuyot" or "kuyo" is a place and it is somewhere near Sison. That ended the campaign.
The war was also significant to Lola Tisay because Daddy Yonie was born 3 December 1942. It is the onset of World War II in the Philippines. Siyempre, binakwitay. As a result, Daddy was born at Lolo's "ilaja" in Bobaongon, a sitio in the present day Brgy Mabini. They made a makeshift dwelling inside a small "langub" (cave) along a hill. Within a few meters, one could find a "buyubudhan", a cold spring. According to Tita Flor, Daddy's "mananabang" was Mana Ganda. As expected, life there was very difficult, especially for a new mother who already was 37 years old then. They have to cook their food only during the nights so that the Japs will not be able to detect their presence.
A few days later, December 7, some Mainitnons passed by Bobaongon and informed Lolo about the planned attack of the Japanese. As Lola recalls it, they were saying "Pangiwat na kamo Iyo Bitoy, iton na an mga costable sa Alegria." The family decided to transfer to Payanasa, a sitio in Brgy. Matin-ao.
The group traveled on foot from Campo to Payanasa via Suba nan Mainit and Mayag River. Lola Tisay had to travel as well. Daddy, who was a few days old then, was wrapped in front of Lola using several layers of blankets. Hala kay, jaoy langgam (bird) na nusuyod sa dubdob ni Lola. Tagkuratan, hapitay mabaliskad kay nagbakya da!
After a few meters away, Lola realized that Daddy was not in her front anymore. "Kikoy," the mamanwa accompanying the family, rushed back and found Daddy along the riverbank. An kayas nan tanan, dili matabang.
Daddy was, according to them, suwerte. They later learned that the langub where Daddy was born in Bobaongon, got covered with a landslide right after they left the place.
They recall that their usual food were, aside from camote, kalibre, and humay, they also had "payasan (ubod)", "dawa", "tapuy malagkit", "baboy na ihayas", etcetera.
They also remember that the Japs brought with them the Japanese snails because the Japs were afraid of the folks putting poison on their drinking water. The snails could be used to detect poison. The Japs also brought cobras to protect their gold reserves. Tungod kay nuhamok man an mga Cobra, the Americans brought the American frogs. The frogs usually make noise when a cobra is near or it could be given as food or "paon" to the cobras protecting a gold mine.
When the was was almost over, balik na sila sa poblacion. Siyempre bunyagan na an gamay na tawo. Lolo, being an influential person, was able to get some influential ninongs for Daddy. Among them are the worst of enemies: (1) Retired Lt. Francisco Canuto also known as "Tahid", the leader of the Colorums, and (2) a Japanese officer named Lt. Fukusima.
Well folks, honestly, I don't know how to end this one but I'd like to think about the significance of our town during World War II. Our town is so remote, small, "native" and all that but the Japanese found it and made it as one of their camps. Long time ago, our town must have been an important place strategically. So it is!
(Glossogobius giuris) is a freshwater fish native to Mainit Lake. It is called “biya” in Tagalog and “white goby or tank goby” in English. The term “pidjanga” is also sometimes fondly used to refer to the Mainitnons, the people of the Municipality of Mainit, a town in Southern Philippines. This blog hopes to capture potentials of Migrants Pidjangas for the Development of our Town by attempting to document development issues, folk stories, and current concerns, about the Pidjanga — both the fish and the people.
Maradjao karadjao, Pilipinas!
Welcome to the online home of the Pidjangas from the Municipality of Mainit, Surigao del Norte, PHILIPPINES . Pidjanga, Pedianga, Pijanga, Pedjanga... amo ra ton... gikan sa ato danao! For comments and suggestion contact me at email@example.com.
CBCP News: Mining threatens 4th largest freshwater lake in PH
SEVEN are in the town of Mainit, Surigao del Norte... of the 15 exploration permits (EP) that the Regional Office 13 (CARAGA) of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Environment department approved as of June 30, 2010.
Read more at www.cbcpnews.com and Surigao Today.
Read more at www.cbcpnews.com and Surigao Today.
If you want to support the protection of Lake Mainit, contact me at pidjangaATgmailDOTcom or 0917-800-4557. Zimm/Peter/Pidjanga