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Working on POPDC has been a richly rewarding experience, like being granted a privilege of putting together an immense jigsaw image. But there is a special kind of joy that comes from finding a familiar face in the middle of this puzzle. Here is a photograph of the June 1953 ordination of about 40 Jesuits […]


At 10:00 in the morning 76 years ago, at the beginning of the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, Capt. Jesus Villamor and his squadron of 6 old training planes engaged superior enemy warplanes over Zablan field (in Camp Murphy, east of Highway 54/EDSA, now known as Camp Aguinaldo). They battled Japanese air raiders again two […]


A page from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first typed draft of his Pearl Harbor speech delivered 76 years ago today before a joint session of US Congress. This typewritten draft was marked up and updated as new military information came in. “Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands” appears mid-page. It was handwritten, reflecting […]

Remembering the “Boy General”

Remembering Gen. Gregorio del Pilar—the “Boy General”—who died at the age of 24, about 118 years ago during the Philippine-American War. He and his 60 men fought valiantly against some 300 American soldiers who were led by Major Peyton March and were guided up the Tirad Pass trail by a Filipino. “We had seen him […]

WW II Letters

  Reading the correspondence between US President Dwight Eisenhower and Philippine Commonwealth Secretary of Defense Basilio Valdes. (The Eisenhower library generously provided a copy of their correspondence.) At the time these letters were written (March/April 1943), Eisenhower was Supreme Allied Commander in North Africa. A few months later he became Supreme Allied Commander in Europe […]

USS Maine

We visited Annapolis, MD the other day (about 30 miles east of DC) and saw the foremast of the USS Maine on display on the grounds of the US Naval Academy. (The main mast is at the Arlington National Cemetery.) The sinking of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor on February 15, 1898 and the […]

The Berth of an Empire

On the Berth Deck of the USS Olympia, the crew ate and slept (of the 400+ crew members, according to one sign we saw, some 200+ men slept in hammocks on this deck). The sign also said that at various points in the USS Olympia’s history (1892-1922), this deck had a dentist’s office, a laundry […]