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Friday, April 3, 2015

Field Trip Continues...

We went up to Calinan on Wednesday, April 1. I was not sure what we would find in Calinan or if we would even find anything related to World War 2. But of all days of the year, I figured Wednesday was the time to go as it was April fools day, so if we do not find anything we can just count it as an April fools' day joke. Our agenda was to check out an obelisk that I recall seeing some time ago and reading about somewhere and is somehow related to Japan.  Then to drop by the Japanese tunnel on the way home. My older kids and I, with my dear husband have been there before, but the younger ones and our driver have not. Our group is made up of 4 adults: Me, A-my eldest, our driver and Teacher Chrissie and As, L and Nh.

Upon reaching Calinan, to the right a of the highway, a little past the left turn towards Calinan proper but before the Felcris building we saw the sign "Philippine Japan Museum" So this became our first stop.

The lady in yellow was our museum guide.
I was not disappointed! After paying the entrance fee, we walked around the museum with the museum guide who answered all our questions and pointed out some photos. It was amazing to see names of of people no longer with us but who's grandchildren continue to play a vital role in cultivating Davao City. We also found World War 2 money.

I think it would be interesting to add the following to the museum:
1. Stories and photos of Japanese descendants. I would like to know how they were treated after the war.
2. More info of the famed gold that the Japanese left behind. I mean, where would the gold have come from? If there really was gold and treasures, why would they keep in in Mintal/Calinan? Why not ship it to Japan?
3. What's with tunnels? 

I am getting a bit carried away now imagining a gift shop/ bookstore and even a tea house. But then, if the museum does not have that many visitors then such would be a waste to invest on and maintain.


The obelisk I was searching for and wanted to show the kids was not in the museum but in Mintal Elementary School! We also learned that Mintal was called "Little Tokyo" before the war. Why I even assume it's in Calinan I don't know. The lady in the museum did not refer to the structure not as an obelisk but called it an "Ohta." I then assumed that an "Ohta" must be a Japanese term for the monument.
Mintal Elementary School is along the highway and we saw a bunch of kids playing soccer. At the gate, was a security personnel who introduced himself to us and showed us his ID. He was to be our guide and we called him Manong Lolong. He walked with us across the school field to the obelisk which he also referred to a "Otah". This was a super worth while the stop!

Manong Lolong our guide explained that the side of the "Ohta" facing the highway is actually the back of the monument. The front is the one facing the river. Sometime in the past, treasure hunters came and wrecked the place in search of gold that the Japanese left behind. My golly!!!


Why this was even allowed is so jaw dropping not just to me but even to my children. They even chipped off the Japanese sign on the obelisk.



 There use to be a pyramid like structure beside the obelisk. The pyramid like structure was built in honor of the directors of the Ohta Plantation Company and according to the kagawad and Mang Lolong, it also had a tunnel and some small room like structures, but now it is  just a heap of mess after the treasure hunters wrecked it!

We were given a brochure with historical information with pre-war Japanese sites that can be found around Mintal. I wish that we had more time to visit the cemetery. But we had to go back because L has swimming practice by 5:30.

Our last stop for this field trip is the Japanese Tunnel.  There was a guide who walked in with us and explained how the tunnel was discovered, who dug it and so on. I couldn't go on and walk the whole 150 feet.
 
The sounds of trucks passing by the highway was too much for me. I imagine World War 2 airplanes and fear came all over me so I decided to step out and let the rest continue. I waited for them outside the tunnel.
The Total Cost of this Field Trip:  P870.00
Japanese Museum: 110.00
Mintal School: FREE
Japanese Tunnel: 260.00
Gas: 500.00

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