The General MacArthur Marker
Located at the edge of the Macabalan port in Cagayan de Oro, the General Douglas MacArthur Marker is a giant statue of a military cap constructed to honor the World War II American hero. The monument stands five meters in height and eight meters in diameter. Made of fiberglass and steel, its sides and visor are emblazoned with laurels. There is also a star found at the center of the cap, which is visible to people in aircrafts flying overhead.
In addition, the giant cap monument is not just a statue, it’s also a gazebo. The military cap is raised from the ground by a couple of pillars so that it can house old pictures of the Port of Cagayan de Oro, which was then called Macabalan wharf.
Visitors will find it an amazing structure. Once a person steps inside the gazebo, a motion sensor automatically turns on the lights inside and a video about MacArthur, his arch-nemesis in the 1942 battle of the Philippines Gen. Masaharu Homma, and Filipino documenter Carlos P. Romulo (who later became US resident commissioner of the Philippines) starts to play.
Visible to all incoming and outgoing ferry passengers, the General MacArthur Marker was built to commemorate two historic events:
-During the Philippine-American War, the people of Cagayan de Oro fortified the city’s wharf against the invading Americans from January to March 1900. However, the area was finally occupied by the Americans on April 25, 1900.
-On March 13, 1942, General Douglas MacArthur and his family arrived in Macabalan wharf from Corregidor Island. He and his family then moved to the Del Monte Airfield in the province of Bukidnon where they left for Australia on March 17, 1942. It was in Australia where the Second World War hero made his famous statement, “I shall return.”
The grand marker was made possible by the joint efforts of the local government and some of Cagayan de Oro’s private institutions. Because of their cooperation, Cagayan de Oro and the rest of the Philippines once again gave tribute to the extraordinary heroism of one of the most important figures in Philippine national history.
Paras, the owner of the largest cable television company in Northern Mindanao, stated that the monument’s construction was totally financed by private firms. Since 1971, Cagayan de Oro’s mayor Constantino Jaraula already envisioned the construction of a MacArthur marker. But the dream wasn’t realized because of lack of financial resources.
The inauguration of the monument happened on March 13, 2008, which was the 63rd anniversary of the landing of MacArthur in Cagayan de Oro in 1942. The event was led by Mayor Jaraula and other officials and guests, including former President Fidel V. Ramos, and representatives from the United States.
During the inauguration, Jaraula stated that the marker symbolizes Gen. MacArthur’s dedication and determination in defending the bond of friendship between the United States and the Philippines. He added that this great monumental figure has paved the way in placing Cagayan de Oro in the limelight of world history.
The monument is open for public viewing everyday from 8:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M., except on holidays.
-by Gillian Abonitalla-
(Photos taken from 4.bp.blogspot.com and www2.gol.com)
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