March 18 is annually observe Victory Day to commemorate the liberation of the islands of Panay, Guimaras and Romblon and the sacrifices and valor of the Free Panay Guerilla Forces.
A marker from the National Historical Commission was installed along with the busts of Gen. M Peralta Jr., Ge. D. McArthur and Col. J. Chaves at the center of the The World War II Panay Landing Memorial at Barangay Parara Sur.
The commemoration program is held at the Balantang Memorial Cemetery National Shrine in Barangay Quintin Salas, Jaro, Iloilo City.
Liberation of Panay is a public holiday in the islands of Panay, Guimaras and Romblon. This is an annual event that commemorates the landing on Panay during the Battle of the Visayas in World War II.
Victory Day in the Islands of Panay and Romblon
Proclamation No. 430, s. 1989 is “An Act Declaring March 18 of every year as Victory Day in the Islands of Panay and Romblon including the cities of Iloilo and Roxas”. Then-President Corazon Aquino, declared the eighteenth day of March of every year as Victory Day in the Islands of Panay and Romblon, including the cities of Iloilo and Roxas.
“Panay guerrillas harassed, sabotaged and decimated the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces in the islands of Panay and Romblon throughout World War II in the name of country, freedom, and democracy.”
– part of Proclamation No. 430
History of Panay Landing
December 8, 1941. Empire of Japan attacked the American colony of the Philippines. They defeated the combined American and Philippine forces. This was the beginning of nearly 4 years of Japanese occupation.
October 20, 1944. The American and Filipino forces led by General Douglas MacArthur landed on Leyte during the Battle of Leyte. They liberated the island of Leyte and begin the successful Philippines campaign of 1944–1945.
March 18, 1945. The Battle of the Visayas began with the Allied landing at Tigbauan, Iloilo on Panay.
Liberation of Panay Marker
The World War II Panay Landing Memorial is located at Barangay Parara Sur. This is the mark of the spot where American troops from the 40th Infantry Division landed on March 18, 1945. This is where the liberation of Panay Island began.
Panay Liberation Marker reads:
On these shores landed 18 March 1945 the 40th Infantry Division, 8th U.S. Army under Major General Rapp Brush. The Filipino forces under Colonel Macario Peralta Jr., met them and jointly started operations for liberation of Panay Island.
Liberation of Panay Celebration in Iloilo City
The main ceremony is held at Balantang Memorial Cemetery National Shrine. This is located at Barangay Quintin Salas, Jaro, Iloilo City. This is a veterans’ cemetery and the burial place of the guerrilla leader Colonel Macario Peralta.
Balantang Memorial Cemetery National Shrine is the only military cemetery established outside Metro Manila. Lastly, this is the venue of the bloodiest battle between Filipino guerrilla forces and the Japanese Imperial forces.