To encourage the understanding of this city’s rich war history, particularly by its youth population and general residents, as well as its foreign and domestic visitors, a new privately-operated museum called “Special Battalion World War II Memorial Museum” was inaugurated by the family of local hero Dr. Higinio Mendoza Sr.
His son, Higinio “Buddy” Mendoza Jr., a businessman in Puerto Princesa and an active officer in the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGA), said he opened the memorial museum in Barangay Bancao-Bancao in memory of his father who was killed by the Japanese kempetais during WWII at Canigaran beach, which is just a stone’s throw away.
“This is in memory of my father, Dr. Higinio Mendoza Sr., who was killed in 1944 because he was a guerilla fighter who resisted Japanese control. We also put up this memorial museum because it provides a distinctive experience of what we only now usually appreciate in books or other forms of media. It is important for the Palaweño people to understand the history of their place as it is a part of what Puerto Princesa and Palawan are today”, Mendoza Jr. said.
Some of the museum pieces that are interesting to see are a historic typewriter and stenography machine, which Mendoza Jr. claimed was used by Gen. Douglas McArthur in Manila; old vehicles used during WWII; rusting guns and other ammunitions; uniforms of American soldiers, who fought with the guerillas; miniature war planes and ships; old paper denominations used in the war; and on one side on the wall, the names of 1,000 guerillas who belonged to the Special Battalion and fought in the city and province during the Japanese occupation.
The museum, which will collect P30 entrance fee for maintenance and care, also features a small library that holds a compilation of books and other reading materials about World War II.
“We are proud of our father and his and the other guerillas contribution to Philippine independence during World War II, and this part of our history should be appreciated by the people”, Mendoza Jr. said, adding it is “a significant factor too, in attracting tourists who like to appreciate the history of the places they visit, and can also be instrumental to historical researches and studies”.