'Greatest Naval Battle' Recalled in Surigao Rites

The world's “Greatest Battle in the History of Naval Warfare” was remembered in this northeastern-tip port city of Mindanao on Monday.

The commemoration was participated in not only by Surigaonons but also by American, Australian and Japanese visitors who came and once again showed interests in remembering the day the Japanese Imperial nation bowed down to the United States and Australian Navy during the "Battle of Surigao Strait" on Oct. 25, 1944.

The 66th year commemoration of that greatest event of war history was held at the Lipata Ferry terminal complex where the site of the famous sea battle can be seen.

The commemoration ceremony was led by City Mayor Ernesto T. Matugas and Gov. Sol F. Matugas. The memorial service started at 4:30 a.m. with a floral offering, lighting of candles and the lighting of the memorial flame by participating American, Australian and Japanese representatives.

The wreath-laying followed at the Surigao del Norte National High School which was the site of the Japanese encampment during World War II.

The flag-raising was witnessed by representatives of the Japanese Embassy, Australian Embassy, and the American Embassy. A 3 km. and 5 km. commemorative run was also held together with the Bike for Peace called "Banjak Surigao."

Other commemorative celebrations were the "Bugsay Race" at the Surigao City Boulevard, a commemorative cruise at Surigao Strait in the afternoon for the History teachers, students and World War II veterans, exhibits in the Surigao Strait diorama, World War II memorabilia at the Luneta Park, the Navy Night Party featuring the Bureau of Protection Alarm band and the film showing of the "Battle of Surigao Strait," and the awarding of prizes to winners by the City Officials headed by Mayor Matugas and assisted by Vice Mayor Danny Menor, City Councilors and Jake Miranda SCCI president.

A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the construction of a War Memorial edifice over-looking the site in Sitio Looc, Lipata, was also signed by Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Rod Smith, City Mayor Ernesto Matugas, Gov. Sol F. Matugas, PDTC Chairman Johann Jake Miranda, Richard Nick Amores Chairman of Surigao City Tourism Council, and Fernando "Jun" Almeda Jr., President Emeritus of the Surigaonon Heritage Center and noted local historian who wrote the Book "Battle of Surigao Strait."

“This historic event will remind all Filipinos how our heroes defended our very own native land during the last big gun naval battle in the Philippine history, and this must be remembered always," said Mayor Matugas. (Manila Bulletin)

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