On January 1, 1942, Magalang was fell into the hands of the Japanese. Its almost three years when the Japanese changed the lives of Magaleños which they never forget. Their aristocracies and abuses makes their lives miserable. Magaleños suffered hunger and sickness and others they were banished due to maltreatment by the Japanese. However, Magalang was one of the towns in Pampanga where the Japanese are difficult to assert its control. Thanks to the guerrillas especially the Hukbalahaps who are stationed in nearby Mt. Arayat; fearlessly defended Magalang against the Japanese, engaging in guerrilla tactics. When Americans landed in Lingayen Gulf in early 1945, they rapidly advanced into the rolling lands in Luzon, recapturing and liberating every town, city, province from the hands of retreating Japanese. When the Americans landed in the nearby town of Concepcion, Tarlac;on January 24, 1945, the 37th Division of Sixth US Army, dispatched Company G of 148th Infantry to conduct patrols in nearby barrio San Roque. When they reached San Roque, the Japanese equipped with tank covered in haystack and other supporting weapons opened fire against the patrol. The Company G were forced to call reinforcements, and thus the Company B of the same regiment were dispatched to cover up. When they are reached San Roque, they're blocked unexpectedly by two hundred Japanese troops equipped with tanks. They engaged in a skirmish and the Company B managed to inflict heavy losses to the Japanese. The Company B reported that their company lost two men, five wounded, two trucks destroyed and two more trucks damaged.    

The Americans rapidly advanced on barrio Sta Maria on the same day, and while on their way, they encountered two platoons of Japanese troops dressed in civilian clothes and they are supported with light and small tanks, in addition to mortars and machine guns. The Americans encountered heavy resistance, but they managed to kill 17 Japanese soldiers and destroyed one small tank. They also managed to retreat with the help of Hukbalahaps to the foothills of Mt. Arayat. In the following day, the Company B returned in Sta Maria, and they started to shell the town proper. On January 25, 1945, when the shelling persists, Japanese positions were setup, and the townspeople left the town and they evacuated in far flung barrios. Japanese tanks were positioned in the yards of Nicolasa Q. Luciano, Leoncia P. Morales, Teodoro Ordoñez, Lorenzo Gueco, Felix Naguit, Alfonso Manaloto, Pablo A. Luciano, Juliana Cruz and the cockpit arena. However, the houses of Leoncia Morales and Alfonso Manaloto were occupied by the Japanese troops, while the church steeple was occupied by the Japanese snipers. Hukbalahaps, conferred with invading American troops, decided to attack the Japanese in town proper. The fight was started around 11:00 pm and the Japanese lost a captain and forty men. The Japanese retreated the town proper, and as they soon as they left, some daring youths entered the church and they climbed the steeple. They rang the church bells continuously to announce that the liberation was at hand. After the church bells rang, the guerrillas with lighted torches marched around the town proper and they placed an American flag at the top of church steeple. On January 26, 1945, the Americans entered the town proper amidst the rejoicing of all. All the townspeople returned to the town proper after brief evacuation, and they greeted American soldiers and raising two fingers with in a V formation for Victory! The church steeple was converted as observation post, the 148th Infantry made the public market and the railroad station as their quarters. The house of Jose P. Feliciano was made into rest house of American officers, while the house of Marcelina B. Dizon was made into residence of commanding officer of 148th Infantry. 

On January 27, 1945, some pockets of resistance were cleared up in Magalang. In the same day, the entire battle lines of Mabalacat-Magalang defense line was secured by the 2nd Battalion. They setup they quarters in barrio San Roque with the help of 1st Battalion. A skirmish between the 1st Battalion and retreating Japanese happened in barrio San Jose, The 1st Battalion managed to kill eighteen Japanese soldiers and destroyed fifteen tanks. The Japanese forces retreated to the nearby town of Mexico. Thus, Magalang was liberated by the Americans. Antonio P. Tiglao was appointed new mayor of Magalang by the restored Commonwealth government. 

Photo Credits:



Bartolo, Louie Aldrin L. and Dizon, Lino L., The Magalang Book: The Historical Life and Culture of a Kapampangan Town (1605-2015), Manila, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, pages 69-72. 


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