The Philippenes (Broken Jewel), 2011
by David L. Robbins on July 30th, 2014

This based-in-fact story about the liberation of a Philippino internment camp and the love story between a young Filipina Comfort Woman and an American prisoner near the end of WWII took me to Manila, Luzon, Corregidor, and Australia. The freeing of the Los Banos camp by U.S. Marines on the day the Japanese had it scheduled for annihilation was one of the biggest success stories of the Pacific War, but it got lost in the news cycle of the day behind the iconic raising of the American flag over Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima. I love this book. 

A massive, old bilbao tree on the grounds of what was once the internment camp of Los Banos, on what is today a college campus. 

Use your imagination, and see hundreds of tents and hovels built on these grounds, lived in my two thousand starving and abused Americans and Brits.

This ravine that ran just outside the fence of the Los Banos camp. Internees planned the rescue with the local guerillas by slipping through the camp's barbed wires to communicate in this ravine, sneaking into the town for meetings, as well as smuggling in food and radios. 

At the magnicifent and somber U.S. cemetry in Manila, where U.S. servicemen and Filipino fighters alike are buried. 

Gen. MacArthur stood on this spot on Correidor and said, "I shall return."

Bataan lies in the background.

Former army barracks on Corregidor. 

MacArthur's living room at the Hotel Manila (where I sat by the pool and listened to Earth Wind & Fire play live). 

The best photo I've ever taken: a Fosters on Manly Beach, Sydney, after an interminable trip to get there. 

My dear friend Tom Donnelly, Aussie vet of three tours of Viet Nam in the early 60's, with the coolest rat tail ever. He holds the poisonous brown snake he pulled out of the rafters of the guest room at his Narabeen house three days after I left. The snake would have had to bite me just to get out from underneath me, because I would have fainted on it.  

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