World War II seems to be the ghost that haunts every Filipino. It is the greatest fear that every Filipino people experience during year 1940 until 1945. The war fall on the month of December. Filipino’s today Nowadays, Filipino's don't even forget what the war brings back to their lives. Somehow Filipino Veterans still recapture and recall all the worst and stern happenings they face during the war. Japanese Soldiers intentionally abuse and torture some Filipino men and they tried to rape some Filipina. It is sad to say that the Philippines is under controlled by the Japanese during that time.
In Southern Luzon nearby province of Albay, there was a woman lived in San Roque Libog Albay named Rosa Balleros Balueta also called as Lola 'Oying'. At young age of fourteen, she already experienced the living system in the middle of the war. She grew up with the guidance of her parents. Mr. Calixto Balbosa Balueta(42 years old at that time), a farmer and a responsible father. Mrs. Carmen Balleros Balueta (39 years old) is her loving and caring mother who teaches her to do the household chores. Rosa have four brothers namely Blandino Balleros Balueta(24 years old during the war) the eldest, Amando Balleros Balueta(21 years old) the second child, Catalino Balleros Balueta(18 years old) the third child and Dioscoro Balleros Balueta(nearly 11 years old) fifth child.
Rosa is the only flower among the thorns. On year 1940 Mrs. Balueta is pregnant with her youngest child, the last sibling of Rosa. According to Mrs Carmen, being pregnant at the middle of the war is difficult situation. But the only thing she said is that "Pagtubod sa Dios Ama an sakong kusog sa ngunyan na panahon."(Faith in Almighty God is my only strength.), Rosa recalled her mother always telling her. In spite of these things, they did not lose hope, as to what Blandino said "Life must go on". Blandino, the eldest son, together with Amando the second child, where both brave guirilla who serve and defend the country against the Japanese soldiers. On the other hand, Catalino the third child doesn't follow the footsteps of her two 'hermanos'. While the “Unica Hija” Rosa, helps her mother in house hold choirs and sews clothes. In the other hand Dioscoro who is definitely innocent about the situations that are happening around him, keeps on asking her parents “May, Pay nata dakol nagagadan? Nata tigsasakop kita kan Hapon?.. Anu ang kasalan ta niyata kita tigakastigo?”(Mother, Father why there are many dead people? Why the Japanese conquer us? What wrong have we done to punish us?). While her parents didn’t stop answering her questions which bares into her mind that everything is going to be alright. After nine months her mother gave birth to Rodolfo Balleros Balueta.
The time has come that the Japanese soldiers are ready to attack the Phillipines. Filipinos are scared and frightened for they don’t know what awaits them as the Japanese came. They almost lost their hope and nearly to give up, but somehow they were still holding on. Unfortunately San Roque, Libog, Albay, the place where Rosa and her family lived is one of the target part of the Japanese soldiers. The people living there are worried for they don’t know what to do. Then one peaceful morning, while the residence of San Roque are busy doing different things inside and outside their house a man immediately shouted “Uyan na ang mga Hapon, durulag na kamo! Dali na ta maiisug sinda!!!”(Run! For the Japanese are here. They are very violent.) so the fear and unxienty is obviously shown up in everyone’s face. Rosa together with her family looked for a place where to hide in order for them to survive. San Fernando, Libog, Albay is the place where they thought it’s safe enough. They stayed there for a few months and according to Rosa they didn’t just one place but in three specific places. First, at San Fernando, Libog, Albay, second at the mountain and lastly at the foot of Mt. Mayon. Rosa once told me that every time they past the way along the crossing they always salute to the Japanese soldiers to show some respect. There were also instances that Japanese soldiers will spank and kick you without any reasons. That’s how cruel the Japanese soldiers are, to the Filipinos.
There was a day that Rosa doesn’t stop crying for her brother Amando was caught by the Japanese soldiers and suffered from too much pain and burden. Then, the Japanese command him to carry a cart that contains Japanese soldiers. After one day and one night, Amando finally find a way to escape from the Japanese base. But unfortunately, he met an accident. His blood immediately came rushing to his feet as he jumped over the fence because a wire hit his feet badly. The ache doesn’t stop him from running until he gets out of the base. This event made the family a little bit ease. This proves the saying “Every problem has its own solution”.
In spite of all the sufferings and hardships, that Rosa encounter during World War II still she fell in love with someone named Jose Añonuevo Balderama. A tall dark and handsome man from Calayucay, Libog, Albay, who is willing to serve and love her forever. Jose also popularly known as “Joe” is already a “guirilla” at the age of seventeen. He was inducted by Captain Rabacal with the rank of CPL at Napao, Cagraray Island, Bacacay, Albay and was assigned under the command of Capt. Florencio Ayaay of platoon head quarters battalion section. After several months, he joined the many military operations against the Japanese. These operations are: Ambush of Japanese soldiers at Sto. Domingo, Albay(October 6, 1942); Liberation of X-bar mine at Rapu-rapu, Albay(May 25, 1943); Ambush of two truckloads of Japanese military supply at San Francisco, Malilipot, Albay(January 4, 1944); Ambush of two Japanese soldiers at San Jose, Malilipot, Albay(March 30, 1944); Liberation of Bacacay, Albay(May 10, 1944); Ambush of four Japanese patrol boat at Sula Pass, Bacacay, Albay(September 2, 1944); Liberation of the Province of Catanduanes(December 22, 1944). On April 1, 1945, CPL Jose Balderama was one of those men who were separated from the service for only a contingent of selected men composed of one battalion was taken from their entire unit by the U.S. army and recognized as FLOR’s independent provisional Bn. His name was included in the submitted Rooster to both Philippine and US government for recognition purposes through Honorable Jose Avelino President of Philippine senate on January 15, 1949. After everything that has done, Filipinos prove themselves to the Japanese that they are strong and united in blood.
The War did not stop the Jose and Rosa love story. Although the circumstances is too risky for them but still no one can stand against their relationship. Jose, as a typical Filipino in blood and heart do the old style of courtship to win her love’s hand and also the approval of her in-laws to be. After the courtship, he finally got the courage to propose to Rosa. So, they got married. The fruit of their love give them five children, three boys and two girls.
Time has pass, Jose already pass away last March 4, 1970. Whereas, Rosa is still very strong at the age of 83 that she could even narrate every detail of her life. She’s living in Bagong San Roque, Sto. Domingo, Albay(San Roque, Libog, Albay before). Furthermore, she is benefited by a monthly pension for being a wife of a soldier who fought for the freedom of the Philippines.
This is an entry send by Gicel Balderama to Veterans Bank’s True Stories Contest last March of 2010.