Battle of Malepunyo
Battle of Malepunyo / Santo Tomas, Batangas
Mount Malepunyo is part of the Batangas Mountains that overlooks the flatlands connecting Batangas and Tayabas Bay. On 27 April, remaining Fuji Force under Col Fujishige retreated to the mountain and made a last ditch stand in the area. The Japanese built caves and pillbox defenses, which covered all logical approaches to the area. After a two-day bombardment by seven artillery battalions, the Allied Forces advanced towards the remaining organized Japanese defenses in the mountain. Unfortunately, for the Japanese, their ongoing movement to transfer towards Mount Banahaw to make another defensive complex to delay the bogged down Allied units in the area spread their troops thin. From the night of 30 April until 1 May, the Japanese defense in Mount Malepunyo collapsed and only 2,000 Japanese troops were able to make their way to Mount Banahaw. Col Fujishige and the remaining Fuji Force stayed in the area to hide, and consequently surrendered at the end of the war. The mopping up operations in Mount Malepunyo continued after the battle.
Southern Luzon was known as a hornets’ nest in guerrilla activity during the occupation and is home to many guerrilla units. The Hunters-ROTC, the Fil-Amencan Irregular Troops (FAIT) and the President Quezon’s Own Guerrillas (PQOG) were among the largest guerrilla units in the area and were attached to the 11th Airborne Division in the Battle of Malepunyo and the mopping up operations in the area. The Battle of Malepunyo is considered the main and last great battle of Southern Luzon.