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The World War II Museum: Valencia, Negros Oriental Sep 21, 2010

The World War II Museum: Valencia, Negros Oriental

Constantino "Tantin" Cata-al
Constantino Cata-al, or Tantin as he is commonly called, has been foraging the foothills of Mount Talinis as a young grade schooler in Valencia, Negros Oriental. Often times, he would find surviving relics from World War II - Japanese bones, ammunition, firearms, bombs, grenades, uniforms, etc. He would painstakingly collect these historial artifacts as a hobby that extends to this present day. Mount Talinis has been the batttle ground that saw the Japanese's last stand against the combined Filipino-American might during the last days of the war. Todate, he has amassed an extensive collection not just of Japanese war artifacts, but American as well. For the sheer size of his collection, only half can be displayed in the 1st floor of his residence which acts as the mini museum.

Priceless
Among his prized collections are the still-viable morphine vials. He also has a genuine katana (Japanese samurai) that has been authenticated by an American katana collector. He showed me his collection of silver dollars from a wreck in Corregidor, very rare and classified American manuals for firearm operations, etc.

The World War II Museum: Valencia, Negros Oriental

Voracious Reader
Tantin is not just a collector. He's a voracious reader of World War II books. In his many narratives, he would quote names, dates, places and events that defy memory. When I would press him for more details, he would pull out a book or a literature from his archive and show me where he lifted the information from. He is a wealth of little-known events about the war. Events that have been handed down to him by those who fought in the mountains. Sometimes, the stories would be handed to him by the grown children of the war vets who've passed on.

Cremating the Bones
The Japanese government is in contact with him. Whenever his discovered Japanese bones reach a count of 10, he informs the Japanese liaison and someone would make the trip from Japan just to cremate the bones. Some few surviving veterans would show up and tell him stories of what took place up in the mountain of Talinis. Slowly though, these war vets are passing on one by one.

Future Plans
When I asked him what he planned to do with all these, he said he would like to find a buyer for the half of his collection so that he can build himself a museum to house the remaining half. I cannot agree more about having a museum to act as stewart for the future generations. Without that, and when Tantin is gone, the future of these relics from the past remain uncertain.

Filipino-American-Japanese Amity Shrine
To commemorate the fierce battle that took place on the foothills of Mount Talinis (the general area where Tantin found his artifacts), a shrine was erected on the precipice of a ridge overlooking Dumaguete and the Bohol Sea. It's aptly called the Filipino-American-Japanese Amity Shrine.

--- TheLoneRider

    How to get there from Dumaguete:
  • get a tricycle to take you to the Valencia jeep terminal. Before 6pm, the terminal is at Teves near corner Cervantes Sts. Beginning 6 pm, the terminal moves to Real corner Pinili St. P7.50 if just within the city.
  • board the Valencica-bound jeep and ask the driver to drop you off at the residence of Tantin for the World War II museum. It's along the Valencia-Dumaguete Highway (actually, it's just a regular paved road) 2 houses before you reach Legarda St. in Valencia. P12, 15 minutes
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Reader Comments:

Lito VitrioloLito Vitriolo
(Aug 16, 2017) Hello Tantin, I'm interested to look at your collection and perhaps I can get some advice on how to setup a small collection myself back here in Luzon. Pls. email me sometime (jdvitriolo3@gmail.com) and perhaps I can sked a visit to Dumaguete. Tnx

Julian SolerJulian Soler
(Apr 11, 2016) I have visited this place many times and he usually has something new salvaged from the mountains... Last time it was a Japanese fighter gas tank re-purposed to carry water for the soldiers that took to the mountains.

Robert RichterRobert Richter
(Oct 8, 2015) I saw a special on your collection on TV. It is amazing the condition of your collection. I am married to a Filipina and we currently live in the USA. However, we do own a home in laguna. I would very much like to visit your museum in the future. I share your interst in WW2 and especially the Philippines. My favorite place is Corregidor but I want to put your place on my list too. Hopefully we can meet down the road.

092110

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