Spanish family’s Battle of Manila ordeal

The tragedy that befell a non-interned Spanish family is detailed a recent El País article titled Anna Maria: The Spaniard who survived 16 bayonet wounds during the Battle of Manila.

The 28 August 2020 article, by José Manuel Abad Liñán, begins:

“Anna Maria’s first life began in Cebu City in the Philippines on August 23, 1938. That was the day she was brought into the world by her mother Aurora, the daughter of two Catalans from Cerdanyola del Vallès who had immigrated to the Philippines to work in copra, the dried kernel of the coconut which is used in soaps and oils. Her father, Plácido Antonio, had left Onda in the Spanish province of Castellón to work for the prosperous General Tobacco Company of the Philippines (CdF), the first Spanish multinational. In the end, the family moved to Cavite, south of the capital Manila, where speaking Spanish did not clash so much with chabacano, the creole language spoken by the local population.”

Anna Maria Aguilella arriving in Barcelona in 1946

Anna Maria Aguilella arriving in Barcelona in 1946

At points, it is a very difficult story for me to read, because it echos what happened to my family during the Battle of Manila. In that instance, my mother and grandmother, together with their neighbors, were taken out of their homes in Manila by the Japanese to be shot. Luckily for them, and me, that didn’t happen. However, the outcome for Anna Maria’s family was far more tragic. I think that it is important to read for those who were inside, and outside of, the camps, showing the trauma that far outlasts the experience.

Link to the full article in El País.