Clark Museum: A US Trophy Museum

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At PHP35, you can enter the Trophy Museum. I call the Clark Museum as such because it has the aura of a Trophy Museum. In fact, it is a great mistake to call it Kapampangan Museum because I don’t believe the evolution of Pampanga only revolves around, by and for the US Base and the Americans. Admittedly, this museum located at Clark, Pampanga is constructed for the purpose of elating the US Base in the Philippines.

Its first section features the Aetas: their dislocation in 1902 when US soldiers came, their assimilation for US “jungle war training” and their disintegration in the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption. The controversy behind the 2nd largest volcanic eruption in the world is that it happened five months before the second turnover of Clark to the Philippines by the US army with people’s demand for the US bases to junk the US-Philippine mutual military agreement and for the US base to finally leave the country. For the original settlers, the Aetas, they call this very place where Subic-Clark is situated as Ubatod (literally, place of origin). I think it’s time for the government to give back to the Aetas their ancestral abode Ubatod. A change in name is a good start. Land distribution to the Aetas is another.

The portion, Pati: the Discovery narrates the siege of Angeles town proper by Katipuneros of Pati, Sitio Mangga, Barrio Sapang Bato.

The rest of the museum displays photos, posters, dioramas and artifacts from World War II up to the 20th century. Some clippings feature Filipino workers in the base. The last portion displays paintings of farmers and vendors by Cesar Buenaventura as well as other works donated by collector Ariella Nasser Moskovitz.

Nowhere in the museum did it say something about the famous abandoned hospital whose dilapidated structure stands inside the Clark compound. We trooped to the hospital and from afar through our service jeepney window, one can already smell war and death. The guard said the hospital was built in World War II and was used to rehabilitate injured and sick US soldiers flown from Vietnam. In fact, its underground serves as morgue and burial of US soldiers. The hospital was constructed in Philippine site on lease and the US government just abandoned it by not paying rent to the Philippine government. Not far from the hospital, is a commercial version of a memorial site for US soldiers and their dogs. Imagine Egypt and their slaves buried alive as their Kings and Queens die.

Also, nowhere in the museum did it say something about the 50,000 Amerasian children left behind by American soldiers. Now in three generations, the unforgotten children remain unrecognized by the American government despite the unhidden genetical mystery in the children’s features. The museum has no update too on current US military presence in the Philippines through Balikatan exercises and guises of humanitarian missions in Philippine islands.

Of course, the museum wasn’t meant for public apology of American war atrocities and colonization.#

About Joanna Lerio

cultural journalist, multidisciplinary artist, educator, traveller, dreamer, yogini, vegetarian, advocate
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