More than 70 years later, F.T. Marquez can still remember the color of the dress that his friend wore when he arrived at her home while fleeing from the Japanese: dark blue.
F.T. Marquez, a retired advertising professor at Temple, and his wife, Ely Javillonar Marquez, co-wrote “Childhood Memories of a War-Torn Philippines,” which was published in February and chronicles their accounts of growing up in two separate parts of the Philippines during World War II.
“We thought it would be a good idea to write what we can remember,” F.T. said. “Retirement time is a good time to reflect on the past and write it out.”
The co-authors have two different experiences of the same Japanese occupation in their country. Ely said her northern village, San Fernando, did not have nearly as many problems with the Japanese as Bacolod City, where F.T. grew up.
The couple met while they studied English at the University of the Philippines. Ely graduated in 1955 and F.T. graduated in 1956. Later, they came to the United States together and studied at the University of Wisconsin at Madison for graduate school.
F.T. said the setting of the book was “a very exciting period in [his] childhood.” He thought their personal accounts of the war would be interesting to historians and soldiers who fought in the Philippines.
Ely said the couple’s account of living in the Philippines during World War II is something that “you don’t find in the textbooks.”
In the book, F.T. was able to recount nearly every detail from his childhood in the Philippines — even the weather from days when he was eight years old. He described the morning the Japanese ships docked near his home as “picturesque.”
F.T. returned to Bacolod City in 2015, but said it was difficult for him to recognize.
Some of the streets where American troops marched looked familiar to F.T., but many of the buildings have changed since the American troops left in November 1945.
F.T.’s fondest memory from the wartime was when American soldiers stayed in his old school house and played movies every Saturday night for the kids in his village.
“After the war, I became some kind of a movie addict,” F.T. said. “I think I got this addiction from watching the movies that the American soldiers showed in my elementary school.”
F.T. said they benefitted from being able to speak with each other and review each other’s work.
“He stays in his part of the house to write and I stay in my part of the house,” Ely said.
Michael Maynard, a professor of advertising who worked with F.T. during his time at Temple, said it was no surprise when he learned F.T. wrote a book that was about “something that’s closer to his heart, his background.”
Maynard added that F.T. was a natural leader and a loyal faculty member during his time at Temple.
“He’s very much of a gentleman, very sensitive to other people’s opinions,” Maynard said. “We looked to him as a spiritual leader of the group.”
F.T. taught at Temple from 1977 to 2007.
“One does not stay in a place for three decades unless the person likes and enjoys what he is doing, and that is how I feel being at Temple,” F.T. said.
F.T. added that he wanted to be a writer since he studied English at the University of the Philippines, and writing is the “common denominator of all the studies that [he has] done” in English, advertising and marketing.
F.T. said writing the memoir was “therapeutic.”
“It’s an experience that wants to come out, something that’s been bottled up all these years,” F.T. said. “Writing the experience let go of some pent-up emotions.”
Devon Lamb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.