Tag Archives: World War II

#154 Fort San Pedro

Main entrance gate to Fort San Pedro

Fuerza de San Pedro or Fort San Pedro in Cebu City (Visayas, Central Philippines) is a military defence structure built by Spanish and indigenous Cebuano labourers under the command of Spanish conquistador, Miguel López de Legazpi (from Wikipedia). Date of the fort’s construction remains unclear but some historical accounts refer to the original structures around 1565.

The fort is located near Plaza Indepedencia in the pier or port district of Cebu City, considered as the oldest city in the Philippines. Within the fort complex is the smallest, oldest triangular bastion fort in the Philippines built in 1738 to repel Muslim raiders. At the end of the Spanish era in 1898, the fort served as a stronghold for Filipino revolutionaries. During the US colonial period the fort was turned into a US military barracks and later as a school during World War II. By the end of the war, the  defeated Japanese forces later used the fort as a hospital for the wounded.

After World War II the fort served various uses and housed both government and civic offices. In the 1950s then Cebu City Mayor Mayor Sergio Osmeña Jr. angered the public when he announced plans to demolished the fort. A public campaign forced the mayor to abandon the plans but a religious sect was given approval to manage a small zoo within the fort. Original structures were demolished leaving only the facade and some ruined fort towers.

Today, after years of expensive and labor extensive reconstruction work, Fort San Pedro is now a historical park managed by the city government. It houses a museum, which displays the city’s colonial legacy in paintings, documents and sculptures from the Spanish era.

Mabuhay ang Fort San Pedro!

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#115 Leyte Gulf

A view of Leyte Gulf from a coconut grove

The placid-looking Leyte Gulf is known for the so-called the “Battle of Leyte Gulf,” considered to be the largest naval battle of World War II and also one of the largest naval battles in history (from Wikipedia).

The battle took place from October 23 to 26, 1944 between naval and naval-air forces of the Allies and those of the Japanese. US troops invaded Leyte Island as part of a strategy aimed to isolate Japan from the countries it had occupied in South East Asia. Leyte is one of the strategic strongholds and entry point for the Allied Forces.

The Battle of Leyte Gulf is also notable as the first battle in which Japanese aircraft carried out organized kamikaze attacks. Despite the valiant defense mounted by the Japanese forces their navy suffered heavy losses and thousands of planes, ships and boats are buried in the waters of the Gulf, making it a veritable graveyard.

Today, Leyte Gulf retains its serene view where tourists can enjoy the balmy Pacific breeze, wonderful tropical sunsets, belying the violence and mayhem it witnessed in one of the world most brutal naval battles.

Mabuhay ang Leyte Gulf!

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