Korean War Veteran/Casualty. PMA Class 1951. Born in Cabatuan in 1927.
One of 12 Miravite Brothers & Sisters who established the Miravite Scholarships at CNCHS during the 1970's and 1980's
and then adopted/supported AcaoNHS in Brgy. Acao, Cabatuan during the 1990's and 2000's.

At the Philippine Military Academy as a Plebe
by: Feliciano F. Miravite
Consulting Actuary

More than twenty-one years ago, on one lonely hill above the 38th parallel in the northern portion of the Korean peninsula, exactly a few minutes after midnight on July 15, 1953, volleys after volleys of enemy mortar shells fell on our line.

A few days earlier, the Philippine Battalion, which was attached to the U.S. 45th Division, moved from its sheltered position at Satae Ri Valley into an exposed flank of the United Nation's line to fill the gap caused by the annihilation of the Fifth Division of the South Korean Army.

It was at this moment that a fragment of those volleys of 82 millimeter mortar shells entered my body and lodged at my spinal column. The impact was sudden. My first impression was: I had lost my legs. It was only after one of the "medics" informed me that my legs were intact, that I knew then I had lost the use of both of them.

• • •

The sun was shining on my face as I waited on a stretcher in front of the U.S. Army Surgical Hospital (six miles behind the frontline) for my turn in surgery. A few hours back, I had just been through a nightmare. As I was being carried down the hill after getting hit, mortar shells were exploding everywhere. When at last I got to the ambulance, the ambulance could not get out of the mudhole (while the shells continued exploding). The ambulance inched itself out of the mud and dirt and the explosions in the pitch of darkness. I could hear the explosions faintly as we finally moved farther to the rear of the line.

I could feel the heat of the sun getting more intense as I was being wheeled into the operating room. I knew then that it was going to be a new life for me. It was and it still is.
• • •

As a 2nd Lieutenant in the Philippine Army in 1952

It was indeed the beginning of a great battle. This battle was to be waged inside me, in the hospitals, and in my mind. The Korean war ended 12 days after I got injured, but I continued with my own private war. The stakes were high. I had a wife who was in the family way and at that time I was only 26 years old. A long bleak future was ahead of me indeed. This kind of battle was bigger than that fought in the battlefield.

with wife Mercy de Leon Santiago
on May 10, 1952
In the early days of my injury, as I stretched on my back completely helpless, I did not have the time to complain about the rather strict medical attention given to me, probably because I had been so helpless anyway. I therefore gave myself completely to the medical program of the hospital. Furthermore, even if I did complain about the stringent hospital procedures, I doubted if I could have been heard. The whole program to rehabilitate me, therefore, was left with the professionals and to their complete mastery of the techniques. It would have been different had I had some hand in my own rehabilitation, because as a patient, I would have selected the most convenient and the easiest path which is the road of least resistance. This could have been a great disaster.

As a result of the excellent care, I was lucky to prevent the occurence of complications that comes with the spinal cord injury itself. This situation could be achieved in a rather swift manner but the road to rehabilitation was a long process.

After several months of feeling sorry for myself, I awakened to the reality that there was no time to further linger on with this type of sadness. The thought of regaining the use of my limbs had always been there; it was allright had it come back, but the question with this trend of thinking was that no provision was made for the eventuality that it will not return. I was already blaming the whole world for my situation, and slowly I was changing my attitude into one who was a cynic, morose and negative thinker.

with President Ramon Magsaysay in 1953
But the idea of doing nothing for the rest of my life disturbed me deeply. Although I was to be confined in a wheelchair for the rest of my life, this thought did not bother me much. It was the thought that I could not be of use or I could not accomplish anything that really bothered.

A few paragraphs back, I mentioned that I fought a bigger battle in my mind than in the battlefield. Somehow, the mind developed some kind of lethargy associated with disability. They seemed to me inseparable; and, therefore difficult to dissociate one from the other.

As soon as the mental attitude was changed, and the block removed, the planning of future steps was simple. A new vista was opened. A new profession or vocation had to be started, several factors had to be studied. I was not ambitious in my quest for the answer to deep-seated questions. It was not even in my mind to return to gainful employment. I was only aiming at proving one point: whether I could still accomplish anything.

This I set to prove by returning to school.

At the time I was preparing to study at Michigan, I had no idea what structural barriers I would encounter. I looked at the pictures of the buildings and it was discouraging to note that the building where the Department of Mathematics was holding its classes had more than 20 steps in front, something which would be impossible to negotiate even once a day for four semesters. In addition to this, the problem of how to move through the snow was overwhelming. I never had any inkling on how I would fare in the snow. This ignorance probably saved me from reversing my decision to study.

These problems seemed to be impossible to solve, especially at a distance, but as I was face-to-face with them, they seemed to have automatically disappeared. There was no need for me to negotiate a flight of 20 steps, as there was an elevator at the rear. In buildings where I could not get in, my professors were kind enough to change the rooms to a building accessible to me. As to the snow, all the students were kind enough to give my chair a push out of snow, mud or enbankment.

Today, the University of Michigan, as most schools in the U.S., is provided with ramps and accesses to enable the disabled to move about. Ann Arbor, where the University of Michigan is located, as well as other cities and towns, has transportation systems for the disabled. Twenty years ago, these were too good to be true.

Graduating from University of Michigan with
a Master's Degree in Actuarial Mathematics
Towards the end of my master's program, a number of insurance companies came to the campus to interview the graduating class. We were about 14 in the class against 50 or so companies. The prospect of getting a job was very favorable and how I needed it. And yet as I went through the ordeal of being interviewed, I never showed any sign that I needed one badly. This feeling was a basic feeling of a human being, I thought, irrespective of disabilty and non-disability. While my family in Ann Arbor was living on a complete restricted budget, I had to preface every interview that if I should get employed, it should never be out of pity because I would never accept a special employment condition.

I finally found myself one week after graduation employed as an actuary of the U.S. Social Security Administration in Washington, D.C.  I found the working condition perfect and since it was a federal job, it offered plenty of room for opportunities. I must admit this started it all until I got an offer to join another company here at home.

At this point, I could not believe the fact that I was employed. My dogged determination to take graduate schooling was only to prove a point that despite a depressing disability, I could completely finish a course to my liking. But surely, it never occured to me that I should return to gainful employment.

And so, it was some sort of a personal victory when I started working for the U.S. Social Security Administration in Washington, D.C., exactly on June 22, 1959, 9 days after completing my M.S. in Michigan. This was almost six years since the world blacked out in one early morning volley of enemy fire in North Korea.

It was a very satisfying feeling and this simple tactical victory I used as an argument whenever I embarked later in other serious undertakings in life fraught with risks.

• • •

My own struggle for a "place in the sun" is tiny compared to many others in the past. At this point, it might be fitting to mention that the person who set up the most coveted prize in many fields of endeavor was Nobel - who himself suffered some sort of disability. This interesting sidelight might not be known to the vast majority of us. But, it may seem appropriate to mention that such a coveted prize was made thru the grit, labor and talent of one disabled person. We might call this as well as the gift of the disabled to humanity.

History is replete with illustrious people, who despite their most depressing physical condition, rose above to heights unprecedented. We might mention Beethoven, who despite his deafness produced the most beautiful music of all times during his period of disability; Franklin D. Roosevelt, who guided his country and the allies to win the Second World War, and many others. It was not their disability that won for them the plaudits of humanity, it was their ability.

with classmate President Fidel V. Ramos
of PMA Class 1951
But we must not forget those who have helped in their most trying times. The army of relatives, friends, benefactors, professors, nurses, therapists, doctors and other scientists who were fighting a great battle indeed to alleviate the condition of the disabled. In addition to those mentioned, I would like to mention my own particular case, the unflinching support of my wife who has stood by me during all these years.

I would like to conclude this short talk by addressing the disabled himself. As one who may be considered as completely rehabilitated and who now look into the future with more confidence, I would not want to forget the daily struggle of those who, like me, are caught in the moment of indecision. My advice would be to accept the disability and move forward.

To the army of private citizens, nurses, therapists, doctors, scientists and other professionals who have spent time, money and effort to alleviate a lot of those who have been unable to care for themselves, yours is an unselfish devotion to the cause of humanity. I do hope you could continue to support the struggle of the disabled for a "place in the sun".

To those who are in the government holding positions which can influence government decisions - to take the initiative in providing the correct atmosphere in the advancement of the disabled. We might mention a few steps like the setting up of architectural regulations to eliminate structural barriers - by constructing ramps in the streets, providing accesses to public and private buildings alike for the disabled. Another worthy steps would be to request corporations in the private sector especially those receiving government subsidies and enjoying tax exemptions to employ and accommodate the disabled in their working force. For in the employment of the disabled, the government is placing him at a level that can make him contribute to the economy of the nation, by giving him an opportunity to pay taxes to the government, instead of having him stay on government dole-outs. A big portion of the disabled population can work given the opportunity. The private sector will be more than happy to accommodate such a move by the government, since hiring the handicap, as the experience shows in the U.S. and Europe, has improved businesses. It may be appropriate to suggest, at this point, to create an office which we may call "The Presidential Committee for the Employment of the Physically Handicap".

with wife Mercy, after 49 years

There is truism in the saying that the strength of the nation lies in the strength of its people. Consequently, the government is as weak as the people. For in the final analysis, a nation cannot go forward, leaving a segment of the disabled behind.

This situation can aptly be described in the words of John Donne's in his "The Tolling Bell - A Devotion". It says: "No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promentory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or if thine own; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee".

I thank you.

A Place in the Sun was a speech given by Dr. Feliciano F. Miravite sometime in the 1970's.

During his cadet days, he was the Editor-in-Chief of THE CORPS and the PEEMAYER in his yearling year and the Editor-in-Chief of THE SWORD when he was a Firstclassman. (from The Golden Sword of PMA Class 1951)



Above Photo: In 1997, during a meeting between the Miravite Brothers & Sisters and Acao National High School faculty (AcaoNHS of Brgy. Acao, Cabatuan, Iloilo) led by Teacher-in-Charge Sena Lumampao at Sarabia Manor Hotel.
  • Birthplace: Cabatuan, Iloilo (August 19, 1927)

  • Both parents are Cabatuananon

    *Zacarias Continente Miravite, one of 6 Cabatuananon teachers who authorized the town of Cabatuan in 1917 to deduct monthly from their salaries the full tuition of some of their students.

    *Consolacion Legaspi Fajardo, of Brgy. Acao, Cabatuan.

  • One of 12 Miravite Brothers & Sisters who established the Miravite Scholarships at CNCHS during the 1970's and 1980's and then adopted/supported AcaoNHS in Brgy. Acao, Cabatuan during the 1990's and 2000's.

  • Fellow, Actuarial Society of the Philippines
  • Fellow, Conference of Consulting Actuaries (USA)
  • Fellow, Actuarial Science Program (University of Michigan)
  • Enrolled Actuary (USA)
  • Member, American Academy of Actuaries (USA)
  • Member, International Association of Consulting Actuaries (USA)

  • Founder, FFMiravite Consulting Actuaries Inc.
  • M.S. in Mathematics (Actuarial Science), University of Michigan
  • Ph.D. in Business Management, MLQU
  • Philippine Military Academy Class 1951
  • Cavalier Award 1991 for Excellence in Business
    (Philippine Military Academy)
  • Cavalier Award 1962 for Extraordinary Display of Moral & Physical Courage
    (Philippine Military Academy)

  • Scholarship Award, Actuarial Science Program, University of Michigan 1958 (USA)

  • Purple Heart (U.S. Government, 1953)
  • Wharang Distinguished Service (Republic of Korea, 1953)
  • Military Merit Medal (Republic of the Philippines, 1953)
  • Special Consultant to the Indonesian Government
  • Guest Speaker, American Management Association (New York)
  • Guest Speaker, Conference of Actuaries in Public Practice (San Francisco)

The 14th Battalion Combat Team (14th BCT)

The 14th Battalion Combat Team (14th BCT), the forefather of the 14th Infantry (AVENGER) Battalion was activated in 01 August 1950 at Fort William Mckinley, Rizal with two (2) officers and sixteen (16) enlisted men initially assigned to it. The need of more troops in Laguna was urgent then that this Battalion was moved even before completing its organization. Several Philippine Constabulary (PC) absorbed and some units with excess personnel were taken and training was conducted simultaneously with operations. After the completion of the unit's training, 14th BCT was immediately thrown into the anti-dissident campaign. The unit was designed to go after the communist inspired Hukbong Bayan Laban sa Hapon (HUKBALAHAP) which at that time, the government's effort to crush the leftist had been intensified to give no respite to the enemies of the state


14TH BCT was assigned to the province of Baras, Rizal as their area of responsibility (AOR). It was while operating in the mountainous part of Rizal where the "AVENGER" name of the 14th BCT was conceived. During that time, the HARDIES, an American family, ran a dairy farm in the fertile hills of Antipolo, Rizal. They were then supplying Manila and nearby areas with their dairy products. A band of Huks in their intent to sow fear in the area mercilessly murdered the entire family. The incident was reported to the Battalion prompting the elements of "D" Company of 14th BCT under CPT CONRADO D CABAGUE to react and sweep the countryside for the perpetrators. The swift and timely reaction of the unit accounted for twenty-one (21) of said dissidents tracked down and killed in a fierce skirmish.

By their courage and tenacity, the 14BCT was given the catch name "AVENGER" by then Secretary of Defense and later President of the Republic of the Philippines, Ramon Magsaysay.

Avengers are not vengeance seekers but defenders of the weak against tyranny. Since then the Avengers was destined to avenge one's wrong another in the field.


Because of their impressive combat records in the field on August 29, 1952 pursuant to General Orders number 35, GHQ, AFP, the 14th BCT under COL NICANOR JIMENEZ was chosen as one of the Philippines Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK) contingents to help dismantle communism then raging in the Republic of South Korea.

On 26 March 1953, the Avengers arrived at the sea port Pusan, South Korea. The troops were given warm welcome by the Koreans and some of the allied forces already in the area. After which, they boarded a train and proceeded to Chon chon from there, they were transported to Inje Valley by trucks on convoy. Upon arrival, the troops were given a brief rest on their bivouac area. After which, intensive training started to enable them to learn new tactics and techniques in fighting the communist soldier.


On 15th of May 1953 the new Filipino Battalion took their first combat mission, its sector stretched for about one (1) mile astride in the Stae-ri Valley. “B” Company occupied the ridge on the left of “sandbag castle” and on the valley floor were elements of “A” Company together with their combat support units. While elements of “C” Company was on Heartbreak Ridge.

Stae-ri Valley was one of the main invasion routes in the East Central Front that is why the Battalion was given a mission to deny the enemy use of the valley below and to secure the commanding terrain and Heartbreak Ridge.

The Avengers lost no time in making the communist troops aware of their presence by harassing the enemy lines both with artillery fire, small arms firefight and conducting aggressive combat patrols info enemy territory. With this action of the 14th BCT, the enemy was not able to cross or advance through the invasion routes.

One noteworthy patrol action was that which was led by Sgt Ponciano Agno of “C” Company which got itself into close combat with the enemy. He reinforced and extricated a surrounded squad under Pfc Aquilino Agustin who was captured and being dragged away by the Red Chinese. But at a decisive place and time. Pfc Agustin exploded two (2) hand grenades. The Chinese were killed, but he was riddled with shrapnel despite of his armor vest and steel helmet. With this singular feat of heroism, Pfc Agustin was later awarded with the US Silver Star, the third highest decoration of the US Army.

The Battalion engaged more in routine patrols. Inflicting more casualties on the enemy until the elements of 40th Division (US) replaced the Avengers sometime on May 1953.

In June, the area of 20th ROK Division was subjected to intense enemy attack. As a consequence the 45th Infantry Division (US) was sent to relieve the beleaguered Korean unit. The 14th BCT operating under the US 45th Infantry (Thunderbird) Division was designated as counter attacking force. They established blocking position of Paek-san-san. For eight (8) consecutive days, the Avengers secured the MCR while maintain two (2) companies under alert for immediate deployment.

On July, 14, 1953, at 12:24 AM. Red Chinese conducted an offensive. For one (1) night, the areas of the whole Battalion were preferred with artillery shells. The devastating blows cause the loss of two (2) officers and six (6) WIA. In this action, LIEUTENANT TEODORICO DOMINADO JR of Dumaguete City was killed. LIEUTENANT FELICIANO MIRAVITE was also hit directly in this encounter causing his paralysis.

At dawn, “A” and “B” Companies, 14th BCT were ordered to occupy “Christmas Hill” “B” Company went ahead at 0530H but while on their way two (2) CCF Battalions overran “K” Company of 180th Infantry Regiment “B” Company, 14th BCT was ordered to counter attack and rush to the site but rain and Koreans silt delayed the movement. When they reached “Christmas Hill” 1st Company of 180th US Infantry Regiment had already cleared up the area. So portions were not thoroughly, cleared so the Avengers finished the job until 16th July 1952. In this action, CCF casualties were counted at 200 killed and 350 wounded. A CCF probing company provided the fire power causing the enemy to withdraw o the night of 15 July.

The following date, “G” Company of 180th US Infantry Regiment was replaced by “A” Company, 14th BCT while “B” Company moved to main line of resistance. The rest of 2nd Battalion, 279th US Infantry Regiment was taken over by the elements of the 14th BCT.


At around 180930H July, 1953, enemy movement was first noticed in front of the machine gun nest of the Avengers while the other companies observed that the enemy crawling and striking their concertina wires. Orders were passed along line not to waste ammunition and wait until CCF came nearer. Machine gun positions reported that the CCF elements are at 30 meters up front. At that juncture, a prearranged flare was fired and all the guns open fired. The Red Chinese fold back. The enemy from the opposite hill retaliated with small arms fire followed by mortar and artillery barrages which were countered by the friendly artillery. It could be seen through artillery illumination fire, bodies strangle and the barbed wire while down below, the remnants could be seen on the defiles.

On 18, July, the CCF troops conducted psychological warfare operation at Hill 500 on Satae-ri Front. With the use of loudspeakers, the Chinese would announced and persuade the Avengers. “GO HOME, WE ARE NOT YOUR ENEMIES”. And followed by screaming a “BANZAI”. This would be answered by the troops by opening their radios full volume and accompanied by singing.

The incident happened again at Christmas Hill on the night of 22 July, 1953. The enemy used blinking lights in the darkness in front of the friendly troops then loud irritating Chinese music was played accompanied by automatic rifle fire. The Avengers ignored their style but still on alert. The entire show only stopped after artillery fire was heard from “A” Company which sent the enemy for cover. Unknowingly, the enemy is preparing for another offensive.


On 24-26 July 1953, “A” Company was receiving 500 rounds of enemy artillery shells a day, disrupting communication and re-supply. For three (3) days, the troops ran out of ammunition and hid on their foxholes.

Meanwhile, news was heard that a truce was being negotiated at Panmunjon. In spite of this news, however the enemy continues firing their artillery tubes at the heaviest was on the 27th of July.

News was received that the troops would be at 272200H July, 1953 from 1100 instructions were passed along the line to cease fire on the time set.

Before 2200H the Battalion received more than 1,000 rounds of artillery shells from the CCF. Despite, the cease fire order. The PEFTOK, artillery battery engaged the Communist guns all-out-duel.

At around 2200H, the entire battle front fell into complete silence. The following day, 28th July, the Avengers dismantled its fortifications, detonated its mines and rolled up their concertina wires. After which, the unit moved and transferred to Yanggu Valley where it set up a camp and named in Honor of LIEUTENANT DOMINADO JR who lost his life at Paeksuk-san.

From Camp Dominado, the Avengers embarked on an intensive training program. They also conducted rehabilitation on the ravaged village brought by war along Yanggu Valley with other friendly troops.


Because of its record in the front lines, the unit was awarded the Korean Presidential Unit Citation on 27th July, 1953. On March 1954, the 14th BCT left South Korea and returned to their native land. When they reached the sea port of Manila, they were surprised since the port was crowded by their relatives, friends and other spectators to include government officials who waved their hands and cheering up. A formal ceremony was made up on their arrival. Then the 14th BCT was awarded with the Philippines Presidential Unit Citation having successfully fulfilled the country’s commitment to global peace and security.


After its return, the excess personnel of the unit were distributed to the various Philippine army Units where their services were most needed. It maintained its basic Battalion personnel in accordance with local conditions. Then the unit was again thrown into anti-dissident campaign. Not long thereafter, it was deactivated like the rest of its sister Organizations which emerged during the height of the government all-out-war against Huk dissidents.


On June 1973, the unit was again reactivated.