In 2012, Caveat—along with dear departed movie writer and native of Candaba, Pampanga Cesar Pambid—covered the inauguration of the 70th anniversary of the heroism of Wa-Chi (Squadron 48), a group of young Chinese volunteer fighters who fought side by side with Filipino guerillas during World War 2 with Candaba as their main base.
At said event, a new school building was turned over by the descendants of Wa-Chi guerillas as an expression of gratitude to the community that helped shield them from the invading Japanese forces.
A testimony from journalist and grand nephew of one Wa-Chi soldier Kendrick Chua related that in China his uncle’s name along with the rest of the Wa-Chi guerillas are enthroned in an official plaque that read “Hero’s Family.”
On record, in the three years of fighting alongside fellow Filipino guerillas, the Wa-Chi have fought over 200 battles, killed over 2,000 enemy troops and lost over 70 of their own men.
Fortuitously, a group of Filipino-Chinese taipans have banded together to come out with a movie project that will partly show the long history of friendship based on the notion of equality mutually shared by Filipinos and Chinese even long before the Spaniards came to our shores.
Set against the composite narratives of Chinese guerillas in World War 2, the film is co-written by award-winning screenwriter (Bilangin Mo Ang Mga Bituin Sa Langit) and movie director Jigz Recto with whom Caveat had collaborated with in several theater and film projects in the past to the present time. The most recent was the film about the good and bad side of multi-level marketing billed Upline Downline.
Caveat is Recto’s co-writer as well in the filming of the war saga taking off at Binondo, the oldest Chinatown in the world to the marshlands of Candaba to the main fortress at Fort Santiago.
Incidentally, the brilliant idea of translating onscreen the gallantry of the Wa-Chi soldiers originally came from director William Mayo, the current president of the Movie Directors Guild of the Philippines.
Inspired to direct the heroic exploits of Wa-Chi guerilla soldiers, he lost no time in broaching the idea to Filipino-Chinese investors who positively welcomed the project with enthusiasm. They have in mind the Chinese population scattered all over the world as target audiences.
Tentatively billed Wa-Chi (Squadron 48), the project is now in pre-production handled by Mayo’s son Jerome, a veteran in production management.
Mayo has creditable track record in handling war and action-packed film projects which he did several times with Regal and Viva Films. He directed the mammoth Lito Lapid-starrer Lapu-Lapu, an MMFF entry in the past.
In time for the Asean Summit, Mayo hopes to bring the film in-progress in the coming international filmfest in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as tribute to the Filipino Chinese warriors who fought and died for our country during the Japanese occupation.