For today’s Museum From Home series in celebration of Philippine Veterans Week, let’s memorialize the gallantry of Boholano guerillas who bravely engaged with Japanese troops against overwhelming odds in the historic Battle of Ubujan.
The incident took place on October 22, 1942, shortly after the local guerillas’ clash at Moalong. The triumph in the Battle of Moalong fueled the fame and confidence in the leadership of Capt. Vicente T. Cubero, popularly known to this day by his alias Capt. Francisco Salazar.
So much so that barely a month later the Capt. Salazar staged another daring operation against the invading forces, along with his lieutenants, namely Vicente K. Nunag, Jr., Bienvenido S. Gementiza, and Valentin Polan. Absent during the encounter was another prominent guerilla leader and close aide of Salazar, Lt. Juan Relampagos (or Lt. Rogers) who was carrying out orders to secure classified documents.
Initially, an area near the Abatan River was chosen as a perfect site for an ambush. The lack of movement in enemy troops however may have pushed Salazar to move his men to Ubujan Daku, along a bend on the road, about three kilometers from the Japanese garrison in Tagbilaran.
The Resistance Fighters engaged three truckloads of Japanese soldiers in a battle that lasted for hours. Eighty-nine Japanese soldiers perished while fifteen Filipinos lost their lives. Capt. Salazar was among those who made their ultimate sacrifice that day.
A snippet of this intense moment in history was captured in an undated, oil-on-wood painting. Capt. Salazar can be seen standing on the left, armed with a Pinuti and a pistol. The bus in the painting bears the mark B.L.T. Co. which stands for Bohol Land Transportation Company, known to locals as the “Boholan Bus.”