Posts Tagged ‘Tiga-Isla’


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.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Achievement_Making Docus

November 19, 2014

For me, it is an achievement to hop around towns in our country to spread Autism and Deaf Awareness through my documentary films — “Alyana” [2006] and “Silent Odyssey” [2008] . From the time I made them some 8 years ago up to now, they continue to be shown in different provinces. The impact has not waned, only the statistics. The power of film cannot be contested…

More than anything, finishing them quite gave me great sense of triumph. All of them took many months to finish: Alyana took me two-and-a-half years; Silent Odyssey and “Tiga-Isla” both took me one-a-half years. The reason??? I started with only some great desire to do them, borrowed cameras especially when I made Alyana and Tiga-Isla, and help from friends. I have no full budget at hand every time I start working on my personal docus, only the belief that I would finish them, come what may — with God behind me in whatever I do, passion and determination to achieve my goals.

DASMA Zone 1A_4

Reaching out to the masses to raise autism awareness; my docu on autism was shown in a covered court at Barangay Zone 1A in Dasmariñas, Cavite last October 24, 2014. On the screen is Alyana.

PSD Before Screening

Parents of Deaf children studying at the Philippine School of the Deaf watched “Silent Odyssey”, a docu touching on Audism/Discrimination, history and Deaf Filipino culture. It advocates for Filipino Sign Language use. Showing was held last September 25, 2014

Tiga Isla Screening

Even “Tiga-Isla,” my historical film docu on prewar Corregidor, the last island that surrendered to the Japanese during World War II still had impact on the viewers though made 11 years ago in 2003. It was shown last week on November 15, 2014. The docu ends with an anti-war sentiment.




September Showings_Target Dates

September 7, 2014

Roadshow Sked of my docus:

September 20 – “Silent Odyssey”, Philippine School for the Deaf in celebration of International Deaf Day

September 28 – “Tiga-Isla” [The Islanders of Corregidor] – Aguinaldo Shrine, Kawit, Cavite, in celebration of Tourism Day

September 15[?] – “Alyana — A Study of Autism in the Philippines”, Dasmariñas, Cavite

All are fully subtitled in English.

More notes: Last Thursday, Architect Jaime Silva was interviewed for a docu on Apolinario Mabini

Additional Notes as of Sept. 18: 1] There will be additional showings Sept 19 at PSD; 2] Tiga-Isla showing in Kawit was moved to October; 3] Showing of Alyana finally sked on September 27


Farewell to a Corregidorian

May 18, 2014

My eldest brother, Virgilio R. Medina, Sr., retired Manila policeman died day before yesterday on the same day my youngest brother, Senen was operated on because of very low blood pressure caused by blood clots and water around his heart. He has been confined since May 8 at the ICU of the Heart Center in Quezon City. We transferred him from a Laguna hospital because of lack of facilities. Another family member has undergone a heart bypass operation on the same day.

My eldest brother was one of my three siblings featured in TIGA-ISLA, my first historical documentary on prewar Corregidor. He was one of my primary sources of information along with my eldest sister, Dr. Ligaya M. Miranda, second president of Metro Manila College in Novaliches, Q.C., and Dr. Isagani R. Medina, professor emeritus of the UP Department of History. The latter was a colleague of Prof. Teodoro Agoncillo, Dr. Bernardita Churchill and Dr. Samuel Tan. All three of them were born in Corregidor.

By now, I do not know how many Corregidorians are still around.


WPC: UNIQUE / Mortar Bullet Craft

February 4, 2013

My family originated from the small, tadpole-shaped island of Corregidor in the Philippines. Now a National Shrine, it was the last island to surrender to the Japanese during World War II. How the civilian people lived there before the war were all tales from my parents and siblings, eight of whom were born there. Some documents and crafts remain that tell of their lives there. The Island became a military stronghold of the Americans when they came, and decided to stay after a mock battle in Manila Bay with the Spaniards in 1898. To help in fortifying the island they named Fort Mills, most of the original inhabitants remained to work with the Americans. One of them was my father who, during his leisure hours engaged in fishing and “bullet crafting.”

Corregidor Artifacts

Artifacts made, used and found in Corregidor Island, Philippines before 1941. They now form part of the exhibit in the Island’s War Museum located at Topside. Items 1, 2 [made of mortar bullets] and Item 5 were my father’s handiwork.

Using an empty mortar bullet, approximately 4” in diameter, my father crafted a lamp [Item 1] using it as his material. To do the relief design on it, the bullet had to be put on fire to soften or make it malleable. He chose the cover of then very popular pre-war magazine called Liwayway [Dawn]. As I imagine the lamp to be according to his description, it would have been something like this [See drawing]. LampBecause of its weight and bulkiness, only its tube was saved from the War. His work is dated 1928. His other metallurgic work was a talcum powder container made of mortar base plate [Item 2]. With a heavy lid and appearing to be of bronze material, it must have father’s gift to my mother. The pair of scissors [Item 3] was also crafted by my father.

All of them can be found with some civilian prewar documents in a small room at the War Museum of the Corregidor Historical Shrine. Toys like the Singer sewing machine, a flat iron that uses charcoal are also displayed in the museum [Items 3 & 4]. All that remained in our possession related to their lives in Corregidor after the fire that destroyed our house in 1998 were donated to the Museum. Fear of another fire tragedy greatly motivated me to donate, not keep the remaining artifacts with us. Most of them are burnt-looking if you will notice because they actually went aflame at that time. I just retrieved them for sentimental reason. One of my father’s creations, a lighthouse about 16” in height, also made in Corregidor fully melted in that fire incident, and of course their pictures during the American period.

The other reason for giving them away is for visitors – local and foreign — to see, or give them concrete idea on how people lived in the island before. No books comprehensively tackle about the civilian lives before 1941. All are centered on the War, and, especially the Fall of Corregidor; to be more precise most of the books focus on the fall or the surrender of the Americans to the Japanese, especially so, on the return of Gen. Douglas McArthur. That’s exactly why I was led to do my first feature-length docu, TIGA-ISLA [The Islanders of Corregidor]. Using oral history, I focused on the socio-cultural lives of the American servicemen, Philippine Scouts and civilians that included my family. But what sparked me the most to work on it was when I visited the island sometime in 2000. Balikbayan Filipinos [specifically those who immigrated to the US] were completely surprised to know that there were villagers in the island, and that it was actually inhabited before. As I’ve said, lack of materials on prewar lives in the island cause that ignorance even up to now. Currently, only hotel workers and maintenance personnel live there.

Corregidor is a must-see historical shrine in our country. I am not saying that because of my affinity to it but because it is one of the actual reminders of the horrors of World War II. It is being kept and preserved by Corregidor Foundation. Unfortunately, the forces of Nature are slowly eroding the structures there including what is called Mile-long Barracks, said to be the longest barracks in the world [].


Silent O and Ultimo A Now in Gallaudet Univ Library

July 10, 2012

Last week, Ms. Diana Gates Moore, Gallaudet University Deaf Collection & Instruction Librarian acknowledged the receipt of Silent Odyssey, my docu on Deaf Filipinos, and Mi Ultimo Adios, the first-ever translation of Dr. Jose Rizal’s last poem in Filipino Sign Language. Now I feel secure about the copies of my work. Burning of our house into ashes in 1998 continue to make me insecure as I live in a crowded place in Pasay City.

At the same time, I am also happy that researchers from the U.S. who want to learn about the plight of the Deaf in the Philippines can now have access to them especially, Silent O, which is the first feature-length docu on Deaf Pinoys. There used to be some students from the U.S. who have asked me for copies. Now, they can go to Gallaudet U for their viewing when they are ready for issue by their students.

Violation or I would say, taking advantage of my trust and confidence led to multiplication and selling online of my first historical documentary on the life of Filipinos before the War in the Island of Corregidor entitled Tiga-Isla by a foreigner who have no respect for another person’s rights.  That experience made me somewhat paranoid and led to losing my confidence on people whom I do not really know. Persons with no delicadeza or kapalmuks doing that have no respect for intellectual property rights. They just think of their own pockets at the expense of their “poor”, literally poor victims. And to think that that person is a lawyer, is really quite appalling.

[Note: I met Ms. Moore at Gallaudet University with my relatives the following year. Click to see photos with Ms. Moore]


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!