MANILA, -- The quest for alleged Japanese war treasures thought to be buried in the Philippines and worth trillions of dollars is on again with renewed determination.

Newly revived tales of war booty thought to have been stashed by Japanese Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita during World War II are swirling again in coffee shops in the northern Philippines.

A Presbyterian pastor hastily called a press conference to spread the news about legendary treasures believed to have been part of the Yamashita stash.

The "booty" has so far amounted to a couple of old metal drums, the rubber sole of a shoe, miscellaneous strands of chicken wire and skeletal remains dug up by 23 construction workers on a vacant lot in the northern Philippine town of Carmen in Pangasinan, 182 kilometers north of Manila.

The 1,083-square-meter lot is the site of a new Presbyterian church and a multipurpose building the church is planning to erect in the province.

There have been reports that the grassy plot of land used to be a Japanese military camp during the war. Korean pastor Joshua Kimok Cho said metal drums slightly longer than 1 meter were unearthed Jan. 26 at a depth of about 1.5 meters next to a number of "beautiful stones neatly arranged on top of each other."

"We saw an arrow on top of the drum," said Cho. "But we are not sure if there is gold or not. But according to police officials, there's a strong possibility that there is treasure in the area." Presbyterian officials immediately notified local officials about the discovery.

News of discovered "booty" spread like wildfire in neighboring towns, sending curious treasure hunters scurrying to the site. Six policemen were immediately sent to the site to guard the find.

Unconfirmed reports say treasures have already been unearthed in the area. Officials are planning to open the drums Monday. According to the tales, Yamashita allegedly collected some 4,000 to 6,000 tons of gold bars and other precious stones and metals, jewelry, coins and bank notes worth billions of dollars, which he allegedly buried at 172 different sites in the Philippine archipelago in the l940s. The cache has been estimated to be worth trillions of dollars today.
Quest renewes for Legendary Japanese War Booty
Back to:
Philippines / Main Page