THE commemoration of the “77th Takas sa Talisay, Kagawsanan sa Sugbo (Talisay Landing, Liberation of Cebu) on Saturday, March 26, 2022, should be a reminder that creating a strong alliance and developing unity among the people is the way to get liberated from the present challenges in society.Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas Jr. made the disclosure during the 77th anniversary of the arrival of American forces on the beaches of Barangay Poblacion to liberate the Province of Cebu from Japanese occupiers during the Second World War.Gullas narrated the similarities between the challenges faced by Filipinos during the war with the present difficulties brought about by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic and the recent devastation of Typhoon Odette (Rai).“One thing that we learned 77 years ago is that we can not do these things alone. There should be unity, there should be friends and people working together to succeed,” said Gullas.On March 26, 1945, the United States 401st Division landed on Talisay beach with the help of Cebuano guerrillas who had provided an extensive intelligence network in the province.Based on the information provided by the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, the offensive in Talisay City paved the way for the liberation of Cebu on March 27, 1945, and the surrender of the Japanese Forces in the province on Aug. 29, 1945.Loss of livesDeputy Consul Toshio Yadomi of Japan recalled the consequences of the war that led to the loss of the lives of many Filipinos, Americans, and Japanese.Yadomi offered his “deepest and heartfelt condolences to the souls of fallen soldiers in Talisay.”“This is something that we, the Japanese, must never forget, and we intend to keep this engraved in our hearts,” said Yadomi.Consul Glenn Loop of the United States of America said the Talisay City Landing is important in keeping history alive for future generations to contemplate and learn from.“We should never forget the horrors of war, current global events remind us to be vigilant to the circumstances around us and not take this for granted,” said Loop.Despite the conflicts in the past, Loop proudly said strong ties and robust partnerships are now being enjoyed by the Philippines, the United States, and Japan. The three countries have become allies, he said.The 77th Takas sa Talisay did not feature the famous reenactment of the beach landing that showed how the Filipinos and Americans maneuvered against Japanese defenses.However, Gullas said the entirety of the activity wowed the foreign guests and even commended the organizers of the program.Liberation ParkGullas also led the unveiling of the new Talisay City Liberation Park in Barangay Poblacion, which is designed based on the city’s culture and tradition, especially the famous Talisay Lechon.The park provides open spaces for families to enjoy and features special designs of playground amenities that can be used by kids.Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia graced the ceremonial lighting of the park together with the park’s designer, Vito Selma.Garcia appreciated that every detail of the park is embedded with meaning and a story in it.“This park celebrates Talisay’s history as well as its culture and tradition, ug tungod niana, nahimong mas (and because of that, this has become more) meaningful and it gives this park the soul that every park or infrastructure should have,” said Garcia.The park also includes a food court facing the sea that will have stalls intended for lechon vendors in the city.According to Gullas, there is also a separate building that has 54 stalls that will serve as a mini-market for Barangay Poblacion.The unveiling of the park is only the first phase of the developmental projects for the liberation park.Gullas said that the second phase will be extending the landing memorial site and creating a boardwalk similar to the one in Naga City in southern Cebu.“Gusto lang gyud ko nga mobalik ang ekonomiya diri sa Talisay. Dapat na gyud ta mo move on (I want our economy to bounce back in Talisay. We should move on),” said Gullas.