By Mortz C. Ortigoza
The first time I saw my military father ready to die for the motherland or probably for my mother, I was in Grade 5 in M’lang, Cotabato Province.
He was then on a soldier’s pass when he brought me and my kindergarten brother Gabriel to a rickety worn out wood walled barbershop which, I still remember, was owned by the father of my playmates Stephen and Toto Felipe.The latter, a rugged boy, had fisticuffs with me, but that’s another story.
|My father Retired Air Force Lieutenant Marcelo Cruz Ortigoza, Sr. |
Papa was probably the
most pro- United States’ soldier. When we lived at the Philippine Military Academy, Baguio
City in the early 1970s I saw him bought and crowed his U.S made fatigue uniform, duffel
bag, charol black shoes, and boots from stores in Quiapo selling Yanks made soldiers’
When we were seating at the worn-out barber couch elevated by small wood boxes to raise our heads, some peasant women running and shouting with their lungs out that the Black Shirts (precursor of the Moro National Liberation Front) were already at the periphery of the Peñaranda Hospital.
The hospital was more than a kilometer away from us.
Immediately my father told the frail looking barber Mr.Felipe to forego our military white style wall haircut (that I detested because I envied the mop haired Beatles) because he had to secure us and promised to return with his weapon and later with us whose side of the heads were already shaved just like those plebes at the Philippine Military Academy where my siblings and I were born.