11/21/16

Marikorea: Marikina’s Korean War Memorial

Apart from the recent US Presidential Elections, another hot topic these days is the controversy behind the Supreme Court decision and the sudden burial of the late and controversial President Ferdinand Marcos. And it bears repeating here that the Urban Roamer is and will not be a venue to make an opinion on a highly-charged political issue like this one, so don’t even try your luck. Nevertheless, this issue provides an opportunity to write something today about valor, forgotten valor in this particular case.

This story of forgotten valor takes us today to the hilly part of Marikina called Marikina Heights where one can find a monument to revisit and remember a forgotten chapter in the Philippines’ postwar history: its participation in the Korean War that raged from 1950-1953. Continue reading

10/21/15

Remembering A “Forgotten War”: The PEFTOK Korean War Memorial Hall

The Korean War that raged in the Korean peninsula from 1950 to 1953 is dubbed by some as “the forgotten war,” forgotten in the sense that it rarely gets much attention as it gets sandwiched and overshadowed in history by World War II during the 1940s and the Vietnam War during the 1960s.

Nevertheless, it is an event that deserves to be given much attention as well considering it was the first armed conflict that erupted in the context of the greater tense atmosphere brought about by the Cold War era, as the United States and United Nations allies fought to stop the Soviet and China-backed communist North Korea from overthrowing the democratic South Korea and control the peninsula in the process.

The Philippine Korean War Monument in Goyang City, South Korea (source: personal archives; see https://goo.gl/GfKze6)

Also deserves to be remembered are the Filipino soldiers who participated in the war as part of the United Nations contingent in defending the nascent South Korean state from the brink of invasion. These 7500 men were part of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea or PEFTOK. And for 5 years, they were stationed in this then fragile part of the world trying to keep the peace.

In their honor, a museum and memorial was opened in 2012 near Fort Bonifacio, the PEFTOK Korean War Memorial Hall. Continue reading