Period pieces and a battle to boot


In broad daylight on a recent Saturday, two opposing forces clashed. Explosions and shots were exchanged and not too long after, military Jeeps started ferrying a�?woundeda�? soldiers.

JUST THE THING to deter a house break-in.

At first look, Fort Stotsenburg in this former US military base seemed to be hosting a real war, but what was actually going on meant to showcase the vintage Jeep loversa�� fraternity.

A reenactment of the Battle of Bataan was the highlight of the a�?Seasons Jeepingsa�? event, a gathering of the Military Vehicle Collectors Club of the Philippines (MVCCP) that was organized by Jeep body manufacturer MD Juan Enterprises, Inc. and the Mabalacat Tourism Office.

It involved some 30 restored military Jeeps, with the oldest dating back to 1942, and also gathered over a hundred enthusiasts, hobbyists and restorers — Filipinos and foreigners alike.

a�?We thought of staging a reenactment of the Battle of Bataan and told the participants to come in their original military uniforms,a�? said Rommel T. Juan, general manager of MD Juan Enterprises.

The reenactment was jointly staged by the Buhay na Kasaysayan and the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society Living History Company.

Part of the Battle of the Pockets was staged, showing the Japanese infiltration into Allied lines and a a�?banzaia�? charge into USAFFE (United Sates Armed Forces in the Far East) positions.

The a�?Allied Forcesa�? donned World War II khaki uniforms with actual M1928 and M1936 field gear, vintage M1917 and replicas of a�?Guinita�? helmets, while the a�?Japanese forcesa�? were similarly clothed with period uniforms, field equipment and gear.

Albert C. Labrador, a member of the Philippine Scouts, said Jeeps played an important role during World War II.

a�?The Jeep was born as a utility vehicle for military forces in 1941. The first time it was issued to the US army was in 1941,a�? said Mr. Labrador, who also wrote the script for the reenactment.

a�?So when the US army fought during the Battle of Bataan, Jeeps provided different support, for transport and as first aid vehicles. The Jeeps were definitely used,a�? he added.

a�?The Jeep comes in different forms nowadays. Of course the most iconic is the public utility jeep. It has evolved, but it still has the same functionality. Ita��s still doing the same for general transport.a�?

After the reenactment, Jeep restorers showed pride in displaying their vehicles, painstakingly rebuilt by owners who had invested time in searching for parts.

For Obet L. Tiangco, restoring a 1942 Willys was a means of honoring his late grandfather, who fought in World War II.

a�?That Jeep was originally owned by my grandfather who was a war veterana�� that car has historical value. You cannot swap that with a new car,a�? he said.

Mr. Tiangco also brought his Willys Kennedy 1060 that was used in the Vietnam War.

History aside, restoring Jeeps can also be a profitable business, former MVCCP President Nestor O. Guevarra said.

a�?Ita��s a hobby, at the same time business. Actually, I already sold 11 units. At present, I have two running and Ia��m building four,a�? Mr. Guevarra said, adding that he has been refurbishing vintage Jeeps since 1991.

a�?The restoration would cost you around P300,000-P400,000, but you have to invest a lot of time,a�? he said, noting that it would sometimes take two to three years to complete a restoration.

For those with a more modern bent, the event also featured the latest Jeep models such as the Wrangler and the Grand Cherokee, showcasing the evolution of the utility vehicle.

a�?Jeeps will always stay, in different formsa�� because it is already intertwined with our culture,a�? Mr. Guevarra said. –A� C. H. C. Venzon antivert shipping where to buy omnicef



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