February 6, 2023

More than a decade after acquiring from a medal collector in Manila, local historian and Ambuclao National High School teacher Muller H. Bato turned over to the immediate family last week a United States-issued medal awarded to the late Julio A. Bolislis “for honorable service while a Prisoner of War (POW)” during World War II.
Bolislis was one of the survivors of the Death March from Bataan to San Fernando, Pampanga.
Without any condition whatsoever, Bato wholeheartedly turned over the historic medal to the awardee’s eldest daughter, Emerita Bolislis-Ebes, after he contacted Atty. Jurgenson Lagdao and two other members of the Bolislis clan whom he searched and get acquainted with through Facebook.
“It’s been more than a decade that this medal is in my possession which I acquired from a medal collector in Manila I knew years ago. How the medal came into him was unknown. I heard the person died four years ago. So, there are no other information available,” said Bato, who is also a grandson of a WWII guerilla.
“I became inte-rested to purchase it since the family name is familiar. My maternal roots trace back in Kapangan too. I am a grandson of a WWII guerilla. I understand the feeling of losing very important family memorabilia,” he said.
As a gesture of gratitude, the Bolislis family gave a certificate of appreciation to Bato saying “his commendable acts will be best remembered with lifetime gratitude.”
According to documented account, Bolislis from Kibungan and Kapangan, Benguet was a first sergeant of the 11th Division, Philippine Army, United States Armed Forces in the Far East or Usaffe that bravely took part in the defense of Bataan in 1942.
After surviving the Death March, Bolislis rejoined the guerilla movement in Benguet against the Japanese invaders.
His family recalled that he often narrated his war exploits, as “he wanted to put forward the age-old lesson that people should sweat hard for peace rather than shed blood in war.” – Macarthy B. Malanes