Sunday’s Veterans Bank 45.5 kilometer Victory Day Ride sans John Hay stop

IT’S ON. Philippine Veterans Bank first vice president Mike Villa-Real, left, listens to retired Gen. Restituto Padilla, Jr. of the Philippine Veterans Office as he explains the events leading to Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita’s surrender in Sept. 3, 1945. Victory Ride race director Christan David Alacar is also all ears during the event’s press conference at the Club House of John Hay recently. PML

Despite the inclement weather due to the typhoon intensified monsoon, the Philippine Veterans Bank backed  Victory Day Ride on September 3 will push through but shortened with one of the stops cancelled.

“Yeah, looks like everything’s set. But instead of closing at John Hay, it will end at (the Philippine Military Academy) PMA at around 8-830AM,” said PVB first vice president Mike Villa-Real.

Villa-Real said the United State Embassy did not allow them use of the diplomat’s residence within John Hay where Japanese Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita signed the formal surrender on said day in 1945 formally ending the  war here.

“Yeah, the US Embassy didn’t approve to close at the Ambassador’s House. But tge US Embassy might join us (during the) closing (ceremony) at PMA,” said Villa-Real in a private message.

The ride, the first to commemorate the Yamashita surrender since its passage into a law declaring it a special holiday in 2021, is expected to draw 150 bikers.

It is a celebration of the “victory” of the Fil-Am forces against Japanese forces under general Tomoyuki Yamashita when he formally surrendered on the same day in 1945.

The 45.5 kilometer ride will take riders to historical sites during the nearly four years of Japanese occupation which ended when Yamashita was caught in Kiangan, Ifugao before he was transported here.

Villa-Real said the bikathon is a celebration of the victory that ended the war here that killed a million Filipinos.

This, he said,  is the response to the Valor Run that is staged on April 9 commemorating the infamous Death March, a 110 kilometer ride from Mariveles, Bataan to the Shrine in Capas, Tarlac.

“We’ve been asked why we celebrate defeat and not victory,” said Villa-Real during a press conference at the Club House of Camp John Hay recently.

The bike for a cause will raise funds for the rehabilitation of the veterans landmarks here in the city including the park at Harrison Road beside the Baguio Patriotic School.

The “parade” starts at 6AM with a simple ceremony at the City Hall, passing through Camp Allen to the Veterans marker along Naguilian Road.

The riders then proceed to the Sablan view deck, which was a stop for the liberating Filipino and American forces coming to Baguio. From there the riders go to the PMA where a reenactment of Yamashita capture will be made and to be followed with the closing rites.

Christan David Alacar said that event is to raise awareness on the heroism of veterans in a “70 percent learn and 30 percent ‘padyak’.”

He is also hoping that it will be a bigger event next year where it may even start in Kiangan for a nearly 190 kilometer bikathon.

PVB will also open a World War II exhibit at the Baguio Convention Center after the awarding of the US Congressional Gold Medal awarding event for war veterans. Pigeon Lobien



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