Friday, July 31, 2009

When Pigs Attack

pagan japanese bunkerThere is a World War II era Japanese bunker on top of the ridge overlooking the center part of Pagan. This is a photo of the bunker from the back entrance, if that's what it is called. Crawling in, a window that overlooks the central Pagan valley below is visible. It was just about the right size for a machine gun enplacement. I could only imagine being a Japanese soldier waiting for the Americans to come ashore. Had there actually been fighting in Pagan*, the machine gunners in this bunker would have done some serious damage.

So anyway, as I was laying down on my belly to crawl into the small space I roused four sleeping pigs, all of which came barreling out of the doorway right towards my face. I think I jumped out of the way faster than even Spiderman could have.

Stupid pigs.

*Last year my father's godfather, Manny S. Villagomez, told me the story of the surrender of Pagan. He was one of 50 locally recruited marine scouts that were brought up to the northern islands by the United States military to help clear the islands of any Japanese resistance. The war was already over when they went up and he said that the approximately 1000 Japanese soldiers on Pagan did not put up a fight. They just surrendered.

Uncle Manny also went up to Maug on that trip to look for Japanese soldiers. The only thing they found on the island was the remains of a fish drying operation and dead bodies. He told me that it was common for American pilots to drop their left over bombs on the northern islands as practice on their way back from bombing Japanese cities. The men who were drying fish were casualties of those bombs.

maug beachI camped out right next to the ruins of that fishing base last Wednesday. While marine debris, especially old fishing gear, is the most prominent thing on the beach these days, the foundation of that fishing base is still visible.

He also said the tuna were so dense in the Maug lagoon that you could catch them with a spear. I saw barracuda and tuna just feet from shore, but they weren't as dense as he described them from 1945.

1 comment:

Noi said...

Hey man, my name is Bobby. I was in Saipan in the 80's and I now live in Australia. My employer before is Manny Villagomez. He works in the immigration and lives in Navy Hill. I was in his band with his son Herbie as the drummer. We use to go coconut crab hunting and going in caves and bunkers. Man if you happen to know these people, please get in touch. My email is thanks man.