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

10/9/15

Roaming the Lopez Museum and Library

When it comes to influential Filipino families, the Lopezes are one of those families you either love or hate. Nevertheless, their contributions to the country, whether good or otherwise, have made a lasting impression on the country that are still being felt today.

Even in the realm of Philippine museums and libraries, the Lopezes have also managed to make a mark with having established the country’s oldest privately owned and managed museum and library, the Lopez Museum and Library.

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10/2/15

Philippine Air Force Aerospace Museum: A Home to Philippine Aviation History

Let’s face it. One can’t help talking about the Philippine Air Force (PAF) without citing the current state of things there, notably the limited number of aircraft and equipment that has made it not readily equipped in the event of a possible catastrophe or threat to national security. Still, we have to salute the men and women of the PAF for their dedication in spite of these odds. And the PAF has a notable history to show it.

That history is enshrined at the Philippine Air Force Aerospace Museum at the PAF Headquarters at Villamor Air Base. Formerly named Nichols Field, (named after Captain Henry E. Nichols, a US Navy commander who served during the Philippine-American War) it was renamed after Jesus Villamor, one of the most prominent pilots in Philippine aviation history who served during World War II fighting the Japanese forces.

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07/20/15

Ideas Immortalized: Telling the Story of the University of the Philippines

The University of the Philippines is one institution that needs no introduction. Just mention UP and people express their awe to show how much they look up to this university, the country’s premier university where many of the country’s brightest minds sprang from.

UP’s status and prestige today makes one overlook how far it has come ever since it was established more than a century ago. Then again, not many know the story of the university’s early years, the struggles and the triumphs it encountered during that pioneering period in UP’s history. That was, until the Museum of a History of Ideas opened in UP’s Manila campus last October 22, 2014.

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07/18/15

A Visit to the First United Building Community Museum

So much has been said about Escolta Street and its glory days as a premier center of commerce in Manila, its eventual fall from grace after World War II, and the current efforts to revitalize commercial activity here again. With the state of things in the city these days, such efforts are admittedly a tall order. Nevertheless, the work continues with much vigor and passion, thanks to the various groups and individuals with their unceasing love for Escolta and their common dream to see it reclaim its glory as Manila’s “queen of streets.”

interior of Escolta’s First United Building

One of those stakeholders happen to be the owners of the First United Building, the Syliantengs whose have been deeply rooted in Escolta beginning with their patriarch, Sy Lian Teng, an entrepreneur who ran Escolta’s (and Manila’s as well) premiere department store, Berg’s. As a tribute to Escolta’s heritage, the Sylianteng family’s passion for Escolta, and to honor the legacy of the patriarch who has made an invaluable contribution to this street, a community museum was opened last May 16 this year in the premises of the building: the First United Building Community Museum.

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