Saturday, April 26, 2008

Captain Eleven

This being the anniversary week of the liberation of Dumaguete at the end of WW II I thought I would submit this little anecdote. Too often the small stories, the local heroes are overlooked on momentous occasions.

The 164th Infantry went ashore in southeastern Negros on 26 April, approximately five miles north of Dumaguete. There it soon made contact with the Reconnaissance Troop of the 40th Division, which had worked its way south along the eastern coast without encountering opposition. Two days later the 164th attacked the 1,300-man Japanese garrison that occupied forbidding hill positions ten miles southwest of Dumaguete. Combat continued until 28 May, when the Japanese positions fell and the ever-present guerrillas largely assumed responsibility for mopping up. On Negros, the 164th Infantry lost 35 men killed and 180 wounded, while killing 530 Japanese and capturing 15

There are many stories about this pivotal time in Philippine history; we have one customer whose father was one of the more notorious freedom fighters throughout the war. His son is currently a sitting judge; his last name is well known in Dumaguete today. Ironically even though he was a wartime hero, there is not a street, monument, or building named after him in town.

This is stuff that movies could be made of. Apparently this Captain of the Philippine Army resistance had six fingers on one hand. Known as "Captain Eleven" he was constantly hunted by the Japanese occupiers. A very clever man, he was a constant source of information for the American troops getting ready to invade Sibulan and Dumaguete.

He had several identities and was able to visit with the Japanese officers and glean important information from them. Knowing they were on the look out for a man with eleven fingers, he would tape his eleventh finger, don gloves and escaped detection until the end of the war. The Japanese never apprehended Captain Eleven and he was instrumental in the liberation of Dumaguete.

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