Monday, May 30, 2011


Even before I left, a friend of a friend (as soon as she found out about my travels to the Philippines) asked me to look for the grave or the cemetery where her grandfather was buried and pay respects on her behalf. I didn't know how to react to it. How am I supposed to find it? I didn't hesitate, and say yes knowing that it would mean alot to her. She only gave me two information, his name--Ernest Wade and Corregidor.  He was killed in the Philippines during the last years of the Second World War.

During the whole duration of the trip, I kept my promise and his name in my head, and I wasn't going to come back home without locating the location of his remains or at least an answer where his resting place could be. Since my friend told me about Corregidor, I made sure that this island was in my itinerary.

I remember going to Corregidor with the confident that I would find it there. Looked everywhere, and even asked the tour guide if there is even such thing in the island. I learned that most of the bodies were moved to Manila American Memorial and Cemetery in Fort Bonifacio/Global City in Metro Manila. It was a relief knowing that there is a possibility of finding his grave.

As soon as I got back to the city, I hopped in a taxi cab and went to Manila American Memorial and Cemetery. The cemetery is strictly guarded, but it is open to public everyday between 9 am to 5 pm. You need to be respectful and dress appropriately before going in there--no sandals. The place is clean, quiet, and very peaceful. There are thousands upon thousands of perfectly aligned white marble headstones placed over each US and Philippine personnel as well as those of other allied nations who lost their lives for our freedom during the Second World War. The cemetery is a great remembrance and memorial in honor of those brave soldiers who died for peace.

Upon arriving, I was told by the guards to check the visitors center if I had questions. So I went in there and asked this lovely lady that I was looking for the grave of Ernest Wade. My heart was pounding to the beat of each keystroke. Will I be able to find his grave? I didn't know what I was feeling. And then, the lady comes out and tells me that Lt Commander Ernest Wade remains were never uncovered. He was either Missing in Action or Buried at Sea. He died on January 21, 1945, seven months before the liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese. He doesn't have a headstone, but his name is listed on the walls of the missing.

It's a shame really not knowing what happened to his body...

And then, there it is...his name.

I stood there for a few minutes, looking at his name reflecting and thanking him for what he's done for the country.

Coming back from Corregidor and then seeing this, I just couldn't imagine what mankind is capable of doing...I guess it's just something I could never understand.

Thanks for Protecting our Freedom
Lt Commander Ernest Wade
May You Rest In Peace.


  1. I'd like to read the content of your blog. This happened when I have read the "About Me" part. I think I would get lots of pointers and help from your content and might consider budget backpacking with you. However, I find it's too hard to read on your posts because of the font color you used and the background of your blog. Can you please consider changing them so that visitors to your blog can read through your articles. Hope you don't mind. I only want to read your content, please. Thank you very much, sir.


  2. Really enjoyed this article. My great uncle, Lt. Commander Edmund Billings is memorialized on the same wall; he was killed aboard the USS Quincy off Guadalcanal in 1942.

    I found this while looking up Lieutenant Commander Wade for an article on my site, Doctor Wade (as the Marines called him) was attached to the 4th Marine Regiment at Corregidor. According to the memoir "I Am Alive!" by Sgt. Major Charles Jackson, Dr. Wade was adored by the men he treated in captivity. He was also a Silver Star recipient for his gallantry in action.

    Towards the end of 1944, Dr. Wade was confined aboard a "hell ship" called the Oryoku Maru, which was bombed and sunk by American aircraft (not realizing there were prisoners aboard). Dr. Wade survived this attack only to be confined with hundreds of others on an open tennis court in the Philippines with no shelter or facilities. He was then loaded onto the Brazil Maru for shipment to labor in Japan, but did not survive this journey. Very likely he was buried at sea. This journal kept by one of his men mentions his death.

    Thank you for taking the time to visit this cemetery. I've helped with four potential identifications for unknown Marines buried there (awaiting action from JPAC) and hope to go myself someday, to see their names added to their graves and pay my respects to my great uncle.