Along with all the Filipino soldiers who gambled on their lives for our sovereignty, the gallant Igorot heroes during the Second World War should be commemorated for their noble sacrifice.
"Hampered by the dense undergrowth and lost in the confusing maze of bamboo thickets, vines, and creepers, the tankers would have been impotent had it not been for the aid of the Igorot troops of 2d Battalion, 11th Infantry. Hoisted to the top of the tanks where they were exposed to the fire of the enemy, these courageous tribesmen from North Luzon chopped away the entangling foliage with their bolos and served as eyes for the American tankers. From their position atop the tanks, they fired at the enemy with pistols while guiding the drivers with sticks."
General MacArthur said that when the attack was over, the 20th Japanese Infantry Regiment was completely annihilated but the remnants of the tanks and of the Igorot warriors were still there.
"Many desperate acts of courage and heroism have fallen under my observation on many fields of battle in many parts of the world. I have seen forlorn hopes become realities. I have seen last-ditch stands and innumerable acts of personal heroism that defy description. But for sheer breathtaking and heart-stopping desperation, I have never known the equal of those Igorots riding the tanks. Gentlemen, when you tell the story stand in tribute to those gallant Igorots."
Here's an old document of the news article published on February 23 of 1942 through the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
The Time Magazine also published an article about the heroism of Igorot soldiers and the critical role they played in keeping freedom alive.
This War Department communiqué last week, like so many of its predecessors, was 100% terse pessimism. Douglas MacArthur and his battle-weary outnumbered troops were still holding the Bataan Peninsula and Manila Bay's five defensive forts. But their collapse under ever-increasing enemy weight and ferocity seemed imminent as never before.
There were bright spots in the picture, however. In his weekend communiqué, Douglas MacArthur included the dramatic story of non-Christian Igorot native tribesmen who, in an offensive over rough, matted terrain, mounted U.S. tanks like so many half-nude jockeys to direct American drivers inside. "When the attack was over," said the General, "the remnants of the tanks and of the Igorots were still there, but the 20th Japanese Infantry Regiment was completely annihilated. . . . When you tell that story, stand in tribute to those gallant Igorots."
Along with all the other brave Filipino soldiers who risked their lives for the freedom that we Filipinos have been celebrating to this day, the gallant Igorots of World War 2 should be thanked for their selfless sacrifice.
General MacArthur said it best, stand in tribute to those gallant Igorots. So let us continue to tell the story of our gallant forefathers.