(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Saturday, 22 June 2024) Southwest Monsoon affecting the western sections of Southern Luzon and Visayas. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—˜π—”π—§π—›π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due to Localized Thunderstorms. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—œπ—‘π—— 𝗔𝗑𝗗 π—–π—’π—”π—¦π—§π—”π—Ÿ π—ͺπ—”π—§π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Light to moderate winds coming from Southeast to South will prevail with slight to moderate seas (0.6 to 2.1 meters).

Friday, 24 November 2023

A deep dive on Loreto’s untold history 

By Renelle L. Escuadro

The landmark of the Historic Loreto Landing. (Photo courtesy to PIO-PDI)

The Province of Dinagat Islands recently celebrated the Historic Loreto Landing with grandeur to stimulate and promote the rich culture and heritage of the town as another tourism experience and portfolio of the province that served as an invitation to the world.

As carved in history but unknown to many, 79 years ago, before the Leyte landing of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the municipality of Loreto became the entry point of the American liberation forces on October 17, 1944, during World War II, when the 6th Ranger Army Battalion, led by Col. Henry Mucci and Maj. Robert Garrett, landed on the shores of the town.

Loreto Landing was part of the steps toward liberating the Philippines from Japanese occupation that climaxed during the Battle of Surigao Strait, as the ocean waters of the province were part of the battle ground.

This historic landing is commemorated by the municipality of Loreto on the same site where it occurred, as declared by Proclamation No. 865, series of 1996, signed by then-President Fidel V. Ramos, who recognized October 17 of each year as a special day in Loreto.  

A ceremonial hoisting of flags from four countriesthe Philippines, United States of America, Japan, and Australiaalong with wreath-laying ceremonies was held at Campintac Black Beach No. 2, Panamaonto commemorate the heroism of our forefathers who fought during World War II.

Discover Loreto

Loreto is one of the seven municipalities in the Dinagat Islands that is categorized as a 4th class municipality, with 10 barangays as residents of the 9,690 people in the most current 2020 census.

The locals rely heavily on farming and fishing, as the town has excellent fishing grounds. Some thrive in mining as the place is abundant with mineral resources like aluminous laterite ore, chromite, gold, and nickeliferous laterite. The place is also rich in sand and gravel, guano, rock phosphate, limestone, and siliceous sand.

Meanwhile, the local government unit is also attempting to grow business and tourism as alternate sources of income, with infrastructure construction being a current priority.

The town is also a famous location for Mt. Redondo Natural Bonsai Forest and its sand and beaches.   

Gibusong Quincentennial marker is the 4th marker among the 34 Historical Markers mounted along the route of the First circumnavigation that took place in the Philippines led by Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastian Elcano in 1521. (Photo courtesy to MIO-Loreto)

History rekindled

In addition to the historical landing, the town also revealed its oldest contribution to the discovery of the Philippines, as Loreto is one of the 34 sites associated with the First Circumnavigation of the world on March 25, 1521, in Barangay Gibusong. This was unveiled and acknowledged by the National Historical Commission and the National Quincentennial Committee as part of the 2021 Quincentennial Commemorations in the Philippines (QCP) that marked the 500th anniversary of various events in the Philippines, such as the introduction of Christianity, the role of the country in the Magellan-Elcano circumnavigation, and the victory of Lapu-Lapu in the Battle of Mactan.

Moreover, the town has amplified heroism since October 31, 1942, as four of its locals showed valor to defend the town from Japanese invasion during World War II, as manifested in the lives of private first class Florentino B. Omana, private Perfecto Villanueva, private Eleuterio Omapas, and Sgt. Primo De Jesus.

To recognize these lowly heroes who lived 81 years ago, their sacrifices, and the inspiration they left to the Filipinos, the mindful leaders of Loreto put up a significant landmark and the annual observance dubbed “Battle of San Juan” as a tribute to the residents and surviving veterans.

The Battle of San Juan was a display of patriotism, bravery, heroism, and love for the country by the four local heroes defending our territory against the numerous and fortified Japanese enemies. (Photo courtesy to MIO-Loreto)

IJN Yamashiro, a historical legacy

To brace these historical milestones, the Province of Dinagat Island during the 79th Commemoration of the Battle of Surigao Strait highlighted the said final engagement between battleships in naval history when the Japanese fleet, including IJN Yamashiro, bore the brunt of the American firepower, suffered from multiple hits, and eventually sank in the ocean waters of the province.

During the inauguration of the IJN-Yamashiro ship inspired Provincial Governance Center at the Capitol compound, Cuarenta, San Jose, Dinagat Islands. (Photo courtesy to Oparch PDI)

With this, the Province of Dinagat Islands built the IJN Yamashiro-inspired Governor’s Building and People’s Hall, a resilient infrastructure to remind everyone that Loreto is a place that is very rich in culture and heritage, and the island province is a home of heroes.

“With our island location, we are oftentimes forgotten if we merely rely on small landmarks and local observances in these historical areas. IJN Yamashiro embodies a historical legacy that we need to carry on. This giant structure reminds the world and future generations of our vital share to history,” Governor Nilo Demerey Jr. said. (RLE/PIA-Dinagat Islands)