THE best moments in this book are the human ones, the conversations, the exchanges of trust, the waiting around, the sudden fear, the quick bursts of violence, and the desperation.
Reading the book penned by Philippine Air Force (PAF) Lieutenant Colonel Zacharias Gloria Morales’s "War & Peace in the Philippines: A Soldier’s Tale" is like watching a gripping, intelligent, provocative drama onscreen.
Every chapter allowed me easy access; back to early 1930’s to 1940’s where life is seemingly normal. I Savored every detail of his narrative; from a young boy born dirt poor in San Francisco, Pana-on Island in Southern Leyte, to his struggles as a soldier, his unconditional love for his family and his high sense of love for his country. More than ever, the book contains gut-wrenching accounts devoted to portraying with gritty realism the anguish of war- torn Philippines from the hands of the Japanese and the author’s desperate fight for survival. Chapter 16 was a heroic feat for a soldier who survived the Bataan Death March.
“I made my decision: I would make a dash for freedom. Failing that would mean instant death. Better to have a chance for freedom”.
There were moments when it provokes me to tears as I imagine the torture and the torments of captivity proved to be darker than the grave. “War & Peace in the Philippines: A Soldier’s Tale” provides a story that strikes a particular chord of sentimentality.
Hats off to Apo Lucia, an illiterate old woman in Guaga, who made a risky move by assisting and nursing a POW’s back to full health, including Morales after he escaped from the Death March.
Apo Lucia displays her strength in the midst of turmoil, she is my new definition of a Filipina, nonetheless, a mother, and a woman who longs for peace, and whose hope did not wavered.
War & Peace in the Philippines: A Soldier’s Tale, captures all human emotions, from pure joy to the lowest, saddest moments. It resonates what my generation failed to recognize, to enjoy this moment’s peace of freedom because of brave soldiers like Morales who fought hard for our country.
During his book launch held at Marco Polo Davao last April 5, 2016, Morales greeted his guests with a warm hug and a big smile.
Some of her children joined him at the book Launch, beaming with pride, Ricardo “Dick”, “Gilberto “Gigi”, Christine and Michael “Boyet”. Liza Jean and Marc Ceasar are both out of the country.
Celebrating with them is Judge Evalyn Arellano Morales (wife of Gigi), Grandson David and wife April and the Great- Grandchild Iñigo Melocoton Morales.
I look at him with pride and great respect for his enormous contribution to our freedom, and it is never too late to be grateful for it.
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