Huge quantities of gold and other booty were plundered from conquered Asian nations by the Japanese during World War II. Most of this wealth remains unrecovered in the Philippine Islands despite many recovery attempts in the past quarter century involving the investment of many millions of dollars by professional treasure salvors and other opportunists. Exact location of many of the treasure sites is difficult. Only a few individuals have authentic Japanese maps, eye-witnesses are few in number and not always reliable, and the terrain and forest cover have changed drastically since Word War II. The Japanese also buried their stolen loot deeply and securely in huge tunnels and underground fastnesses sealed behind carefully concealed and booby-trapped entrances. (See The Marcos Dynasty, by Sterling Seagrave, Harper and Row, 1988)
In 1991 I took a survey trip to the Philippines to see how well Ground-Penetrating radar would work there in search of some of the treasures of "Yamashita's Gold." Mount Pinatubo was erupting at the time of that trip so I had the privilege of driving within a few miles of the volcano while whole villages were still being buried nearby under ash like snow from a blizzard.
In 1994 I made two additional trips to the Islands to work for the Dean of all Philippines treasure salvors, Bob Curtis. Geologist Steve Connelly went with me on the first trip and Cartologist Ken Fenton on the second. Both trips were lots of fun, but involved radar surveying in wet, muddy underground tunnels.
After that Bob was inactive for sometime because of cholera and dengue fever but has now returned to excavate a new site under new financial sponsorship. So he invited me to bring my radar and visit in May of this year. The trip extended for 3 weeks.
The Philippines are lush and tropical, being not far North of the equator. The weather is hot and humid---sort of like 100 degrees and 100% humidity most of the time, and then rain. Manila traffic is horrendous---it takes hours to cross town by taxi or limousine. So we stayed at a resort hotel, near the field site.
The Philippine people are kind, gentle, polite, friendly and hard working. Many are Christians. They say "sir" and are eager to be of all possible help. Their family values are high for the most part and they become loyal and wonderful friends after a short time. As usual, a visit to a third world country is a lesson in how far downhill spiritual and social life has fallen in America. "God has chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love Him."
My friend Jospeh Gatto had loaded up my duffle bags with New Testaments and Bibles and when I passed them out to the the working crew at the job site they were all delighted and appreciative.
I like working with Bob because he is a colorful old-time Philippine gold hunter---the best in the business, and the most knowledgeable. His real life true stories are available on Internet and there is more to come. To get a feeling for this kind of adventure see http://lvcybermall.com/book/ and also, http://members.aol.com/curgold/index.html
I am home now, jet lagged a bit, but it was a great trip, loads of fun. There is never a dull moment when Jesus has free reign in one's life! "I came," he said", "that you might have (real) life and have it more abundantly."
11 June 1999
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