Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Headstone Replacement at Manila American Cemetery

Today, I was very privileged to have been invited by Operation Benjamin for the 2023 headstone replacement and memorial ceremony of Private First Class Ralph Greenstein, Private Harvey Mashatt, TEC5 Eugene Shore, Corporal Sam Cordova, and the Star of David headstone among the Unknown Soldiers. These young men were Jewish American soldiers who died during World War II and are buried here in the Philippines at the Manila American Cemetery.

Operation Benjamin is devoted to preserving the memories of American-Jewish soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice while defending the cause of freedom during World War II. Their aim is to locate Jewish personnel at American military cemeteries all over the world who, for various reasons, were buried under markers incorrectly representing their religion and heritage. Their mission is to correct these mistakes and provide, these many decades later, comfort to the families of the fallen. One resource they have are genealogists like myself who help establish the Jewish heritage of these soldiers.

(Top to Bottom) US Amb. Carlson, Israeli Amb. Fluss, and OB CEO Lamm

US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Loss Carlson, Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss, and Operation Benjamin CEO Shalom Lamm, all spoke about the purpose of the event and also mentioned and remembered how President Manuel L. Quezon saved many Jewish people during World War II by allowing them refuge in the Philippines. After the opening prelimaries, all the participants visited each of the burials and the the Latin Crosses which were erected their years ago were replaced with the Star of David. Traditional Jewish prayers were said and it was beautiful to hear the Mourner's Kaddish being recited by the guests.

Today's event was truly a very profound and wonderful experience I will never forget. Thank you, Operation Benjamin, for allowing me to participate in this moving ceremony.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Common Surnames of Pampanga

Unlike most provinces in the Philippines, many towns of Pampanga have indigenous common family names, although province-wide the top 10 surnames are still Spanish in form. Here are the most common family names of Pampanga and the most common per city and municipality.

Here are the top 10 most common last names in the province of Pampanga, Philippines:

     1. Santos

     2. David

     3. Garcia

     4. Dizon

     5. Pineda

     6. Reyes

     7. De La Cruz

     8. Mallari

     9. Ocampo

    10. Mendoza

Aside from these 10 most common in the province, here are the most common per town and city:

In the towns and cities of Magalang, Angeles City, Porac, Bacolor, and San Fernando, DAVID is the most common family name.

DIZON is most common in Mabalacat and Mexico.

SANTOS is most common in Floridablanca and Lubao.

GARCIA is most common in Arayat, Guagua, and Minalin.

MANANSALA is most common in Macabebe and Masantol.

Other most common surnames are DE LA CRUZ in CandabaTARUC in San Luis; SIMBULAN in San Simon; TORRES in Apalit; PINEDA in Santo TomasVALENCIA in Santa RitaMANINANG in Samsuan; and MALLARI in Santa Ana