Father and Sons in War and Peace

When the American 11th airborne division landed in Tagaytay, Cavite, Nemesio and another guerilla named Ananias made contact with their headquarters in Nasugbu, Batangas to hook up with the American forces. And when the U.S. Army 158th combat team landed in Lemery, Batangas on March 8, 1945, Nemesio, Ananias and the rest of the guerillas from Inicbulan and Rizal joined the Americans and led them to Inicbulan via Cupang and dealt the Japanese a dose of their own medicine. The Japanese were totally wiped out.

McArthur landed in Leyte
McArthur landed in Leyte

After the American forces secured Inicbulan and Rizal, Eliodoro and Nemesio led the liberators to Bauan where they discovered the grisly sight of thousands of decaying corpses that littered the patio, plaza and everywhere. The whole town of Bauan was burnt to the ground including the town hall and the church. By some miracle, only one house remained standing – the one owned by Eladio Hernandez. The mopping operation continued for weeks and months in the mountains of Lipa and Tiaong with Eliodoro helping the Americans with the dangerous job. He stayed with the Americans until all resistance was crushed.

On March 10, 1945, Nemesio Marasigan, who was the leader of the guerilla movement in Inicbulan and Rizal, was named the military mayor of Bauan by US Major Jacobo Zobel. Nemesio in turn named Ananias as his chief of police and all the guerillas from Inicbulan and Rizal became members of the police force. Nemesio also named Esteban Buhat, then the treasurer of San Jose to become the treasurer of Bauan. Since the municipal hall was destroyed by the Japanese, the Marasigan house in Inicbulan, which was also the headquarters of the guerilla movement, became the temporary town hall. Eventually, Nemesio moved back the town hall to Bauan at a storage building (bahay-almacen) close to the Bauan market while the new town hall was being constructed.

One of Mayor Marasigan’s first acts was to bury all the corpses that littered the town. He authorized bulldoze a deep trench in front of the church and used it as the mass grave of all the victims of the massacre. Nemesio turned over the mayor ship to the civilian government of Bauan when peace and order was finally in place.

Soon the Americans established the Boat Building Command (BBC) in Sabang to build P.T. boats.  Other army facilities were constructed along the coastline to Mabini including the Engineers depot. Multitudes of US Army equipment and supplies were consolidated there; so it became apparent that to protect them, tight security was necessary. Col. Bender of the US Army asked Nemesio to head the task of maintaining security of the base. Nemesio, however, recommended his brother Eliodoro, who being a lawyer, was perfect to be the chief of Investigation and Security. It was approved. Eliodoro hired 700 guards right away. Meanwhile, Capt. Temper entrusted Nicanor to hire thousands of laborers to work in the construction and maintenance of the projects. The father and son hired the 1, 700 people from Taal, San Luis and Lipa but the majority were the guerillas from the barrios of Inicbulan, Rizal and Durungao. (They all stayed employed until the American closed the base and left years later.)

During that period, Nicanor and the brothers approached Col. Wilson, who was the engineer and commander of the base, to authorize the supply of materials and labor to rebuild the bridges in the barrios that were destroyed by the Japanese. It was approved. They also got permission to repair the Yangco school building and the chapel (Tuklong) in Inicbulan. The chapel became the temporary office of the barrio captain until a permanent one was built in front of the chapel across the road on a lot that Petra Marasigan inherited from her parents.