By Erwin M. Mascariñas
The Surigao City Tourism Office revealed that a memorial and museum will be inaugurated and unveiled to the public to highlight the commemoration of the 75th Battle of Surigao Strait on Oct. 24 in Surigao City.
The site which is worth at around P20 million, the Battle of Surigao Strait (Boss) memorial and museum covers 1,350 sq. m. area situated along Barangay Punta Bilar oriented north facing the waters of Surigao Strait where the last battleship to battleship naval battle in history took place on Oct. 24-25, 1944, one of the largest single defeat for the Imperial Japanese Navy, sinking two battleship and three destroyers.
Roselyn Armida Merlin, supervising tourism operations officer of the Surigao City Tourism Office explained that the Boss memorial and museum will be a significant highlight into the commemoration of the historic World War II battle.
“The site will be one of our top tourist attractions while serving as an educational museum for tourist and visitors with a front row glimpse into the area where the battle took place,” said Merlin.
“The Australian Embassy has sent a communication that they will send a naval vessel and participate in the historic event. We hope that the United States Embassy will also send a ship and take part in the event. We will also have the Japanese Association in Cebu during the event,” Merlin Added.
Jake Miranda, Chairman of the Boss Council and curator of the Boss museum pointed out that the areas will feature a park with the flag pole hoisting the flags of the United States, Australia, Philippines, and Japan.
“The flags represent the countries that participated in the battle, and then a memorial wall with plaques will have the names of the battleship and naval surface vessels that participated on the Battle of Surigao Strait,” said Miranda.
Miranda added that the main highlight of the Boss memorial and museum site will be the recovered World War II artifacts and photos.
“With the inauguration of Boss memorial and museum, we will open the new location of the museum, to coincide with the celebration of the museums and galleries month. We will also present photos and audio video footages from the RV Petrel,” said Miranda.
In November 2017, the international Research Vessel Petrel discovered almost an entire Japanese battle group after it surveyed Surigao Strait, giving the world a glimpse into the wrecks of the Japanese battleships Yamashiro, FusM and the destroyers Michishio, Yamagumo and Asagumo.
Local historian Jake Miranda, an underwater search consultant for missing aircraft and ships, and Petrel’s project coordinator for the Philippines explained the significance of the Battle of Surigao Strait to the success of the allied liberation of the Philippines.
Without the success of the US Navy in the battle of Surigao Strait, the liberation of the Philippine Islands might have been delayed for several months and it would have been a disastrous campaign for the American forces, as the Imperial Japanese Navy task force would have destroyed several naval vessels during the landing of troops and logistics, Miranda pointed out.