‘Liberation’ bells mark how Sta. Ana was spared
Residents of Sta. Ana, Manila, on Saturday marked the 70th anniversary of the city’s liberation from Japanese forces, with a Marian procession and pealing of the bells which, on Feb. 10, 1945, announced the coming of American troops in the riverside district.
Organized by the Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish, the celebration had civic groups marching from the Kalentong side of Lambingan Bridge to the Sta. Ana side. Parishioner Ernie Panis said the activity commemorated the arrival of US troops, who then used pontoon bridges to cross the Pasig River since Lambingan was already blown up by the Japanese.
“Historical accounts say the sound of the bells was heard as far as what is now Roxas Boulevard because the rest of Manila was virtually flattened [by the bombings],” he added.
One of the altar boys who rang the church bells is Ramon Tabuena, now a 79-year-old businessman. He was only 9 years old when the Americans came, and he remembered the people’s jubilation at the sight of the marching GIs.
“The priest then, Fr. Miguel, ordered us to ring the bells,” Tabuena recalled. “In the streets, people were dancing with joy, forming V-signs and asking the soldiers for cigarettes and food.”
By that time, “the Japanese had set fire to Intramuros, Paco, Ermita, Malate, Pandacan, San Andres and other districts. Sta. Ana was supposed to be next, but the Americans arrived just in time to stop the threat,” Panis recalled.
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