Heroic Americans in the Philippines

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This week we are going to talk about some of the most courageous women who has great contribution to our country.

Alam nyo ba that there were two Philippine heroes na hindi pinoy? How do we define heroes? Kailangan ba you have to be a citizen of a certain country para matawag kang isang bayani?

National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), defines hero as “anyone who seeks for the attainment of an ideal society by breaking away from the shackles of oppression for the interest of the general public.”

Ibig sabihin kahit sino ay pwedeng maging bayani by simply making a difference to the lives of other people, hindi alintana kung anumang lahi o pananalig.

Nakilala na natin ang ilan sa ating mga magigiting na mga bayani like Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Melchora Aquino at Gabriela Silang. Ngayon naman, let’s get to know those foreigners who once fought under the Philippine flag.

Una nating kilalanin si Claire Phillips alyas “Manila Mata Hari”

Si Claire Phillips ay isang American talented dancer at singer who became a spy. She opened an upscale nightclub called Tsubaki in Manila to spy on the Japanese. Hence the use of an alias of “Manila Mata Hari.”

The American troops succeeded in their mission to topple down the Japanese submarines in the Pacific because of a tip that she provided.

She also used the profits of Club Tsubaki to buy medicines and food intended for the prisoners of-war in Cabanatuan as well as fund an underground tabloid which reported current war developments.

Unfortunately she was caught by the Japanese, they burned her skin with cigars and she was also punished using a method called water cure. This is a method of torture in which the victim is forced to drink large quantities of water in a short time, resulting in gastric distension, water intoxication, and possibly death.

After returning to Oregon, she wrote a memoir entitled “Manila Espionage” and became the only woman in the state to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1951. Nine years later, she died due to alcoholism-related meningitis.

The second foreign woman that did heroic act to the Philippines, her name is Ann Agnes Bernatitus alyas “Angel of Bataan.”

Bernatitus Capt. Ann Agnes Bernatitus is an American nurse who became the first person to receive the Legion of Merit medal in 1942 para sa kanyang katapangan na gamutin ang mga Pilipinong sundalo at Americano even when the Japanese bombed the American held hospitals in the area.

Bernatitus was the only navy nurse who was assigned in Bataan at the height of WWII. She was the last naval nurse rescued from the island by the submarine.

After returning home, she continued to serve in the Navy until 1959. She died in 2003 at the age of 91. State Sen. Raphael Musto once said “She wasn’t a hero because she carried a gun and stormed a fortified position. She didn’t fly a plane or pilot a ship, she was a hero because she carried compassion and caring into battle and did her job to the best of her ability.”

See you again on Monday for another exciting episode here in Ugnayan.

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