Discovering our Municipal Treasure

and

Establishing our Municipal Landmark

(Tourism Priority Program of Vice-Mayor Ferdie Sumague FY2010-2013)

(Disclaimer) conceptualizing the tourism priority project dubbed as: “The Landing Point” with the US Air Force L-4 Piper Observation plane codename Grasshopper the same aircraft model that actually landed to the so called Landing Field  at Sitio Braulia Rizal, Laguna somewhere in February 1945 during WWII

Historical background:

Col. Gertrudo San Pedro of the USAFFE had been a prisoner of war previously and upon his release August 15, 1942 at 26 years of age, he joined Hugh Straughn’s Fil-American Irregular Troops (FAIT). He started recruiting ex-USAFFE’s, ex-Philippine Scouts, ex-Philippine Constabulary, Philippine Army reservists and trainees, civilian volunteers including professionals to constitute his outfit. His unit became known as the FAIT’s 2nd Division of the III Army Corps under the immediate command of guerrilla Col. Justiniano Estrella, alias Alfredo M. David, who dubbed his corps, David’s Command. After the death of Col. Straughn, Col. Marcos V. Marking took over the FAIT’s command which he drummed up as Marking’s Fil-Americans.

After the Battle of Sta. Isabel Col. San Pedro’s 2nd Division Command headquarter was moved to Tayak Hill (for its commanding view of Laguna) on Mt. San Cristobal near Rizal, Nagcarlan and Liliw. At that time it was called  Sitio Tayak. That is a remote barrio. The nearest road to Tayak is passing through Rizal.

On January 24, 1945, Col. San Pedro’s unit was able to rescue three American airmen whose plane had been damaged in a raid on Manila and went down in Laguna de Bay near (Lanhaya) Victoria, Laguna. The men were: Major Charles Howe, Major Thompkins and Sgt. Bretain of the 5th Attack Group, U.S. Army.

Photo of Major Charles Howe of the 5th Attack Group US Army

American Forces had not yet landed on Luzon so the nearest airstrip was in Mindoro. It was requested that Col. San Pedro’s unit to build an airstrip so a rescue plane could pick up the downed airmen and return them to friendly forces.Col. San Pedro and his men constructed a landing field at Tayak Hill. The landing field is on a plateau wherein the length of the runway is 300 meters, but the approach  are already up high enough on high ground when take off, that’s why the problem of a long runway is not necessary because after going 300 meters aircraft are already airborne because of the plateau.

Within a couple weeks Col. San Pedro and his men completed construction of the taxi strip and airfield near Col. San Pedro’s headquarters on Tayak Hill. Intelligence informed authorities that the landing strip had been completed and soon an L-4 Piper observation plane flew in and then flew the men to safety in Mindoro. It was also in this airstrip Mrs. Virginia Llamas Romulo took of to join General Carlos Romulo in Mindoro.

L-4 Piper Observation plane codename “Grasshopper”

On the strong suggestion of Major Charles  Howe, the U.S. Armed Forces started dropping war material and food supplies on February 22, 1945. US Air Force planesC-47 / DC-3 dropped arms, ammunition and food supplies at Tayak Hill Rizal, Laguna, escorted by the P-38, double body and the last is the P-51 Mustang. The American insignia for pursuit is “P” for fighter is “F”. Making the Landing Field and Tayak Hill Rizal, Laguna  as the main supply depot of arms, ammunition and foods to all guerilla fighting units in Laguna up to Infanta in the province of Quezon.

World War II aircraft that played a major role to the colorful story of Landing Field and Tayak Hill

US Armed Forces C-47 WWII aircraft
US Armed Forces DC-3 WWII aircract
US Armed Forces P-38 WWII aircraft
US Armed Forces P-51 Mustang WWII aircraft

Article derived from: Lorenzo Cornista’s ” Guerilla Interview ” San  Padlo City Philippines by: David L. Dwiggins

And from the Book of: “ FOR LOVE OF FREEDOM ”  by Juan B. Hernandez copyrighted 1982 Sponsored by the American Legion  Seven-Lakers Post 188 and Veterans Federation of the Philippines  San Pablo City Post,  Prited by National Printing Company Quezon City Philippines

Researched By:

Vice Mayor Ferdie O. Sumague

and BRProduction immediate staff

BRO Demet Formales, BRO Loyd Cataring, BRO Eunice Visey and BRO Richard Subida

 

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