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Mindoro: The Stepping Stone – Book Launching of the Newest WWII History Book


Rodolfo Meim Acebes is not an ordinary writer and the book he wrote is a very special book about WWII in the Philippines. He is a 66-year-old paraplegic writer who has been “nailed to his bed” for almost 27 years now after an accident in 1988 where he broke his lumbar spine (L7 and L8). His permanent half-body paralysis forced him to retire from his job as a government employee at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). He returned to his hometown in Mindoro.   


While in Mindoro, he later got into writing despite being unable to sit up straight.  (He used the typewriter sideways while in bed and persevered despite a difficult position.) Acebes discovered his passion for writing and became a contributor for various local and international newspapers and magazines.


Write the author.


Eventually, he started writing about stories of World War II from his hometown in San Jose, Mindoro. He also diligently researched and interviewed war veterans, particularly those who survived the Bataan Death March. He discovered a lot of facts and information about the war which happened right there in Mindoro and he wrote these things in his book. Mindoro has a very important role in the liberation of the Philippines in 1945 and yet its significance has not been emphasised in most history books. When the US eliminated the Japanese forces in Mindoro (1944), they were able to establish airfields which were in fighter range of Lingayen Gulf (in northern Luzon). In summary, Mindoro served as an advantage for the US troops to enter Luzon which was essential in their series of liberating operations during that time. Mindoro was also a shortcut of General Douglas MacArthur to Tokyo.


“With Mindoro in my hands, only the island bastions of Okinawa and Iwo Jima stand between America and Japan.”
–– General Douglas MacArthur


The book of Acebes is titled “Mindoro: The Stepping Stone” and it took over 10 years to finish. Last week, on the 21st of June 2016, the book was launched in Ayala Museum, Makati City. Acebes was present in his own book launching.





“Despite his physical disability for the last 27 years, Rodolfo Meim Acebes has penned numerous books, publications and articles manifesting his encyclopedic knowledge on local history, ranking him as a historian par excellence.


During the 100th year celebration of the founding of the township of San Jose on May 1, 2010, the author was awarded the San Jose Builders Award by the San Jose Centennial Commission, for his commitment to write the untold contribution played by the province of Mindoro, in the struggle for freedom from the Japanese rule during the last war.”
 Spyron-AV Manila


Here is the audiovisual presentation created by Director Bani Logroño of the award-winning “Unsurrendered 2: The Hunters ROTC Guerrillas”




For almost 27 years, Rodolfo Acebes has been nailed to his bed due to an accident that caused paralysis of half of his body. He has been residing in his hometown in Mindoro ever since. Through the help of many good people, he was able to travel from Mindoro to Makati City to attend his own book launching.


During the event, there was a program with Mr. Mike VillaReal as the Master of the Ceremonies. He is the Vice President of Philippine Veterans Bank, CorpComm. The welcome address was delivered by Col. Ruel T. Maranan, President of the Ayala Foundation. Top historian from the University of the Philippines, Dr. Ricardo T. Jose gave a short lecture — “Mindoro On A Perspective”. The book was presented by Mr. Nonilo C. Cruz, President and COO of Philippine Veterans Bank. An inspirational talk and speech was given by the former president of the Republic of the Philippines, His Excellency, General Fidel V. Ramos. The author, Mr. Rodolfo Meim Acebes was introduced by Mr. Lucky Guillermo, Managing Director of Spyron-AV Manila. An inspiring audio-visual presentation was shown to tell the story of the author and how he came about writing this book about Mindoro. The presentation was created by Director Bani Logroño of the award-winning “Unsurrendered 2: The Hunters ROTC Guerrillas”


Present during the book launching where writers, TV journalists, history enthusiasts and more. World War II veteran and member of the Hunters ROTC Guerrillas, Mr. Proculo L. Mojica was also present along with some of the sons and daughters of the Hunters ROTC Guerrillas. #Unsurrendered2



Mr. Rod Acebes with former president Gen. Fidel V. Ramos


The Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Effie Ben Matityau, was a guest of honour. Although he did not deliver a speech, he took time to answer questions and share stories with the media and writers. Expatch was able to ask the Ambassador one question. I asked him, “What do you like most about the Philippines?” He said he likes the people.♡


Overall, it was a very educational and inspiring book launching.





(Far left) Julian Cirineo of ANC (ABS-CBN News) and Expatch writer (far right) during the meeting with the press for Rodolfo Meim Acebes.



(Left to right) Col. Ruel T. Maranan, President of Ayala Foundation | His Excellency Effie Ben Matityau, Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines | Kristin Kneedler, U.S. Embassy Cultural Attaché | Lucky Guillermo, Managing Director of Spyron-AV Manila, a film company with an advocacy for historical education



On the front row, His Excellency Effie Ben Matityau, Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines and  Kristin Kneedler, U.S. Embassy Cultural Attaché



Two writers: (Left) Mr. Proculo L. Mojica is a World War II veteran and member of the Hunters ROTC Guerrillas (1942-1945), one of the first guerrilla resistance movements against the Japanese during WWII. He is also the author of the book “Terry’s Hunters” containing memoirs of war and their life as the young Hunters ROTC Guerrillas. (Right) Author, Mr. Rodolfo Meim Acebes #SaluteToHeroes #Unsurrendered2


“Mindoro: The Stepping Stone” is a beautiful book that tells the story of heroism, sacrifices, bravery and liberation of the Philippines. The life of the writer himself is also a story of such calibre as we can all find inspiration from his courage, perseverance, patriotism and passion for writing for the sake of historical education. Knowing about the history of the Philippines is important to both Filipinos and foreigners living in the Philippines. World War II history in particular is an important chapter in Philippine history as Professor Bernard Karganilla of University of the Philippines mentioned that “Our history is a history of victory.”


“Mindoro: The Stepping Stone” is now available at the Ayala Museum Book Store and Solidaridad!

This book launching is made possible by the Philippine Veterans Bank, Forerunner Technologies Inc., The Music Source, Cover and Pages Corporation, Morning Star Montessori School, Inc. – Los Baños, and Ayala Foundation, Inc.



1. Atty. Horex Mauricio, son of WWII veteran Jimmy Mauricio of the Hunters ROTC Guerrillas
2. Dr. Ricardo Jose, historian, University of the Philippines
3. Mr. Lucky Guillermo, Managing Director of Spyron-AV Manila who organised this event
4. His Excellency, General Fidel V. Ramos, former president of the Philippines
5. Kristin Kneedler, U.S. Embassy Cultural Attaché  |  His Excellency Effie Ben Matityau, Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines
6., 7., 8. The author, Mr. Rodolfo M. Acebes giving autograph and meeting the press
9. Mr. Proculo L. Mojica (writer and WWII veteran, member of the Hunters ROTC Guerrillas) with his daughters Kathleen and Eileen
10. Historian Dr. Ricardo Jose | Desiree Ann Cua Benipayo and Mario Abad Santos Benipayo of Forerunner Technologies, Inc. | David Ingles, son of WWII veteran Col. Gustavo C. Ingles of the Hunters ROTC Guerrillas
11. Mr. Nonilo C. Cruz, President and COO, Philippine Veterans Bank | Mr. Mike VillaReal, Vice President, PVB CorpComm | Mr. Lucky Guillermo, Managing Director of Spyron-AV Manila



Author: Marcelle Villegas
Photo source:
Spyron-AV Manila – Photographer: Blueroom Studio, Junim Bocalid and Mr. Ernest Macalino
All other photos – courtesy of the author

Mr. Lucky Guillermo for inviting Expatch in this book launching and notes about Mr. Acebes
Mr. Ernest Macalino and photographers for Spyron-AV Manila for sharing materials and information in the creation of this article
Mr. Bani Logroño, for sharing the video about Mr. Acebes
His Excellency, Gen. Fidel V. Ramos, for sharing your printed newspaper articles






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