Friday, July 16, 2010

Faces of U.P. Los Baños 7: Barracks during the Interment, WWII (and others)

* the Animal Husbandry arc, beyond of which the College of Veterinary Medicine, DTRI, among other can be found

* a tower of some sort near the university publications office; if one should look at the lower right portion, one can see a man relieving himself; it felt awkward taking this shot, afraid that the man might think that I was taking a picture of him

I can still remember the excitement that rose within me when I discovered that a few decades back, on the very grounds of Freedom Park up to the area of the College of Veterinary Medicine, rows of barracks were made for the prisoners of the Japanese which had started to occupy majority of the places in the country. It was of course during the Second World War, when, it seemed to me, things were quite hazy and confusing, as if tomorrow would be as uncertain as have been of yesterday. Well enough of this musing. I am just beginning to think that there is indeed some evil embedded even at the very thought of war.

* a US Signal Corps photo showing the barracks and Baker Hall during the Los Baños Raid; it seemed to me that there was something wrong with the caption so I flipped the photo…

* the previous picture flipped horizontally; the caption becomes accurate now; perhaps it was due to the confusion of the war, but Baker Hall is too big to be misidentified in this one

* another US Signal Corps picture showing a portion of the then Infirmary

* the previous picture flipped horizontally; decided with this flipping judging from the smoke that was supposed to be coming from the area of the Animal Husbandry which is essentially on the left side of the Infirmary as well as due to that circular structure which I believe (which could not be true) is the water tank I have made allusion to in my earlier entry

* yet another US Signal Corps photo showing the Animal Husbandry arc

* again, another flipped photo of the previous one; I decided on this since most of the barracks were on the left side of the arc which makes the previous photo an inaccurate one; at the end of this entry is a reconstruction of the internment camp

Anyway, with the help of some prisoners who were able to escape the eyes of their Japanese captors as well as of the well-planned and well-coordinated actions of the liberating forces of the Americans and the Filipino guerilla units (yes, Filipinos; and this one should not be forgotten as it was their country which was invaded and mercilessly involved in that war!), the rescue turned out to be a success. But, of course, not without casualties. Inside the compound of St. Therese is a marker, commemorating the sacrifice done by several guerillas during this rescue mission.

* seeming bridge to what was then a building; wonder what it is?

* well, it is the Poultry Husbandry façade built in 1949, which makes it not a casualty of the war (or was it?)

* the mighty Animal Husbandry façade built in 1921

* the Swine Husbandry, 1953

* the new EB Copeland Gymnasium, where the PE classes shall soon be held

* the Parasite Collection Museum(?) of the College of Veterinary Medicine

* the seeming lonely road to the New Dorm

* the infamous Gazebo, where “miracles” used to happen

* a reconstruction of the Los Baños internment camp, most probably from the sketches made by Leo Stancliff

What is enchanting in the area of the College of Veterinary Medicine is the presence of these blocks of concrete, which are the remains of the buildings of the budding College of Agriculture. It is a treat for one like me who enjoys piecing out left over details. I know that our library – that new room in the library! – contains a number of reading materials detailing the life and story of the university. It is a great regret that I was not able to devour them before graduation. But then again, as I always say, books and accounts are only good in so far as it gives us the details and information. Experience itself – the travel, the walk, the scrutiny of the objects out there – which engages the willing individual transcends the ‘book life’ and makes travel a whole new different experience. Especially if one ventures to know more about his or her country’s past.

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