Tale of Filipino bravery about to be told
By Vicki Viotti
Advertiser Staff Writer
Domingo Los Banos, Pearl City retiree and World War II veteran, figures there must be about 100 old soldiers who share his proud history but don't know there's a film that tells their story.
There were once 300 members of the regiments living in Hawai'i. Los Banos has a list of about 100, the roster from the regiments' Veterans of Foreign Wars post.
Another 100 veterans, he said, have died.
"One of the people we interviewed for the film, Orlando Valentin, died two weeks ago," Los Banos said. "That's why the search for their widows, too, is important."
The documentary was produced for PBS by filmmakers Stephanie Castillo of Honolulu and Noel "Sonny" Izon of Washington, D.C. It will air on PBS affiliates, including KHET, sometime in the spring, but a first screening will be at 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 4 at the Neal Blaisdell Center Concert Hall as part of the Hawaii International Film Festival.
Survivors are being sought to attend the premiere and a reception in their honor. Widows or their families also are invited to contact the filmmakers.
Castillo signed on to help with the project seven years ago, never realizing her own father was part of the 2nd Regiment and that her mother was brought home from the Philippines as a war bride.
"I looked at this and thought, 'Great Filipino story! We need to tell our history,' " Castillo said. "To find out my parents were part of this story was pretty amazing."
"An Untold Triumph," now undergoing final editing, is narrated by actor Lou Diamond Phillips, who is part Filipino. The film still is short of money, Castillo said: Producers are seeking grants to cover the remaining $60,000 of the $500,000 needed to finish it.
But Izon vowed to his father, another regimental veteran, that the story be told, Castillo said, and he is determined to finish it, even if he has to advance the money himself.
"He made this deathbed promise to his dad," she said, "so he's committed."
The film will tour the Neighbor Islands during the film festival, which starts Nov. 10, and screenings are set for Nov. 17 in Sacramento, Calif., and Jan. 30 at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
Regimental members, most of them teens when they were drafted or volunteered, received basic training at Schofield Barracks or on the Mainland before being assigned to assist Gen. Douglas MacArthur in retaking the Philippines from the Japanese.
Regimental members or their families can contact Domingo Los Banos of Pearl City, 456-2329, or at Lbdom@hotmail.com.
Jose Saromine 595-3099
Lucio Sanico 672-9833
Michael Mandac -- 668-7208
Thomas Otegero 455-8881
Behic Severino 621-6964
Gapol Geraldo 455-2105
Reach Vicki Viotti at firstname.lastname@example.org or 525-8053.