Posts Tagged ‘The Islanders of Corregidor’


Gen. Charles E. Kilbourne Initiated the Building of Malinta Tunnel in Corregidor?

June 28, 2019

General Charles E. Kilbourne

Oh well, that’s what I just read today from an article about Malinta Tunnel building on Corregidor Island — birthplace of my forefathers, father and siblings. It was Gen. Charles Kilbourne, then re-assigned to assume the Harbour Defense Command in 1929 who revived the idea of building the tunnel under the Malinta Hill in December 1931. He worked on its realization, initiated and finally got the approval of the building project on January 14, 1932. To lead the construction work, Lt. Paschal N. Strong of the US Army Corps of Engineers was sent over. He arrived in the Philippines in 1932.

So, the idea which got hatched in 1921 started to get realized only in 1932 not 1922 as stated on a sign displayed outside Malinta Tunnel. The use of prison labor from Bilibid prison was said to be also his idea leading to building of prison stockades. The photo of Dr. Selma Harrison Calmes’ father with the prisoners that she graciously allowed me to use in my documentary TIGA-ISLA (The Islanders of Corregidor) is included in the same article simply captioned “Bilibid stockade.”

To read all the details, here’s the link to the article of Mr. John Moffit written on December 12, 2012:

Incidentally, I found just a few days ago, a letter already eaten up by silver fishes written by Gen. Charles E. Kilbourne in reply to I do not know exactly who. Was it my father, or my historian brother who wrote to him? Since Juan Medina whom he mentioned in the letter were grandfather to both, I wouldn’t know until I find a copy of the welcome letter sent to the General that he was referring to. Anyway, what is clear was that he was on a visit here at the time the undated letter was written. Knowing that he died in 1963, I would assume that he was in the country sometime in the 50s for a sentimental journey.

Gen. Kilbourne sounded how well he knew my great granduncle Juan Medina, former municipal president (mayor) of Bo. San Jose, Corregidor. Lolo Juan and my father’s father Mateo were brothers. The latter was appointed as Corregidor municipal councilor in 1906.

Kilbourne Letter_Front

Letter of Gen. Charles Kilbourne in reply either to my father, Ricardo M. Medina Sr. or my historian-brother Isagani R. Medina, both Corregidorians

Kilbourne Letter_Back

kilbourneGen. Kilbourne “was responsible for much of the military development of the island fortress of Corregidor. During his third assignment there [Philippines], from 1908 to 1913, he established the first artillery garrison on Corregidor.” (

We have two other letters written by Gen. Kilbourne, one dated 1936; the other written from Maryland that is undated. Both original copy of the letters were deposited in 2004 at the Pacific War Museum on Corregidor Island. In addition, the Certificate of Appointment of my grandfather Mateo dated 1906, and written in Spanish is also at the museum. Currrently, they are under the care of Corregidor Foundation, Inc.


Aguinaldo Shrine to Screen “Tiga-Isla, The Islanders of Corregidor”

November 12, 2014

At 2 pm this coming Saturday, November 15, my first feature-length documentary entitled Tiga-Isla, a historical film on pre-war Corregidor will be shown at NHCP-Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite. The film is about the lives of some of the residents who lived there before World War II. Three of my siblings, now all deceased and four others including their elementary school teacher, Ms. Simeona Fragante of Cavite City were interviewed for the film. They are personal accounts of their experiences there. I made the film to share their stories that are unknown to most Filipinos. Fortunately, an American doctor, Dr. Selma Calmes Harrison, who was born there joined us during the shooting proper.


My historical consultant and of course one of my interviewees was my brother Dr. Isagani R. Medina, a historian. In fact, he was one of the reasons why I pushed through with the film’s making. Knowing how much he loved his birthplace, I thought that it would help in keeping his spirit alive at the time when he was bedridden. When he saw the final output, he was overjoyed. It must have been because his childhood memories were relived as I found archival materials to complement their stories. When I asked him what grade would he give me for my research, he said: “Excellent! or “1”. Hearing it from a strict history professor, and seeing his happy reaction, I was as happy as he probably was.

Formerly called Fort Mills, Corregidor is now a national historical shrine. It used to be an American military fort and was noted for being the place where Escuela Pia, the first American public school was established. My mother studied there. During the Japanese period in the Philippines, it was notably the last island to surrender to the Japanese. Produced in 2003, to be shown however is the shorter version of the film.

Tiga-Isla was premiered at the CineManila International Film Festival in 2003, and was also shown at the New York Filipino Film Festival (2005), and the Chicago-Filipino-American Film Festival (2007) in the U.S.A.


Tiga-Isla / The Islanders of Corregidor

May 23, 2011

From deep slumber, I was awakened when I received an unexpected call from Kristine Castro of Suncruises day before yesterday asking me whether I have plan to “sell” copies of my documentary in the island. Why not, I thought. For years, I have managed to stop the selling of the film [I do not know if there is under the table dealing though] by an Australian who started selling it without my knowledge, or at least, without the courtesy I expected of someone whom I believed to be a gentleman. My reason is valid having an attorney-friend studied the agreement which that supposed gentleman prepared, he being an attorney, and which I stupidly signed simply because of trust. Well!  That agreement turned out to be favoring him more than I do, and in fact, it was written in such a way that I would be on a losing end. It had no closure, and he can sell until eternity!!!  That is why my friend told me to talk him out about some revisions on what he had written. I have asked him to do the change. He has agreed in the beginning to do the change on our personal agreement but dilly-dallied later saying he was busy, probably thinking of what he would lose should he do it. Until I came to know that he resisted the clause on accounting for the sales which my attorney-friend included. He actually even detested the action of my friend. Then, so suddenly, and unexpectedly, when I visited the island with a Balikbayan relative, I saw his well-packaged “product” — my film — being sold at Corregidor Inn! My trust having been betrayed, I fumed with anger. I met with the Corregidor Inn authority and went to meet the manager in Manila to tell them the situation. Knowing that I worked on the docu for a year-and-a-half, she immediately phoned the Inn to stop selling the docu.

So, he turned ONLINE. My documentary started selling from his end in Australia for years now, and what do I get? Not a penny! That is how he proceeded with his business. Marketing somebody else’s work. He is selling it online for $25. Click below to see:


I am not a business-minded person, and I have never thought of my work as a commodity but he did, and he did it in such a way that gives the perception of a good and honest collaborator…emphasizing on the words “produced in co-operation with the Corregidor Historic Society. The article below do not mention the other collaborators nor my name. Click below to see


He banked I am sure on my status as a “poor” person who won’t have the means to run after him in Australia to sue him. Well! He is right. For one thing, I have many work to do that requires my attention. I let him yes! Until conscience, if ever he has one, or delicadeza tells him that he had been unjust. I let GOD do whatever he deserves. In God’s time, it will come. I know it.

He may be laughing for my inaction, for letting God to do His way. But being a positive person, I did not take everything negatively. For he should not forget that my film is a vehicle of my expression. When I was working on it, selling the output was never in my thought. I was just thinking of preserving our cultural heritage, of preserving our history which are not found on books. So, I am at an smiling end as well. For I have my consolation. For the people who bought from him thinking that he was the producer and those would who would watch my docu would know, especially the Americans that I detest War; for viewers would see how Corregidor was like, and how the family of Dr. Selma Calmes lived in Topside; the Philippine Scouts in Middleside, and our family in San Jose in Bottomside—simple yet happy. No monkey business despite the literal presence of monkeys!!!

I have learned my lessons too — for I continued to make my docus, but I have refrained and have been conscious of people’s interest in them. Because of that, I have found true, honest, and transparent partners.

I have been quiet for years but now yes, I will make an abridged version of that docu…and for the respect that was gained and lost by a big monkey in it, you will get what you deserve.

Thanks anyway for multiplying copies of my film which you are marketing as if they are yours. I will pray for you so that your conscience guides you on the true and right path. That money alone will not make you live happily ever after!!! That art is long, life is short. Mass duplication of my film will outlast us — you and me!

For the person this blog is meant for…happy reading! From deep slumber, I got awakened to yes!!! the idea of making a version with as I’ve said, sans monkeys. May your tribe decrease!