Sunday, August 30, 2009

Readers comment on our return home

While we were visiting Steve’s mother in Virginia, MN, — Yes, Santa Claus, there is a Virginia — staff writer Linda Tyssen of The Mesabi Daily News interviewed us. She wrote an article about our story, mostly based upon her reading Steve’s book entitled: “We Managed to Survive” and subtitled: “A son traces his father’s footsteps and discovers a true and inspirational story of courage, faith, and patriotism in the days of Bataan, Corregidor, and Japanese POW camps.”

You can read her August 27 front-page article at the following web page:

No doubt after reading this tremendous review you will want to get your own copy. Unfortunately, Ms. Tyssen was reading a preliminary version of the manuscript. We are hoping to have We Managed to Survive published within the next year.

From time to time, we send along a few comments from our readers. Today’s comments have to do with our statement in our last newsletter which said, “Now that we are back, realizing the conveniences that we are sacrificing to live here, living once again temporarily without electricity, not having all the foods we are used to, it’s not hard to wonder, did we make the right decision? We still believe so, but only time will tell.”

Believe us when we say that we are in no way discouraged. In fact, later the same day our solar energy system was repaired and we once again have electricity at the house. We think it’s just a natural reaction to having returned from the lap of comparative luxury to all of a sudden being confronted by the realities of living remotely and much more simply. Here we have to rely so heavily on each other and our newfound friends, making the first few days of readjusting a bit intense. Add a hefty dose of post-travel exhaustion, and you can see how it increases the challenges.

The following letters are unedited with the exception that names have been removed to protect privacy.


Hi Marcia & Steve,

I could imagine how hard it is for the two of you to readjust to the present condition there at Corregidor after sometime in the States considering the hot temperature we have now here in the Philippines despite being a rainy season still. Steve is right when he said that oregano is being used here mainly as a medicine. I still have to hear one who uses it as a food item. Based on the attached picture of the herb, it is really the oregano I know since we used to have one in the yard before.

All the best,


Steve & Marcia,

You both made the right decision. Years ago I was in Alaska fishing from a rowboat with an MD, from Chicago. This was he and his wife's first day and he said to me "this is the life, no phones and no one to bother you". This was over 50 years ago and he knew about stress. Don't know if they were as concerned then with it as they are now, though. Then it was make the big bucks.

With what the MD said, you did make the right decision.




Hi Marcia,

Well the re-adjustments on living in Philippines specially if you are accustomed to the American way of life can be frustrating but it is just a state of mind. Like me, even if I'm living here in the UK in their so called 'first world' boring country, yet I always feel like I'm not at all belong here and my heart is in the Philippines. Sometime sooner, I'll be going back to my country for good. Maybe you guys just get bored because you are just concentrating on the Island. Why not try the other WII historic sites as well and for sure there are other sights and sounds the Philippines will be able to surely offer.

Know what, I can't imagine how the defenders of Corregidor were able to stand their ground taken out of context the hardships. If they had known in advance that a lot more will die during the Death March, for sure they will choose martyrdom and never surrender.

Nevertheless, I envy you guys because you are standing on a hallowed ground consecrated by blood of both armies. Keep it up and don't give up. You are just sowing the seeds for future awareness of what they've called the best preserved WWII relics. That task is a no joke, daunting, but it is a legacy.

When I'll get back to the Philippines sometime sooner, this time I will drop by at Corregidor.

Fight the good fight then.

Truly yours,



Steve and Marcia,

Welcome Back. Don't you worry because acclimitizing in the Islands (6,700 during high tide) will be easy as I had experiencedl I stayed with the family for almost 10 years back from New Jersey to California. When I decided to return "home" after the kids were already grown up (high school juniors), it began so difficult after all the conveniences back home. But later, I got used to the traffic in MetroManila, the humidity ( I sleep without an aircon and fan) and the bugs. Now, I am 60 and I enjoy the quality time I get here with my 85 year old mom, my cousings and friends. Michael, the young univ. of Michigan doctor, stayed with me for a vacation before he went back to Texas for his hospital work at the University of Texas Medical Center said to me: Dad, stay here in the Phil. becvause I see that you are enjoying your life here. You know how it is back home.

Both of you will surely enjoy and love the life here with or without the conveniences of the US life. As you both grow old, you will be assisted with help in doing things and you have to do it back home and cutting your quality time. You need not always see a doctor to extend your maintenance medicine unlike in the U.S. you have to shell out about $100 unless you have an expensive medical insurance. (That Cobra coverage can "kill" you immediately (ha ha ha).

I used to have a friend, Mr. L M from Trenton, New Jersey, who spent almost his entire life here in the Philippines. He was one of the first Americans who came here and worked with several US companies as liasson with the Embassy. I asked him sometime in 1976 when he was still liveing (at the age of 80), "L, why don't you return to Trenton and just live your life out there?" He aptly answered me: "J, where would I get a nice young wife like C, and a beautiful daughter. I will die here in the Philippines." C was then about 30 years old who was so caring as a wife.

Enjoy the sunset, the greenery and the hospitality of the guys there. Sometimes, try to visit the civilized jungle of metromanila. If I were you, try to enjoy bathing nude in the Island and perhaps, you both will add more experience here. Who needs a nudist camp in Redondo Beach anyway? ha ha ha.


Note: We don’t think that “Redondo Beach” style bathing would be too acceptable here. On the other hand, it would be a sure way to increase tourism! Sorry, J, it’s not gonna happen. You’ll have to have another excuse to come visit us. As you say, ha ha ha.

Steve and Marcia on the Rock –

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