Dising Paculan

By Rolando O. Borrinaga
First Posted 11:09 PM 11/11/2009

Contrary to a local myth that was bloated out of proportion during the campaign for the 1980 local election, former Pres. Ferdinand Marcos spent only a day and did not sleep a night on Higatangan Island as a guerrilla during World War II.

This was the version of the late Dising Paculan whom I interviewed in the late 1990s, a few years before he passed away.

Instead, Paculan said Marcos and his guerrilla companions had slept at his parents’ house in Sitio Lupa of Barrio Calumpang on at least three different occasions during their 17 months together.

Paculan was the skipper of a batel (sailboat with no outrigger) that transported guns and equipment deposited in Mindanao by Allied submarines from Australia and delivered to various destinations in Luzon.

The stopover at Higatangan was prompted by a minor incident on the boat. One early morning, while sailing along Villaba, Leyte from the south, Man Dising picked up a diary that got dropped somewhere in the boat. It belonged to Marcos.

Paculan scanned through its pages and read some entries. In one item, Marcos had a list of possible contact persons in the Visayas suggested by his father (Mariano Marcos). One of these was Fidel Limpiado of Naval.

He returned the diary to Marcos and told him that the abode of one personality he had listed was along their sailing route. Marcos was interested and so they landed on Higatangan Island, their haven for that day, since the usually sailed only at night.

With Man Dising’s preliminaries and introduction, Marcos got to meet Fidel Limpiado at the latter’s house.

Somehow during that day, the guerrilla group strayed under the coconut trees in the middle of the island. Here they came upon a healthy coconut tree that had two branches. (I am not sure if this tree is still standing now. I saw it once, in the summer of 1977.)

Man Dising noted that Marcos took some time contemplating that branched coconut tree. Then he approached the tree and, with a knife, cut some short pieces of its roots, which he kept inside his pocket.

Later, Marcos approached Man Dising. He allegedly said, “Paculan, look at these roots. It shows some signs that I shall become president of the country.”

Man Dising did not take seriously this divination of Marcos at the time.

Around dusk, they embarked on the batel and sailed again. Man Dising was not sure if they proceeded to Naval and rested at the Paculan house. When they did this, they usually navigated the batel as far as it could go up the Caraycaray River, and hiked the rest of the way to Lupa. During their first stopover here, Man Dising’s family cooked lechon for the guests. And Marcos slept on top of a tall rice bin filled with palay.

In the boat with Marcos was another guerrilla colleague from a prominent family who also harbored an ambition of becoming president. Somehow, they just adopted a “may the best man win” attitude on the issue. But they already had discussions on what they would do if their wish would ever come true.

Man Dising’s contract to transport the Marcos group ended a few months before the Leyte Landing in 1944. Within three weeks after they parted, Man Dising and his boat was captured by a Japanese sea patrol, which no longer honored the Japanese safe-conduct pass issued to him in the past.

As a Japanese prisoner during the Battle of Leyte, Man Dising served as a load carrier for a company of Japanese soldiers after they landed in Palompon and hiked all they way towards north of Kananga. Somehow, he got fair treatment from a Japanese officer he was serving, who was killed during the battle against the Americans along the Yamashita south of Limon.

When Marcos became president in 1966, Man Dising was called to Manila to work in Malacañang. He met again the members of Marcos’ group in his batel during World War II; they were already holding key positions in government. His main task was to bring paper from various Malacañang departments for Marcos to sign inside his office.

Man Dising left his Malacañang job within six months of the Marcos presidency in 1966. He said he was not used to living in the city, which made him feel sick, and to wearing shoes. Also, his job suddenly brought to his house a lot of favor-seekers, hangers-on, and newly-declared relatives, which rapidly exhausted his family’s food supply.

He told Marcos he was quitting his job and would return to the province. He was enticed to stay, and was offered to become dummy head of some government corporation, and to receive a high salary even without clear tasks. But he invoked his educational handicap. Also, as a matter of principle, he wanted to raise his family “by the sweat of his brows.”

During the campaign for the 1969 presidential election, Marcos came for a political rally in Naval. In his speech, Marcos categorically mentioned his wartime association with Man Dising, who was raised by townmates from the back of the audience and brought to the stage on his farmer’s working outfit. That was their last meeting.

Man Dising was probably the first close ally and war-time buddy to turn his back on Marcos, who later made a mess out of his dictatorial rule of the country. Many townmates, and even some of his children, did not take kindly Man Dising’s decision to refuse the good graces of Marcos. But he held on to his principles and did not care.

In a final ironic twist, Man Dising passed away in his house just outside the back fence of the mansion of a Marcos beneficiary and ally a few days before the fiesta of Caraycaray several years ago. This former official has also been accused of making a mess out of a dozen years of dynastic rule of our province.

When shall we ever to dare the odds and learn from the dignity of Man Dising’s example?


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  1. What a simple story from a simple man with great lesson to learn.
    What is the lesson?
    Do not expect something in return when you help someone.
    Do not politicize the real meaning of help.
    Man Dising had the dignity to refuse help to get a good job from someone. Though uneducated, he firmly believed that he could make his own and he did.

    Now we hear stories someone who has college degrees with titles touting the help of somebody to land a job. What a pity.
    How I wish these so-called professionals can get their jobs not by political connections but by their own qualifications to free them up from utang na loob mentality. No wonder during decision time for the election some are obligated to choose someone who favoed an indiviidual person rather than a group of people.

    Man Dising’s attitude is worthy to emulate for everyone no matter how simple he was. Without knowing it I have my own share of Man Dising’s experience in life. Not the war time but in real time.

    Though an average college graduate, got a job the day after college grad ceremony-no family members nor friends nor politicians backed me up. When it was time to move in a different places with different races, same thing…. survive the
    harshness in life with completely unknown people.

    Man Dising must be smiling now because I helped a lot of people also without asking something in return….even the money being said to be paid back…..he he he.

    I know … Man Dising must be smiling a lot because he has so many kaliwat kapwa Filipino who possess the same of his dignity and character.

    So thank you Man Dising for knowing you though we never met
    and thanks to jalmz for accommodating this simple story that has profound moral story to all of us….what an inspiration!
    Thanks too to the writer for this lead article for sharing.

  2. Wistful thinking. If only the people could emulate the virtues of Man Dising, then we would not have this political situation right now. As it is, prinicples have been exhanged for a bunch of hundred pesos like the biblical Judas who sold his Master for a few pieces of gold.
    I pray, may we be able to overcome our biases, aspire for political maturity and together fight for genuine change and true political reforms.

  3. Thank you Sir Borrinaga for such a detailed and well-researched piece of local history. History with national blend spiced with what it relates to the present circumstances we are in.

    I believe that through your historical researches, accounts like that of Mang Dising must be highlighted in our local history classes so that the youth will have a role model to emulate with..

    Such kind of noble deeds and the kind of decisions that he did make is something that is not happening to some of those who happened to know some personalities and use said affinity to selfishly request things that is not done in an ordinary circumstances.

    How i wish that lots of Biliranons especially those who can discern well do follow his footsteps… Simplicity and love of thy labor,no get rich quick methods and no hanger-ons schemes will still make man happy and honorable. Regardless of those fanciful material things ..all those will pass by and cannot be brought to ones grave. What is important is the honor and prestige one can have thought the noble deeds and decisions one can embrace despite the opposition of other people.

  4. What a coincidence this story came out when just last night i had shared the same story to a friend, only in different context. I was telling the story on how a relative had saved the life of the future President of the Philippines and my friend was so impressed that i actually came from a historical place and that i had a chance to shake hands with the former president. Reading your article made me feel awful because nothing was mentioned of its significance…to me. I just hope my friend won’t find this article before i find the truth to it. I do not know you at all but you seemed respectable. What i do not understand is your omission of Mr Limpiado’s act of kindness to save the life of the former president from the enemy when he arrived in Higatangan (was there really?…i will search the truth) and trying to humiliate the Limpiados indirectly thru Man Dising’s personal choices. I could understand infusing politics here but we have guests who are surfing for local news and true stories.
    Labeling a story a “local myth” is absurd. May be people thought he was sleeping although he was not. What ive heard was that the then guerilla Pres. Marcos stayed most of the night awaiting for the right time to travel or escape. You could be right stating that he was not sleeping in Higatangan. Who can sleep when the enemy was right next to you? Does it matter Mr. Borrinaga how long he stayed in Higatangan? I think what matters is that someone in Higatangan had saved someone’s life who would become a very important figure in our country. And the former president was sincere in expressing his gratitude by all means. i was in the island when the former president visited the Limpiado family. With your story, im wondering why the president didnt passby Calumpang.
    Thank you anyway for sharing the story. Now i have to gather facts and get back to my friend….

  5. this article is very timely,hopefully our government officials and the people who are planning to seek position in the government will possess such principle in life..maayo unta magkaanaa tay leader nga dili gahaman sa gahum, leader nga andam magserbisyo sa mga katawhan nga wlay self interest.leader nga maghuna huna sa kaayuhan sa kadaghanan dili sa pipila lang..leader nga mutuman sa mga saad sa katawhan sa dihang nangumpanya pa lang..leader nga good follower.

  6. Response to Ms. Higatangnon

    Ms Higatangnon,

    My article does not make Higatangan less of a historical place; it fact, it enhances its historicity. Its significance related to Marcos, which has been ignored until now, is the fact that he extracted from here the “amulet” that steered him to the presidency. Is this revelation not exciting enough? I would not be surprised if Marcos actually revisited that branched coconut tree during that Higatangan visit you mentioned, a private pilgrimage that could have escaped the people who milled around him.

    The Marcos-Limpiado meeting was a fact attested by Man Dising. But the presence of a Japanese patrol that allegedly hounded Marcos in Higatangan is plain and simple fiction that could not stand the test of time, an embellishment that was propagated during the campaign for the 1980 local election, when a Limpiado son ran for mayor of Naval. I know the two main authors of the fiction.

    I know enough of Leyte’s World War II history to state that the Japanese soldiers were largely concentrated in Tacloban and Ormoc throughout 1943, when the batel (sailboat) skippered by Man Dising navigated the Visayan Sea to transport weapons and equipment from Mindanao for the guerrillas in Luzon.

    For 1944, I have a Japanese eyewitness account of the actual patrol routes of the 10th Company, 9th Infantry Regiment of the Japanese Imperial Army, assigned to northwestern Leyte including Biliran Island, with headquarters in Biliran town. Higatangan was not in their list. After all, both the Japanese soldiers and Filipino guerrillas admitted in extant documents that our island was a rest-and-recreation (R&R) area for both warring factions. Only Leyte-Leyte was the hotbed of the guerrilla resistance in the area.

    By the way, I had also shaken Marcos’s hand as a 12-year old school boy during his Naval campaign in 1969. I broke through the security cordon when he was about 10 meters away from boarding the helicopter in the plaza, now the campus of Cathedral School of La Naval. I had also witnessed how Man Dising was raised by the townmates, which I validated with him during the interview.

    – Rolando O. Borrinaga

  7. Wishful thinking maybe because only a handful

    of kapwa pinoy can follow Man Dising’s dignity and


    Hopefully with this write-up, more Filipinos will adapt

    the rare high-moral attitudes of Man Dising to be free

    from political immaturity.

    Ang nakapait lang kay bisan “promise” nga tabang

    aning website, the only popular medium of expressing

    our speech freedom in town so far, maglisod og fulfill.

    Ang uban pod nga nakatabang og unya wala kauyon

    sa gipangsulat dire, magkwenta na o di ba manghadlok

    na nga dili na mohatag. WTH!

    I don’t think that’s Man Dising’s real character as Biliranon

    or as Filipino in general.

    I still believe there are still new generations of Man Dising

    out there – waiting for the right time to come out….and

    that’s my wishful thinking…..and hopefully a reality

    after 2010 election.

  8. Prof. Borrinaga,

    I appreciate your response. Few searches and Ive learned that youre a historian. Your version of the Marcos-Higatangan story is then hard to dismiss but the twist and accusations are getting harder for me to accept. I grew up with that firm belief and the pride that goes along with it. I know very well the great grandfather Fidel Limpiado but unfortunately i didnt have the chance to know Man Dising who seemed to be a noble man. It then behooves me to ask the question was Man Dising telling you the complete story or just his story.

    • Hi good day Ms. Higatangnon. I am now confused if kinsa jud ang nag tell sa insakto nha story kay based lang pud sulti sa ako papa na lage mao nay nahitabo nga getabngan ni lolo Fidel si Pres. Marcos dati. I am interested to hear the true story because my lola is from Higatangan also. She is a pure limpiado.
      I never heard this kind of story about dising. So I was surprised the other side of the story. Thank you from grace

  9. Response to Ms. Higatangnon 2

    Ms. Higatangnon,

    I am a careful historical researcher and I have refuted several famous myths that have been passed off as history in the Leyte-Samar region. Of course, in the process, I have also ruffled enough feathers and angered some people for my efforts. But that is how it goes in the history front.

    The procedure was simple. Over bottles of beer, I requested Man Dising to narrate, in chronological order as much as possible, his association with the guerrilla group of former President Marcos during World War II from the time he was approached in his batel (sailboat) in Pagbilao, Quezon, until they parted 17 months later.

    The event in Higatangan was a simple social call by the young Marcos from Man Dising’s point of view. What we do not know is how Marcos’s father, Mariano, had known Fidel Limpiado. Were they pre-war friends, or plain acquaintances? After the war, was there subsequent contact between Fidel Limpiado and Ferdinand Marcos before the latter became president? Probably. Limpiado might have served as ward leader for Marcos’ senatorial campaign. But these aspects were peripheral to my inquiry.

    My basic concern was to establish what exactly happened in Higatangan related to Marcos during the war. Some details speak for themselves. If I had not seen that branched coconut in the summer of 1977, I would not have had a good appreciation of Man Dising’s detailed description of this aspect of the Higatangan episode some 20 years later.

    A fantastic version of the myth that developed focused on how Limpiado had allegedly saved Marcos from pursuing Japanese patrol, and even hid him for days in the ceiling. You are free to believe this, but the fact is that Marcos was among a group of some seven guerrillas traveling on that batel. There would not have been enough space in the ceiling for all of them.

    Man Dising told me his story of that 17-month association with Marcos during World War II. But was it a complete story? Certainly not. But what he told me was comprehensive enough for my data need. Unfortunately, the Higatangan episode did not have the high drama that political-types made it appear in later years.

    – Rolando O. Borrinaga

  10. Mora ug nagka tugma ang unod sa interview kang Man Dising ug ang suwat ni Marcos kang Man Fidel. Ninghapit lang sila sa Higatangan nga way naggukod nga nagpatrolyang Hapon. Gipapaniudto gad seguro sa mga Limpiado si Marcos ug ang iyang mga kauban, kay sunod man na sa atong maayong pamatasan ang pag pakig atubang sa mga bisita. Labot lang nga mga gerilya sila unya dunay dala nga mga pusil.

    Mora man ug pangampanya sa eleksiyon ning suwata. Panahon na ni sa kampanya gisuwat niadtong 1961. Gipadala kang Dugoy Vero, usa ka dakong lider sa Liberal Party dinhi niadtong panahona.

    Mao man pod seguro ning suwata ang gigamit pagpanlugit ug maayong trabaho ug negosyo sa mga anak, mga apo, ug mga paryente ni Man Fidel Limpiado sa panahon ni Marcos. Gibutangan gud ug underline. Piho nakapakurog ni sa opisyales sa mga ahensiya sa gobyerno nga gihatagan ug kopya kalakip sa application letter o project proposal.

  11. With so many accounts and circumstances w/c ms.H and prof. B shared, i am certainly confused. In a fair manner, when it comes to history(leyte-samar) prof. B is undeniably “THE MAN”…i read all his books and journals and infact the best source of learning history. But when it comes to handed- down accounts/stories from kins, ms. H side is more cnvincing…infact it’s story that circulates around and w/c people believe in. The limpiado story s more popular than that of man dising. But infairness to prof. B effort to unravel the truth, he is now tryng to emphasize that we are at wrong side of the story and that his is HI-story, meaning higher form of story. Anyhow, nobody could really dig up the real story w/c is already 10feet below the ground, their would be always hanging question left…but what we are up to s to appreciate and pay respect to those people who have once tried protect our soil from oppression, who maybe they are…salamat daghan…pahabol pa diay., a statue was built in behalf of the couple (limpiado) built in the shore of higatangan(i dnt knw f it stil existing)according to stories it was built upon the mandate of the late pres. as gift of gratitude. I wonder their is no statue for man dising…Pls, tell us your side of the story ms. H and prof. B . Salamat

  12. After reading Man Dising’s story, I keep on

    thinking about his personality and humility

    and the total absence of utang na loob.

    What a decent man indeed!

    Now I am also thinking the comparison

    of the other people’s personality who

    blog here in this site in support

    of the Espina Dynasty.

    What a BIG DIFFERENCE – like day and night!

    Man Dising – like a beautiful day that brings

    hope to the people of all kinds.

    Espina Dynasty Supporters – like a a dark

    night with winds, thunderstorms, lightning,

    flood, that brings gloom and doom for the

    new generation. Nasty, dirty, confused,

    and yeah,

    stupid. Sorry I have no kind words for them.

    This is the result of favors given by the

    old Espina…and the consequences are very

    bad. Again thanks to utang na loob mentality

    that made the intelligent people biased

    on MORAL DECISIONS in their daily life.

    Back to Man Dising, I also keep on thinking

    if he was able to get what was morally due

    for him…benefits as veteran of the war…

    from the Philippine or US government.

    If the writer can tell us anything about

    it, please do so, sir. I am just curious.


  13. Re Marcos’ letter


    Thanks for posting the digital copy of then Senator Ferdinand Marcos’ 1961 letter to Mr. Fidel Limpiado. It is a self-explanatory document which content has been the subject of speculation for years, and which was obviously expanded by secondary or tertiary parties who had agenda of their own. This time, the ordinary reader can directly appreciate the text of the letter for whatever it is worth.

    The only comment I would like to make is that Marcos’s letter and Man Dising’s interview information complement each other. Marcos wrote the phrase “touched on Higatangan,” Man Dising described it as a “passing visit.” Both accounts are devoid of the later myths that bloated the basic fact.

    Man Dising’s full name is Desiderio Casas Paculan. He was born on May 23, 1922 and passed away at the age of 79 on February 25, 2001, a few days before the Caraycaray fiesta.

    – Rolando O. Borrinaga

  14. purbida!!!……pwerte pagka ilad sa mga tawo sa naval sa dugay nga panahon…nga kuno nasalbar si marcos ni fidel sa dagat sa higatangan….mao dako kuno utang kabubut on ni marcos kang fidel…karon ning gawas na gyud ang tinood….

  15. mo smile nalang si nice limpiado ani nga storya kay human na siya mahimo nga mayor sa naval ug maka kurakot sa munisipyo…gamay ra man ang kita as rcpi manager…..looy pod taga naval pwerte pag ka ilad sa mga limpiado…hehehe…..kanang suwat ni marcos nga pasalamat sa hospitality ni fidel ug dapit pangampanya, mao na nagdala sa bida….hehehe

  16. mr.naval ayaw god palabig himo sin estorya.ang tinood nga balita,gitagopan ni late fidel si marcos sa ILAWOM SA KATRE SA DIHANG NANGAGI ANG MGA SUNDALONG HAPON.ayaw sad pakapini oy

  17. Prof. Borrinaga,

    Just like any historian, you have the authority to disprove or confirm the Limpaido story or any story. What is lacking in the process, that would have made your story credible and your reporting responsible , was your failure to disclose the Limpiado version from any source. Having both versions of the story and now the Marcos letter in the open, the readers could decide whether the Limpiado claim is true.

    That said, I’m convinced that the great grandfather Fidel Limpiado told us the truth because I have now Man Desing’s version, the Limpiado version and the Marcos letter which I have not seen before.

    Obviously, Man Desing did not tell you the complete story because nothing was mentioned of the Limpiado-Marcos risky sail on their way to Luzon via Sorsogon and their almost fatal destiny when they arrived in Sorsogon. The detail was dramatic, so much so that I believed Marcos was really destined to be alive and to become the future president….a destiny which was also written in that unusual coconut root !

    To me, these are the clues from Marlos letter that support the Limpiado claim:
    1. Touched Higatangan—–no doubt that he set his foot on the island.
    2. Good Samaritans to strangers/ Protection that nothing could repay….may be food and shelter for the grroup ? must be more important…protection? hideaway? You argued that they could not have fit in the attic….i heard only Marcos and one other VIP were secured for some reasons .
    3. way back to Luzon……..supported limpiados version that he and his son and another man transported marcos back to luzon, and there as they arrived in Sorsogon encountered another risky situation—-in fact the Sorsogon incident was considered the second marcos save, or may be the best one.
    4. your intervention, which protected me and my party during the dark days of japanese occupation….must be something very significant for him to return to Higatangan and expressed his gratitude to the limpiados and to the people of higatangan.

    Prof. I can sense that a motive here was or is politically motivated. I could understand the peoples dislike or may be disgust of the then Mayor Limpiado’s administation but for fairness this should not discredit his father’s goodness. I think im done with this troubling issue. This response to your blog was a clarification for me and hopefully enlighten others.

    In response to “ako mizmo”, i havent seen the twin branched coco tree for years now but i was told it was uprooted during a strong typhoon. However, the couple’s statues remain standing inside the family’s yard, not on the seashore. I havent had the chance to ask any of them the reason for erecting those statues.

  18. Ms. H thanks…you might be done in this troubling issue but not this infamous story told…we can’t just close the storybook and keep it in the closet. Once our children opens it the same story they will believe in. We have to pick every single piece to fathom such mysterious accounts…how would it be done? That i dnt knw…atleast at the moment we realize that our stories are wrong w/c i thnk is the 1st step to unravel the truth…We shldn’t be like that shfting sandbar in that island, once the current changes, it changes position…

  19. I am curious to see if Mr. Borrinaga, who is a notable historian, has kept an old diary of some sort or a certain record of his interview with Mr. Paculan in the 1990s. Any historian who would uncover something as trivial as this would be able to provide a copy with than encounter with their sources.

    It also made me wonder why such a small island as Higatangan was visited by a President, mandated a circumferential concete road network around the island as well as build a school if he only visited the place for a day. Would he even care to remember the people of this small island if he was there just for “lunch”? Isn’t it not more convincing that this act of kindness by Mr. Marcos is that because his life was saved by these Good Samaritans during the Japanese war?

    If Mr. Paculan has this association with Mr. Marcos in Malacanang, I am also curious to know if Mr. Marcos has made any good efforts to make the community of Mr. Paculan a better place to live like building schools, supporting livelihoods & such that Mr. Paculan can head even with an “educational handicap”?

    I am just curious to know.

  20. Response to Ms. Higatangnon 3

    Ms. Higatangnon,

    I was in the scene during the 1980 local election campaign when the Limpiado version of the Higatangan episode involving Marcos started to sprout and grow to mythical proportion from the basic facts through a series of political rallies. That would make me an eyewitness. I have also heard the version you detailed in Blog 20. I guess that was narrated to hype up the KBL miting de avance in late January 1980.

    The conflicting variations of the Limpiado version appear to be facets of the evolving story that assumed separate existence because they were not followed through by those who only attended one or two but not all rallies.

    I was aware of some dynamics at that time. Because the KBL camp could not force Man Dising to go beyond the basic facts of Marcos’ Higatangan episode, efforts were exerted to discredit him, although he was not a candidate. An issue was raised by allusion about his modest education in some rallies. Because of this deficiency, his version of the story was supposed to pale in comparison to the version cultivated by two former teachers in the KBL line-up led by a Limpiado son as mayoral candidate.

    When the apparent libel backfired before a listening public sympathetic to Man Dising, the tack of the story was changed. The tellers removed Man Dising and the batel sailboat and Marcos’ other guerrilla companions from the tale and transferred Marcos by his lonesome to Limpiado’s sailboat. The tale had become very tall indeed.

    Now, who do you think had the political motive to alter the story? Certainly not Man Dising, who remained a modest and unassuming person. He stuck to his version of his story to the end of his life, even if he was discredited and put in a very bad light at some point.

    – Rolando O. Borrinaga

  21. Responses to some other commentators:

    In the past, when my geocities website was still operational, I usually responded to blogged comments here in that website. Since the server closed shop last October 26, I have not yet put up the site elsewhere. So, in the meantime, I post my responses here.

    ap, louise, Ako mizmo,

    Thanks for your compliments.


    There are actually many people out there who possess similar quiet dignity and character that Man Dising had. They are usually unsung, because they are not the type who would flaunt their acts in the open. There are more of them than the showy people I have known, even in Naval. I have been recipient of their type of kindness. So our situation is not really that hopeless.

    Man Dising was receiving a veteran’s pension. I presume he was registered with Marcos’ guerrilla outfit.


    I tape-recorded my ca. 1998 interview with Man Dising and I still have the micro-cassette tape with me. I am careful with documentation as a matter of habit.

    I have written and published several WW2-related articles since the 1990s, but the one about Man Dising was one I could not seem to get out of my system for long. I always had in mind to write an article titled “The man who refused Marcos,” but his death came in between. I was also faced with a problem of perspective, aside from the fact that I am dealing with a very sensitive and controversial local issue that has now touched a lot of raw nerves. Anyway, that is how it is in writing, you succeed in some and you fail in many others.

    Why would a president visit small Higatangan Island? The answer is suggested in the title of the article.

    Obviously, you are the type who equates history with great deeds of great people. Ironically, history is also made by the ignored small acts of ordinary people. Like providing the usual hospitality to total strangers for a few hours, or manning a sailboat without untoward incident for 17 months. No need to bloat these noble acts beyond their size, as if other people are totally incapable of performing them.

    – Rolando O. Borrinaga

  22. Please consider that Rolly Borrinaga as a boy became an eyewitness of at least one of the encounters of Marcos and Man Dising, when during the campaign rally here in Naval Marcos categorically called up the name of Man Dising and the latter was raised up by the townsmates and brought to the stage.

    For Marcos to remember the name of Man Dising, he must be an associate of him or at least he had known him on a personal level.

    As a boy, at least in one time, I also heard from Man Dising himself his being an associate of Marcos.

    I believe, Professor Borrinaga’s history to be true.

    Man Dising was the father of Cito, Juan, Elena Paculan-Torres, and Susana Paculan-Racho.

  23. salamat prof for taking your time to reply my simple


    now i can literally sleep soundly kay he was given due

    benefit og very humble pa jud.

    man dising is my another inspiration of my humble life now…

    and guess what, another man who remains humble

    inspite of worldwide attention.

    “I am just an ordinary fighter”….that what

    pacman said!

    his verbal english is no good but his message has

    profound positive effect to all mankind.

    mabuhay ka rin professor borrinaga!

  24. Prof. Borrinaga,

    Man Desing had no political or personal motive but obviously he was being used by the people around him who had those motives against the Limpiados. I dont question his association with Marcos at all based on your story but what baffled me is your firm disregard of the elder Limpiado’s also act of kindness as evidenced by Marcos letter and his return to the island to personally thank the elder Limpiado. Your answer to bloggers why he returned to Higatangan Island was pure speculation. He would have done anything to preserve that unusual tree or would have spent unusual visit to the tree site but rather he spent so much time talking to Mr Fidel Limpiado and his family at his house because without their intervention as he mentioned too in his letter, there would have been no President Marcos. It was a grand visit. A week of advanced safety preparation. The first couple was aboard the Ang Pangulo ship and no there was no sleep over!!! They left same day. I was a junior in college at that time so i fully understand what was going on. The honesty of the great grandfather Limpiado and the degree of attention and effort Marcos had personally executed to show his gratitude are enough for me to believe that the limpiado story is also true.

    To an open mind, i think Marcos letter correlated to the Limpiado story because the letter was addressed to Fidel Limpiado only. For Marcos to mention “back to Luzon” and the “protection” he received kind of explains the limpiado version that critics like you had questioned. And Man Desing in your story was not sure whether they proceeded back to Naval , and the minor boat incident that prompted them to stopover in Higatangan kind of connected the limpiado version that they transported Marcos back to Luzon using the family’s sailboat. Could be that Man Desing was left behind with his disabled boat? Speculation but could be the case because Marcos and another VIP presented themselves as total strangers to the elder Limpiado. And take note that the Limpiado residence sat right next to the seashore.

    For critics, i dont think there’s a chance to change their minds, and must be the reason why no one from the limpiados continued to make a comment or response.

  25. Response to Ms. Higatangnon 4

    Ms. Higatangnon,

    Man Dising simply stood by his version of Marcos’ WW2 Higatangan episode and resisted the pressure and libel from the social and political elite that sided with the Limpiados in during the campaign for the 1980 local election. As far as I know, he was neither assisted nor influenced by the anti-Limpiados in that crisis; he was simply himself. And believe you me it was never easy to cross these people at that time.

    I did not disregard Man Fidel Limpiado’s display of kindness towards Marcos and his party. In our culture, if you agree to meet somebody in your abode, this also means showing hospitality, cited by bloggers who read between my lines. If I may infer further from the interview information, they probably first went on a picnic for silot in the coconut grooves, guided by their host, while lunch was being prepared for the guests. That day’s reception and perhaps some send-off food items for the traveling guerrillas would have been sufficient to earn the Marcos’ eternal gratitude towards Man Fidel.

    Simpler gestures that earned huge dividends had been described in world literature. Read Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations” to see what I mean.

    There is sufficient literature claiming that Marcos had a fetish for “anting-anting,” one of which was allegedly given to him by Bishop Gregorio Aglipay. In Higatangan, he already got root pieces during WW2; he did not need the whole twin-branched coconut tree. Still, it makes me wonder in retrospect why the cemented road from Mabini reached only the vicinity of that tree when I saw it in 1977, and not way up to Libertad. Question: Did Marcos visit the tree first before proceeding south to the Limpiado house?

    President Marcos’ visit to Higatangan and Man Fidel in the late 1970s was just a side trip from visiting the Busali Stud Farm in Biliran town. Acquired years earlier (not even bought) from Australian Stuart Raab, Marcos apparently wanted to develop the property as his local ranch. He had an airport built near the area, in the boundary between Catmon and Bato, and had five kilometers of highway cemented from Catmon to Busali only.

    The first aircrafts that landed in the airport were Hercules military cargo planes that transported Santa Gertrudes purebred cattle direct from Texas, USA, where they were bought at very high prices, for rearing in Busali. I got this information first from my professor in Silliman U, and this was validated later by a close associate of former Leyte Gov. Kokoy Romualdez.

    However, it was soon found out that liver fluke was endemic in Busali, and the Santa Getrudes cattle were hastily evacuated, also by military cargo planes, to another ranch in Palawan. I got this information from a veterinarian who was hired to take care of these cattle. Thereafter, Marcos lost interest in Busali.

    While gathering data for the position paper for the Biliran provincehood campaign in the late 1980s, our team found out that the Busali Stud Farm is formally owned by the Romualdezes, not the Marcoses as commonly known. But this is another story.

    The fabricators of the Marcos-in-a-Limpiado-sailboat did not even bother to think if their tale would technically float in the high seas. During the election campaign, they always used the word “bilos,” which is a really a small outrigger banca provided with a sail. Man Dising always used the word “batel,” which is a much bigger boat with two sails and without outriggers, and could accommodate more passengers.

    – Rolando O. Borrinaga

  26. Greeting Mr. Borrinaga,

    Maupay na adlaw ha imo ^_^.

    First, let me tell you about myself, I’m Kenneth Telmo (born in the province of tacloban)

    and I’m an aspiring screen-play writer and a Philippine History enthusiast. I have

    recently joined a script writing contest that enables me write a historical event in our

    country’s violent history. and I have thought of a great screenplay about the Balangiga


    As I researched for my script I have stumbled upon your work and became great admirer on

    your book, entitled The Balangiga Conflict revisited.

    Since I was a child, I have fueled by my relatives different stories about the balangiga,

    I had long ponder on what really happened. It would be a great honor if you grant me

    permission to take details and facts from your book and adapt it to my screenplay, and

    with your guidance I would like to remind our nation again, about the tragedy that has

    happened and the unsung heroes who defied tyrants during the Philippine-American War.

    Hoping for your kind consideration and reply. Thank you.

    You can contact me through email or cell number cell. thanks.

    The deadline for submission is on May 20,2010. YOur hasty response will be greatly appreciated sir. Thank you

    John Kenneth P. Telmo

  27. hoi,.naunsa naman mo ui cgeg lalis kinsa ba gyud ang nakakita, nakatabang, nakahalubilo kang Marcos,..kung kinsa man aw maypa sila nakakita sa dictator,.sa president,.ang problema natong mga pilipino..basta nakakapot ta kang pulano pulana ika proud nana nato,.example: hoy nakahikap ko kang Piolo Pascual or naka beso beso ko kang Tom Cruise,..they are only human beings like us but just in a different status in life,..my question is: kita? naa ta ikaproud sa atong kaugalingong achievements? instead of saying..”nakakita ko ni…” did we make something from our own to contribute to our country? aw maayo to c marcos kay nahimong president so anyone makaduol niya proud gyud pero kita?naa ta’y nahimo…bottomline is: kung maglalis mo adto mo pangutana ni Bongbong Marcos ang anak ni Marcos kay buhi paman basig diay daghang stories ilang amahan sa pagkabata pa niya..go!

  28. If the profit of the people is explainable, but there is just a chance to really treasure the time of trustees with the doctrine of public office is a public trust. to manage the people and the profits itself is their profits is unexplained the origin nor its source. although the almost unspeakable number, the amount of the source of its trunk. the opportunity loss and it becomes private think it not unlikely that sneaking to better manage the managers of the private sector compared to the government sector.
    ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS A.)->>something that you say which means that what you do is more important than what you say Of course the government have made all sorts of promises but as we all know, actions speak louder than words.
    B.)->>What one does is more important than what one says, as in Politicians need to be reminded that actions speak louder than words.
    C.)->>what someone does is more important than what someone says not what they say they’ll do, because actions speak louder than words.
    A.)->>people of the same sort or with the same tastes and interests will be found together.
    B.)->>Similar people tend to associate with each other.
    C.)->>something that you say which means people who have similar characters or similar interests will often choose to spend time together
    Mothering Center ILOCOS NORTE
    “If it can’t be done in this little corner of this nation,it can’t be done in the entire country.”- Imelda R. Marcos
    LET THE TRUTH SHALL PREVAIL!>>https://web.facebook.com/343898559146814/videos/430524257150910/
    >>> Christmas Gift ni Marcos.>>https://web.facebook.com/FerdinandEMarcosBestPhilippinePresident/videos/1031223640280971/…>>>TATAK MARCOS!
    >>>Gov’t now owns 72% of UCPB | Inquirer Business>>>http://business.inquirer.net/201574/govt-now-owns-72-of-ucpb
    Kahit anong gawing pagtago ng mga sindikato sa Bansa natin, hinding hindi nila kayang burahin ang napakaraming mga naipagawa ng pamilyang may totoong puso para sa Bansa natin, ang pamilya Marcoses. Larawan ng kanilang pagiging makaBansa ang Coconut Palace, pero hindi inaalagaan ng mga sumunod na administrasyon. ipinagawa nila ito sapagkat, sumasalamin ito sa pagiging pilipinong may pagmamahal sa ating kultura. Tunay kayong kahanga-hanga Madame Imelda R. Marcos. Mabuhay kayo!>>>https://web.facebook.com/343898559146814/videos/430827630453906/
    >>>Based from the National Statistics Office. Marcos (1965-1986) total budget for 20 yrs = Php486,273,000,000. Cory (1986-1991) total budget for 6 yrs = Php1,077,895,000,000. Ramos (1992-1997) total budget for 6 yrs = Php2,237,907,000,000. Marahil nagtataka kayo kung bakit mas malaki ang budget ng kay Cory at Ramos na 6 years lang ang termino. Eto po ay dahil sa pagbenta nila ng mga pagaari ng gobyerno katulad ng mga Power Plants, PAL, Petron, PLDT, MWSS, LWUA, PNOC , BNPP uranium at nuclear reactor, Meralco, Tv stations, NAPOCOR, LRT, SLEX, NLEX
    h) Noon nageexport tayo ng bigas (Masagana 99). Tayo nagturo sa vietnam at iba pang asian countries sa pagtatanim ng bigas. Pero ngayon sa Vietnam na tayo bumibili ng bigas.
    Pagbago ni Cory sa Philippines constitution na kung saan inaalis ang Sabah sa territoryo ng pilipinas.
    • Pagsasabatas ng contractual employee na nagpapahirap hangang ngayon sa ating mga kababayan na magkaroon na regular na trabaho.
    • Pagsasabatas ng VAT or value added tax na lalong nagpamahal sa presyo ng mga produkto dito sa bansa natin.
    • Pagbigay ng ibang kompanya pagaari ng gobyerno sa mga kaalyado sa pulitika katulad ng Meralco at ABS CBN.
    • Pagbenta sa mababang halaga ng mga kompanya pagaari ng gobyerno sa mga kamaganak katulad ng PLDT, Petron, PNOC, Nawasa at PAL na pinakamalaking airline noon sa asya.
    Tanging ang mga negosyante lang ang lubos na nakinabang sa mga batas na ito ni Cory kaya nais ko din talagang malaman kung ano nga ba ang mga nagawang proyekto ni Aquino na nakatulong sa ating mga kababayan.
    sa pagiging bias lang po, wala na sigurong papantay sa dilaw na gobyerno at media natin na puro kasamaan lang ni Marcos ang binabalita, di man lang binabalita yung tungkol sa Mendiola massacre, Lupao massacre at Hacienda Luisita massacre.
    >>>hacienda luisita massacre (documentary)
    >>> https://youtu.be/9Ab1ux2DiHw
    >>>Mendiola Massacre January 22, 1987 Massacre at Mendiola >>>https://youtu.be/gOMHl9_vkY4.
    >>>https://youtu.be/zUbYuRxdavc. >>>https://web.facebook.com/kamatuorandavao/videos/608299379307814/?permPage=1
    Pinalitan pa nila lahat ng text books sa school at pinagbawal lahat ng babasahin na nagbabangit ng kabutihang nagawa ni Marcos at baluktot na pamamalakad ni Cory katulad ng aklat na “Greed & Betrayal” na pinagbawal sa National Bookstore. Eto ba ang tinatawag nilang malalayang pamamahayag na kung saan ang kaalyado sa pulitika ay pilit na pinagtatakpan at ang kalaban ay patuloy na sinisiraan. Pasalamat tayo sa makabagong teknolohiya tulad ng facebook o internet at unti-unti nating natutuklasan ang katotohanan..
    eto ang dahilan kaya idineklara ang MARTIAL LAW..
    >>>Why Martial Law was Declared – Howie Severino on I-Witness–https://youtu.be/pxCTONE3_RM>>>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jpVGmoVVt8
    >>>Marcos to Ver, My order is not to attack! the crowd.>>>
    CLICK THIS VERY INFORMATIVE LINK ABOUT WHO REALLY MARCOS>> >>>https://web.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=585058324992050&id=526965450801338&fref=nf%3DPOLITICAL SCIENCE THESIS ABOUT WHO REALLY MARCOS…
    Kung tunay na hindi maka tao ang dating presidente Marcos ay malamang dumanak ng dugo sa EDSA noong 1986. Bagkus mas pinili na lang niyang bumaba …
    Suriin natin mabuti kung ano nga ba ang mga nangyari noon bago nagdeklara ng martial law.
    •October 21, 1966, TIME MAGAZINE: Greater Manila Area: a notorious haven for criminality.
    •late 1960’s, nabuo ang Muslim Independence Movement.
    •1970’s, Nagkaron ng secessionist movement sa Mindanao.
    •Ito ay pinangunahan ni nur misuari ng MNLF. Sila ay nakipagdigma upang magkaroon sila ng sariling estado (BANGSAMORO STATE) na kabibilangan ng mga isla ng Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi at Palawan.
    •1969-1970, naging talamak ang pangingidnap at pagpatay ng NPA; nagumpisa din ang radicalization ng mga estudyante at nagsagawa ng kaliwat kanang protesta laban sa Gobyerno.
    •January 1970, Binomba ang Joint US Military Advisory Group Headquarters sa Quezon City.
    •January 30 1970, may 50,000 mangagawa at mga estudyanteng aktibista (na naimpluwesyahan na ng ideolohiyang komunismo) ang lumusob sa malakanyang ,at sinunog ang ilang bahagi ng medical bldg. Gamit nila ang isang Fire truck na kanilang pilit na kinuha upang madaling makapasok. Ayon sa NPA agents, ang misyon ay patayin ang Pangulong Marcos.
    •October 1970, may mga kaso ng karahasan ang naitala sa ilang campus sa maynila. May pagsabog din ng mga pillboxes na naganap sa ilang paaralan.
    •December 1970, pinasabog ang dalawang Catholic school at dalawang government buildings sa Calbayog City.
    •December 11 1970, Lansang vs. Garcia, L-33964,napatunayan sa Supreme Court na ang mga karahasang nagaganap sa bansa ay kagagawan ng mga Komunista na nais agawin ang pamamahala sa bansa.
    •December 29 1970, sinalakay ng NPA Commander nasi Victor Corpuz ang Armoury ng PMA.
    •June 1971, Binomba ang Constitutional convention hall
    •August 21 1971, Binomba ang liberal party sa Plaza Miranda ; ayon kay dating senador Jovito Salonga, Jun Alcover (dating NPA officer) at victor corpus( dating NPA commander), si JOMA SISON ang may pakana. Ang isa sa kanilang lider na si Ninoy ay wala sa malaking political event na ito ng kanyang partido.
    •1971, May mga pinasabog na Oil firms sa maynila. Pinasabugan din ang main pipe ng NAWASA, Meralco substation sa Q.C, congress building, comelec building, Meralco main office premises sa ortigas at doctors pharmaceuticalsinc building sa Caloocan.
    •February 1972, Pinasabugan ang U.S embassy
    •March 1972, Pinasabugan ang Greater Manila Terminal Food Market
    •March 15 1972 Binomba ang Arca building
    •May 30 1972: Binomba ang Vietnamese embassy
    •April 23 1972 Binomba ang Filipinas Orient Airways board room sa Domestic Road, Pasay City
    •April 1972, Pinasabugan ulit ang U.S embassy
    •June 23 1972, Binomba ang Court of Industrial Relations
    •June 24 1972, Binomba ang Philippine Trust Company branch office sa Cubao, Quezon City
    •July 3 1972, Binomba ang Philamlife building sa United Nations Avenue
    •July 18 1972 , Bigong pagpapasabog sa kongreso
    •July 27 1972 Binomba ang Tabacalera Cigar & Cigarette Factory Compound at Marquez de Comilas, Manila
    •July 1972 napigilan ng militar ang barko galing china “MV KARAGATAN” na magsusupply sana ng mga armas sa NPA na hiningi ni Joma Sison kay communist chairman maotse tung.
    •August 15 1972 Binomba ang PLDT exchange office sa East Avenue at ang Philippine Sugar Institute building sa North Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City
    •August 17 1972, Binomba ang Department of Social Welfare building
    •August 19 1972, Binomba ang water main sa Aurora Boulevard at Madison Avenue, Quezon City
    •August 30,1972, Bigong pagpapasabog sa Department of foreign Affairs
    •August 30 1972, Binomba ulit ang Philamlife building
    •September 5 1972, Binomba ang Joe’s Department Store sa Carriedo
    •September 8 1972, Binomba ang Manila city hall
    •September 12 1972, Binomba ang watermains sa SanJuan at Rizal
    •September 14 1972, Binomba ang San Miguel building sa Makati
    •September 18, 1972, Binomba ang Quezon City Hall
    Hindi pa ba sapat ang mga pangyayaring ito para magdeklara ng martial law? Eh si Gloria nga nag rally lang o EDSA-3 nag deklara agad ng state of rebellion/martial law. Ganun din noong nangyari ang ampatuan massacre nag deklara agad sya ng martial law sa Maguindanao.
    Ayon sa official MNLF website, si Ninoy ay isa sa nag organisa para mabuo ang CPP-NPA at MNLF. Halos sabay nilang binuo ang dalawang grupo na ito noong 1968 para manggulo sa luzon at mindanao. Ang layunin nila ay para mahati ang pwersa ng mga sundalo sa central luzon. Pero matalino si marcos alam nya na madaling mahihikayat ng mga rebelde ang mga magsasaka at mga ordinaryong mamamayan kung walang magbabantay ng mga sundalo magdamag. Kaya nag deklara sya ng martial law,>>Why Martial Law was Declared – Howie Severino on I-Witness–https://youtu.be/pxCTONE3_RM>>>may curfew pag gabi at madami nakabantay na sundalo sa ibat ibang sulok ng bansa natin. Karamihan sa sinasabing mga biktima ng human rights violation ay hindi kagagawan ng militar. Ang madalas na may gawa nito ay ang mga komunista mismo para ibintang sa mga sundalo. Kinukuha nila yung mga uniporme ng mga napatay nilang sundalo at gagawa sila ng pangaabuso sa mga mamamayan na suot ang uniporme para isipin ng taong bayan na sundalo ang may kagagawan. Madami nalinlang ang mga komunista dahil na din sa suporta ng media, kagaya ng nangyari sa plaza miranda bombing na ibinintang kay marcos. Ang interview kina padre Balweg at Victor corpuz na dating mga lider ng mga komunista ang magpapatunay dito. Nakakalungkot lang talagang isipin na yung mga sundalo natin na nag sakripisyo at nag buwis ng buhay para protektahan tayo sa mga komunista ay sila pa ang pinasama ng media at yung mga NPA tuloy ang pinagmukhang mabuti. Yung mga lider noon ng NPA na pasimuno noon ng kaguluhan ay may malalaki ng katungkulan ngayon sa gobyerno. Tila nabaliktad yata ang takbo ng ating kasaysayan dahil sa kagagawan ng media at mayayamang capitalista. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYNJyKA9gao
    Noon madaming pagaaring negosyo ang gobyerno ng bansa natin katulad ng mga Power Plants, Meralco, NAPOCOR, PLDT, PNOC, Petron, NAWASA, MWSS, LWUA, TV stations, PNR, LRT, SLEX, NLEX, BNPP at Philippine Airlines na noon ay pinakamalaking airlines sa Asia. Sa mga income generating projects na katulad nito nanggagaling ang halos lahat ng panggastos ng gobyerno noon at kahit gaano pa kalaki ang utangin natin sa World Bank ay tiyak mababayaran natin dahil may sariling income ito. Pero ngayon ultimo mga public schools at hospitals ay isinasapribado na. Parang inutil na ang ating gobyerno na umaasa na lang sa TAX ng taong bayan. Di pa nakuntento gumawa pa ng batas na VAT na nagpamahal sa mga produkto at nasundan pa ito ng EVAT na lalong nagpahirap sa mga mamamayan. Parang si Juan Tamad na nakahiga at naghihintay na lang malaglag ang bayabas sa bibig nya. Isipin nyo na lang yung mga sumasahod ng 20k pataas ay parehas lang kay Henry Sy ang percentage ng income TAX na binabayaran. Ang masama pa, ang TAX na pinagpawisan ng ating mga kababayan ay kukurakotin lang ng mga pulitiko.
    Sasabihin pa nila tumataas daw ang GDP ng bansa natin pero di man lang binangit kung paano ang distribusyon nito. 35% ng GDP ay napupunta sa gobyerno sa pamamagitan ng TAX, EVAT at mga public fees, yung 25% napupunta sa mga oligarchs katulad nila Henry Sy, Ayala, Tan, Lopez at Cojuanco, yung 10% sa mga mayayaman, 20% sa middle class at yung 10% ay sa mga mahihirap. Isipin nyo 90% of 110 million total population ng Pilipinas ay binubuo ng middle class at mga mahihirap tapos bale 30% lang ng GDP ang share nila, samantalang yung mga oligarch wala pang 50 thousand ang estimated numbers ay 25% ang share sa GDP. Wag po sana tayo magpalinlang sa mga binabalita nila dahil tanging ang mga oligarchs at mga mayayaman lang ang lubos na nakikinabang. https://web.facebook.com/PhilippinesShockingHistory/posts/1696546033898233:0?hc_location=ufi
    pero ang laki na ng utang ng pilipinas ngayon kumpara sa 20yrs ni marcos madami ang proyekto na para sa bayan ngunit 30yrs after marcos reign nasaan di ba dapat na higtan pa nila si marcos sa dami ng naitatag na mga proyekto na para sa bayan ngunit anong ginawa after marcos reign….????????? di ba dapat na mas marami pa sila maitatag na para sa bayan after marcos reign di ba na mas kikita pa dapat ang government after marcos reign ngunit anong nangyari sa bansa natin 30yrs after marcos reign….oo kakaunti ang population noon kakaunti lang din ang gagawa para sa bayan ay paunlarin. kumpara sa population ngaun na dapat marami ang gagawa para ang bayan ay paunlarin ngunit anong ginawa privatized dito privatized doon binta dito binta doon ng mga property ng government.


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