The town of Mayoyao, Ifugao, on Luzon Island is busy preparing for the “Lenong Ad Majawjaw” festival set on August 8 and 9. The meaning refers to an adventure for peace festival
The celebration commemorates the “fiercest battle fought in the Eastern Ifugao Campaign” during World War II called Battle for Mt. Nagchajan. According to history, the battle commenced on July 25 until August 9, 1945 against 1,000 Japanese soldiers commanded by General Togozuma who occupied the town of Mayoyao.
Reports have it that 500 of these Japanese soldiers were well-entrenched at the apex of Mt. Nagchajan that the liberation forces composed of the 11th Infantry with elements of the 14th Infantry of the US Forces in the Philippines (USAFIP) commanded by Lt. Colonel Donald Blackburn intended to dislodge.
After weeks of continuous fighting, massive aerial bombing with incendiary fire bombs and intense land battles, Mt. Nagchajan was captured on August 8, 1945 and Mayoyao was liberated on August 9 forcing Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita to surrender on September 2, 1945 in Kiangan, Ifugao.
This achievement was recognized by the world and in 1995, with the help of the National Historical Institute, a memorial marker was established for the hundreds of brave men who died and those who dedicated their lives so that freedom was achieved.
In the book authored by Celedonio Ancheta entitled, “Liberation of Northern Luzon,” he said it was on this Mayoyao Ridge that one of the fiercest battles took place between the Japanese soldiers and the combined Filipino-American forces.
The festival aims not only to commemorate the end of the battle but also to instill in the minds and hearts of young generations the evils of war and the lessons of history.
The Lenong Ad Majawjaw committee composed of the municipal mayor and officials, department heads, police, Veterans Federation, senior citizens, non-government organizations, and the women organizations are preparing several significant activities for the occasion.
On August 8, a ball, a fashion show, and an Ifugao Ethnic Designers Competition will be held.
On August 9, there will be playing of taps, wreath laying at the Mayoyoyao Ridge Marker, and 11-gun salute in honor of the WWII heroes. After this, there will be tribal music and dance festival, and community dance at the town center.(JDP/ Daniel B. Codamon-PIA CAR, Ifugao)