February 5, 2023

BONTOC, Mountain Province – Tour operators, tourism college instructors and students, history aficionados, and tourism stakeholders in the Cordillera visited Camp Lt. Geronimo F. Montes on Dec. 20, 2022 as part of the Department of Tourism’s Cordillera World War II Historical Journey.

The program kicked off with a wreath laying in the bust of Lt. Geronimo F. Montes at the police provincial headquarters here.

The Cordillera World War II Historical Journey aims to showcase the region’s historic and touristic wartime sites to highlight the uncommon valor displayed by the Igorots in defense of the country.

Police Provincial Director Col. Sibly P. Dawiguey, Jr., represented by Col. Crisante P. Sadino, said the inclusion of Camp Montes in the Cordillera World War II Historical Journey brings pride not only to the uniformed personnel but also to the community of Mountain Province.

“The inclusion of our camp in your patriotic and noble advocacy in promoting our own heroes through the launching of the Cordillera World War II Journey indeed brings pride and honor not only for the uniformed personnel, but most especially for the whole community of Montanyosa and the whole Igorot tribe,” he said.

Sadino added the activity will finally unveil the unsung valor of the Igorot warriors who died defending the country during WWII. 

Tour Director Karlo Altomonte said the Cordillera World War II Historical Journey aimed to showcase the region’s historic and touristic wartime sites to highlight the uncommon valor displayed by the Igorots in defense of our motherland.

It also aimed to reignite love for country by immersing visitors in unforgettable experiences that can only be found in the Cordillera, and to correct or even erase a lot of misconceptions about the Igorot people which are really prevalent in today’s society.

Provincial Administrator Franklin C. Odsey, representing Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan Jr., stressed on the importance of history.

Lt. Geronimo F. Montes was the eldest of five children to parents Kep-kep-as (father) and Agkopa (mother) from Samoki, Bontoc, Mountain Province. Baptized by the Belgian missionaries with the surname “Montes,” which means “living in the mountains”, he died on June 4, 1945 while leading his men at Wakalan, Bontoc, Mountain Province to oppose the advancing Japanese forces towards Tocucan and Kalinga.  

For his bravery and sacrifice, the Mountain Province Police Provincial Office was named after him through Republic Act 10534 authored by then Rep. Maximo B. Dalog, Sr. and signed on May 15, 2013.

The activity was also attended by history advocate/media specialist Bernard Supetra, representing DOT-CAR Director Jovita Ganongan, local media, and the men and women of the Mountain Province Police Provincial Office. – Valerie Taguba