Two trips to Peleliu
Twice in Peleliu and I was already smitten by its beauty – it just has a natural way of making you interested about World War 2.
For instance, after going there for two trips already, I had been googling for best World War 2 books and watching the HBO mini-series, The Pacific, which tells of United States’ 1st Marine Division members’ accounts during the battle of Peleliu against Japanese troops that lasted for two months.
On my first trip to the island famed for being the staging ground of one of the bloodiest wars in world history, I wasn’t able to explore much of the place as I was attending a big event held only in one venue. On my second time though, still on a coverage, I had the chance to pass and stop by some of the historical sites on the island as our team had a quick tour around some of the areas there during a lunch break.
I was with Japan International Coordinating Agency (JICA) volunteers and staff from the Ministry of Education (MOE) together with teachers from Maris Stella School that time for the Open Class program they were conducting at the Peleliu Elementary School (PES) and it was such a fantastic experience that we had the chance to pay a quick visit to some remarkable historical sites on the island.
The boat trip alone to the island was already a sure win as the view of the sea and the unique small islands are already enough to please your eyes. The clean sea breeze is also very therapeutic to my lungs that I couldn’t help but be mindful of my breathing.
We stopped by the ruins of the Japanese Headquarters in Peleliu during World War 2, the Japanese Shrine, and the Japanese Peace Memorial Park. I had also a chance to visit the Solar power plant in the island.
While driving around the place through the bus, we followed the trail of roads that had the color of powder, and sites where battle tanks used during World War 2 are still seen resting. I wonder, who among the World War 2 soldiers touched those last? I also had a glance of the 1,000 Man Cave. One look and I know it has a heavy yet interesting historical story but we did not stop there though. I learned, however, by researching online that the cave was where a thousand Japanese soldiers had camped, refusing to surrender to American soldiers. There is surely more to this story and I vowed to discover them some time on a personal trip I could arrange.
It was such as short time to go around the place but those sites had already spoken so much about the past fate of a beautiful island who had once been decimated as a result of a terrible war. (Rhealyn C. Pojas/Reporter)