By Ramon Jorge Sarabosing
Surigao City Councilor Sim Castrence’s prayer says it all: “Heavenly father, we invoke your divine presence to enlighten our minds against prejudices caused by a conflict. 73 years ago where on hallowed seascape of Surigao Strait, occurred the greatest naval battle between Allied Forces and Japan- the Battle of Surigao Strait, dawn of October 25, 1945.”
“We offer these memorial ceremonies in reverence to the fallen soldiers who fought in defense of their countries with valor and also to the civilians caught in the conflict, we offer our prayers.”
Every morning of the said date the Surigao City government, the national offices and private sector, come rain or shine, commemorates the historic event with a solemn and creative flow held at Lipata Ferry Terminal complex.
It is historically consuming to every citizen of this country, and Americans, Australians and Japanese to take part and witness because it upholds the depth and meaning of the attainment of global peace and goodwill.
Despite the gloomy weather this week, the ceremonies pushed through with grace and warmth among participants and audience. This is one memorial event that touches the heart, including the floral offering in the middle of the sea on a Philippine Navy boat.
City Mayor Ernesto T. Matugas hosted and led welcoming guests from respective allied nations and Japan and neighboring provinces.
A groundbreaking activity followed for the war memorial shrine/park to be build atop the hill of Punta Bilar overlooking the strait. The islands of Leyte and Dinagat provide an interesting scenic backdrop.
There is no doubt the shrine will transform into a major destination not only in the city but the entire Caraga region.
Roselyn Merlin, the city’s tourism officer informs the shrine will be completed in year’s time.
Guests and observers believe the site when open to the public adds historic vibrance and dynamism this side of Mindanao.