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Rough Cuts | One way to travel back in time

Today the Philippine–Japan Historical Museum located at the Philippine Nikkei Jin Kai School campus in Calinan, Davao City, will be re-opened.
This came about after it was temporarily closed for months to undergo a major renovation. The Philippine Nikkei Jin Kai, Inc. (PNJKI), an association of Filipino Japanese descendants, operates the museum.

In the invitation we got from no less than the President of PNJKI, retired lady Judge Antonina Escovilla, and from the association’s Calinan school campus principal Mrs. Carmen Apigo, we were told that the ribbon-cutting for the re-opening ceremony will be at 10 o’clock this morning.

We were also further informed that the Japanese chief envoy to the Philippines His Excellency Ambassador Haneda is expected to grace the occasion. The renovation of the museum building has been given financial assistance by the Japanese embassy amounting to P4 million. The PNJKI’s counterpart was a budget for the expenses needed for the interior facilities like cabinets and other stands where the museum items are to be placed.
Well, may be many will be asking why the museum gets that much support from the government of Japan. We believe it is because many Davaoeños are still unaware of the role of the Japanese in Davao’s saga toward its present level of development.

The Davao Region, and Davao City specifically, had a fairly large Japanese population that started to grow in number sometime in 1903. The first batch of Japanese migrants in Davao consisted of the workers of the Kennon road project going to Baguio City north of Luzon. The Kennon road project was undertaken by the Americans who occupied the Philippines when this was ceded by Spain to the United States after that European country was defeated in their war. When the Kennon highway was completed the Japanese workers were displaced.

Later however, they were brought to Davao to work in large coconut and abaca plantations opened by American soldiers who were sent to occupy the area. And by twist of feat coupled with their industry the more enterprising Japanese eventually became the plantation owners themselves after they were financially backed by their government and investors from their country.

By the time the United States and Japan were at war starting on December 8, 1941, the Japanese community had evolved and their culture gained substantial assimilation to that of the Davaoeños.

All the activities, the development endeavors, the cultural adoption that were recorded or documented and preserved are mostly housed in the museum.
Thus, for anyone who intends to go back in time when the Japanese migrants were a bustling community in the city, the Philippine-Japan Historical Museum is the right place for them to visit.

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In a column we wrote sometime during the series of earthquakes that hit Mindanao last year, we wrote about the greed of some people taking advantage of the predicament of others, mostly the victims. Some shrewd businessmen were quick to think of ways how to make money by pushing for the use of their products for protection in case of another strong earthquake. And we were talking of hard hats that were required each student in some public schools.

But we also took high recognition of the goodness of people who share what they have in order to help those who were deprived as a consequence of the calamity.

Apparently, the same incident is happening again in the disaster brought about by the sudden eruption of the Taal volcano in Batangas.

Imagine masks to protect people from the ashes spewed by the volcano sold at triple to quadruple its original price by some establishments! If it is not greed, then what is it?

It is a good thing that such undeserving character of some of us Filipinos is being steam-rolled by the spirit of “bayanihan” being practiced by the good Samaritans among us.

Yes, it is very heartening to see people who were once victims of calamities but have survived coming to Batangas to deliver their material and even financial assistance to the present disaster.

And who would mind the highways leading to the forsaken province getting humongous vehicular traffic for as long as the vehicles are carrying relief goods for the evacuees?

Unfortunately though, there still are people who use the calamity to dispose of their unwanted clothes in their closets.

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