Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Valor Tours Ghost Soldiers of Bataan Day 10 Leyte WWII Tour


We begin our blog about Day 10 by going back to our flight and arrival the afternoon before.
The view from our prop plane down toward a jet on the Manila airport runway.

Does anyone recognize these islands north of Samar?

We believe that this is the northern Samar coast.

Lower left is the San Juanico Bridge.

We checked into historic Hotel Alejandro, which, among other things, has lots of historic photos on its walls..

We ate supper at Guiseppi's, a great Italian restaurant in Tacloban.

Now into Day 10, our local guide Butz Eguia showed us the sites.

This modern monument marks what was an unmarked mass grave followed Typhoon Yolanda.

Signs of destruction are still everywhere, almost a year and a half later.

We noticed that the bicycles used here for the pedicabs use standard adult-size tires, whereas the ones in Luzon use child-size tires.  Also, many of the motorcycles use for public transportation have roofs, which might indicate it rains here more.

We stopped at a memorial that indicates where a Japanese airfield was located south of Dulag, and which was later used by the conquering Americans.

 Steve does his Doctor Strangelove impression.

Below is a sequence of a man who is hand threshing rice.  It looks like hard work.

We visited the ruins of a very old Catholic Church (late 16th cent.), next door to the modern Our Lady of Refuge.  The locals were very friendly.

Then we visited an area that was known as "Yellow Beach," one of the many color-coded beaches where the Americans came ashore in late October, 1945.  Many families live in this fishing village, and some of the children like to have their pictures taken to see what they look like on the digital camera screens.

Then we hiked up Dulag's "Hill 120," the site of fierce Japanese vs. American combat.

 A funeral procession as seen from the tower on the hill, telephoto of course.

Driving back north to Palo, we saw this house on the Leyte Gulf.  It has obviously seen better days.

Then we visited Palo Cathedral, used by the American Army as a hospital in the war.  It was restored for the Pope's visit in January, but he had to cut his planned visit from hours to minutes because a rare January typhoon was coming.

Here one of our couples salutes the MacArthur landing monument.

And just down the beach is what remains of the once beautiful Oriental Hotel, which we were fortunate enough to stay at twice.

What a shame.  No word on whether investors will try to restore the Oriental at some future date.

Tomorrow, a city tour and drive over the San Juanico Bridge before flying back to Manila and saying goodbye to the remaining guests.

Steve and Marcia on the Rock

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