16th Infantry Battalion
Never say die
They are definitely made of sterner stuff ó men who never say die. They were trained to serve in times of war and peace and have waded through the uncharted waters of army life even for the sheer but legendary honor of putting their lives at stake for the sake of the country. Letís hear the story of the action-packed heroes.
The 16th Infantry Battalion, just like any other units of the AFP, has undergone a series of transformation. The history of the unit can be traced back to the BCT times. On 10 January 1951, the 16th Infantry battalion (SEPARATE) was activated pursuant to section 1, general order number 354 GHQ AFP dated December 28, 1950. Its manpower is composed of 54 officers and 1,137 enlisted personnel. The battalion was assigned to replace the function of the Training Center in Fort William McKinley, Rizal.
The officers of the battalion were generated from other units of the AFP, while some were newly called for active duty. The enlisted personnel were filled- up by transferees from other units and by voluntary enlistment, ninety percent (90%) of whom were ex- Philippine Scouts and ten percent (10%) were ex-trainees.
Commanded by then MAJOR MARCELO CASTILLO, the 16th Infantry Battalion started its basic training at Fort McKinley, in preparation for field assignment. On March 5, 1951, the battalion was assigned in the 2nd military area. The following day, the battalion moved by train from Fort McKinley, Rizal to Lucena Quezon, on the Holy Week of 1951. The unit was ordered to move to Bicol and Bondoc peninsula. On Good Friday, the unit established its Hqs at Sipocot, Camarines Sur, along with Hqs and Hqs Svc Coy, Recon Coy and FA Battery. The "L" Coy was at Labo, Camarines Norte and the " M" Coy was at Macalelon, Quezon.
Battalion Combat Team
On April 17, 1951, The unit was re-designated from Infantry Battalion (SEPARATE) to Battalion Combat Team (BCT). This was pursuant to section I of general order number 243, GHQ, AFP dated April 17, 1951. As restructured, it had the following elements; HHSCoy, recon coy, "I", "K" and "M" companies, field artillery battery and medical detachment.
During its brief stint in the Bicol region and Bondoc Peninsula, the Battalion conducted several major operations against the dissidents in the vast mountains of Ragay, Cam Sur, Tagkawayan and Macalelon, Quezon. The most significant of which was the so-called operation "Four Roses". In the said operation, the 16th BCT was credited for a number of casualties inflicted against the enemy. The operation was also able to capture several Huks in its assigned area.
On July, 1951, the unit was pulled out from its operational area and was assigned in Eastern Laguna and Eastern Quezon. With its Hqs in Pangil, Laguna, the battalion had, as its operational areas, the towns of Lumban, Longos, Paete, Pangil, Siniloan, Sta. Maria and Famy, all covering the province of Laguna. This was joined by the towns of Infanta and General Nakar in Quezon province. As compared to its previous field operations , the unit inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy side. In the process, the unit was also able to confiscate several firearms, ammunitions and documents.
The battalion also participated in the so-called "Operation Smile" launched by the IIMA in the Sierra Madre Mountains from 11 to 27 September 1951. "K", "L" and Recon companies and FA Battery were involved. The campaign likewise scored heavy casualties on the enemy. Successive military operations followed at Tancong Baca, Sipocot, Pamplona, Lower Sumay Pulantuna Complex on July 23 to August 12, 1951. "Operation "Recheck," which was launched at Sierra Madre from October 15 to 19, 1951, was also conducted at the South River, North Sta. Maria, Rio Grande, Mabitac, Daraitan area from June 5 to 20, 1954. The said operation was reported to be very successful.
In 1955, the unit embarked for Jolo, Sulo to participate in the Kamlon Campaign. It stayed there from April 10 to October 31 of the same year. In its operation, a recorded total of 11 encounters against Hajji Kamlon Muslim outlaw band was reported. This earned for the unit a commendation from the Jolo Task Force on October 31, 1955.
Back to Luzon
After its short but productive stint in Jolo, the unit returned to Luzon and was able to finally establish its station in Cavite. It was later de-activated in 1956. During this period, the 16th BCT was recognized as one of the units of the 2nd Infantry Division (reserve), with elements coming from the Bicol Region. In 1971, (summer) reservists from Albay, Sorsogon and Catanduanes assigned with the 16th BCT (reserve) were called for a one week mobilization test and assembly areas in Pili, Camarines Sur. The assembled reservists were organized in conformity with the "Ileto Concept" (Gen Ileto was then the PA Commander). The battalion was composed of 34 officers and 630 enlisted personnel.
From l960 up to 1971, the unit was again re-activated as a carrier unit for trainees of the 2MA/2ID who were stationed at Wilhelm in Lucena City.
Effective September 15, 1972, a few days prior to the declaration of Martial Law, the 16th Inf Bn 2nd Bde (Sep) was once more re-activated as a unit of the AFP and assigned to the Phil Army per TOE of AFP Nr Ė 7 15B pursuant to Section II, GO Nr 118, GHQ, AFP dated September 8, 1972.
A handful of cadre personnel were generated from the different units of 2IBde (Sep) PA. They were organized, well-equipped and were assigned to train the recruits of the Bn with LTC PROCESSO R DOMINGO PA, who was designated as battalion commander pursuant to GO Nr 18 H2ID PA on September 4, 1972.
On October 16 of the same year, MAJ FRANCISCO LC OSIAS PA, of S, G1 2IBS, PA, in addition to his other duties, was likewise designated as Acting Bn Comdr after LTC DOMINGO was relieved.
LTC JAVIER (JAKE) CARBONNEL, PA who was just assigned to the 2nd Infantry Bde (Sep) PA from Malacanang METROCOM, 1IB took over the Command of 16th Inf Bn on November 4, 1972 pursuant to GO Nr. 39, H2IBS, PA on November 9, 1972.
Practically, all parades and review have been rendered by the 2nd Infantry Bde (Sep) in Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal and even in other places where the 16th Inf Bn has always been called upon to participate. Also in all occasions of the AFP in Greater Manila Areas (GMA), the Presidential Security Command needed a reaction and back-up force. Hence, the battalion was always tapped to do such special missions. It also provided security to foreign dignitaries visiting the country, including that of the international Boy Scout Jamboree at Makiling, Los Banos, Laguna.
Aside from handling the jungle warfare and mountain operation courses, the battalion also handled the conduct of training for various units like the PMA upper classes cadets, Philippine Marines, Philippine Coastguard, Philippine Constabulary, Philippine Air force and the 36-70 officers that were required to undergo JWMOC/scout ranger school.
On Feb 21, 1974, "A" Coy was directed to operate in Montalban, Rizal while "B" and "C" Coy were tasked to provide security to Prime Minister Whitlam of Australia. On the other hand, the Hqs and Hqs Coy were tasked to train the 58th PC Coy in Daraitan jungle base. Order of deployment was given to the unit due to the escalation of the Jolo-Cotabato situation which was aggravated by the Muslim rebel offensive in Jolo on Feb 7, 1974. The Bn was re-organized into the "Kamagong Concept." This called for additional officers, enlisted personnel and trainees. With the unit barely completing the re-organization, the 16th Infantry battalion, moved from Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal to Zamboanga City on February 22, 1974 and completed the movement of troops the following day in accordance with the directed timetable. During that time, LTC. JAKE CARBONNEL was still the battalion commander.
Two months after, on April 12, 1974, the Bn was re-deployed in Zamboanga Del Sur and initially placed OPCON to the 3rd Infantry Brigade, 4ID, PA. It established its Hqs at Dimalinao, Zamboanga Del Sur under the code name OPLAN "SERPENT". The Bn was primarily tasked to conduct stability operations by preventing rebel forces from gaining influence on the inhabitants, establishing training camps/base and utilizing resources in the region. Secondly, it provided security and appropriate escorts to Australian Nationals and its Filipino counterparts working under the Philippine-Australian Development Assistance Program (PADAP). The unitsí area of responsibility covers the Zamboanga Peninsula comprising 11 municipalities.
The performance of the unit was so impressive that LTC. CARBONNEL received the highest Muslim award in the area and was likewise conferred the title of "DATU MANGUBA".
The exploits of the 16th Inf. Bn. did not stop at Zamboanga on January 15, 1977. The Bn transferred to Lanao Del Sur, General Santos City and other provinces in Mindanao.
In 1980, LTC. OLIVEROS took over the Command and the unit from LTC. CARBONNEL. During that time, the unit was based in Bulaan Sultan Kudarat
(OPCON to CEMCOM). One of the unitsí significant accomplishments in the area was its being instrumental in the surrender of the rebel leader known as Commander Ronnie as well as the 39 field commanders of the Regional Revolutionary Command of the MILF.
Finally on October 15, 1981, the unit was relieved and was sent back to Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal for re-training. The personnel of the 16th Inf Bn shared the feeling that in one another, they had contributed their share in solving the desultory secessionist uprisings in Mindanao.
In August 1983, a few days after the assassination of Senator Benigno Aquino, the provisional battalion was organized at Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal. Its personnel came mostly from the different post units of 2ID, PA. The unit was primarily trained in Civil Disturbance Control (CDC) to pacify the civil unrest that ensued after the controversial assassination of the late Senator. LTC. REYMUNDO PAREDES (OS) PA was the Battalion Commander of this provisional battalion, which later moved to Fort Bonifacio, Metro Manila where it was designated as the 16th Infantry Battalion effective October 5, 1983, pursuant to GO Nr. 390 HPA dated October 11, 1983. It placed OPCON to the 1st Bde, 2ID, PA with the primary mission of securing Metro Manila against enemy aggression and as a reserve force of the Presidential Security Command.
The personnel of 16th Inf Bn were deployed all over Metro Manila and other nearby provinces, putting detachments on different vital government installations. "B" Coy was augmented to 1IBn at Malacanang Park as its CDC until it was later relieved in place by "A" Coy when the said Coy was re-deployed in Quezon Province for COIN Operations. On September 16, 1984, LTC. Paredes was relieved as Battalion Commander and LTC. MARCELINO MALAJACAN JR. assumed Command of the Battalion. On August 16, 1985, LTC. MALAJACAN was replaced by LTC. ARMANDO C. ARADA when the former unit assumed command of the 42nd Inf. Bn . in Quezon Province.
The remaining units of the battalion were also involved in election duties within the AOR. The provisional battalion was under the command of MAJ. HERNANI A ACOSTA, then Bn Ex-O of 16IB. With him were four officers and 80 enlisted personnel.
During that time, the unit wrought havoc to the CPP/NPA operations within Bn AOR. A big number of enemies was killed and one female NDF political officer and a CPP/NPA finance officer were captured. Likewise, several HPFAís, ammunitions and documents were confiscated. Also, during that time, the unit has organized six CAFGU Coy, which was deployed within Bn AOR to help in the counter-insurgency campaign of the AFP.
On August 1, 1989, the battalion has its new Commander in the person of COL JAIME S. DELOS SANTOS (GSC) PA. Around that time, the AFP Campaign Plan "Lambat Bitag" was also in his full swing. The unit under the able leadership of COL. DELOS SANTOS intensified its SOT operation to dismantle the politico-military infrastructure of the CPP/NPA/NDF in the grassroots level within the Bn AOR. Within a few months, this SOT operation gained momentum and effected the surrender of 397 CPP/NPA sympathizers/supporters. Likewise, 18 influence/infiltrated barangays were also reportedly cleared. It was also during this period when CMO activities were further intensified to gain the confidence of the people in the area. This resulted to the harmonious relationship between the military and civilians in the said area.
On October 16, 1990, Charlie Coy Unit, under 1LT FRANCISCO O BULASAG (INF) PA was sent to Del Gallego, Camarines Sur to augment government troops that were fighting the CPP/NPA in the area. There were massive reports of terrorizing activities happening in the Quezon-Bicol Zone area during the time. This company served as the advanced party of the unit, which later took over the areas carved out of the AOR of the 203rd Inf Bde of 2nd Inf Div, PA.
On December 17, 1990, as the unit was preparing to move out of its AOR in Laguna, a new battalion commander, in the person of MAJ. FERNANDO M. ORBASE (CAV) PA took the reins of the unit from COL. DELOS SANTOS, whose position was elevated to Chief of Staff, 2ID, PA. On January 3, 1991, two days after New Yearís eve, the unit began its move towards concretizing its mission Ė that is, to take over the AOR, in the notorious Quezon-Bicol Zone area which is reported to be the breeding ground of the CPP/NPA in the Bicol Region and Quezon Province. The battalion aimed to provide security in the construction of the Quirino Highway project, which straddles through the railroad towns of Tagkawayan, Quezon, Del Gallego, Ragay, and Lupi, Camarines Sur. The unit arrived in Tagkawayan, Quezon on January 4, 1991. Within days, it took over the new AOR from 49IB of 203Bde in the Quezon side of the AOR and week later the Camarines Side of the AOR was taken over 22IB of 201st Inf Bde.
Prior to the implementation of the unitís campaign plan, the unitís AOR has 77 affected barangays. Of these, 57 civilians being threatened out from a total of 167 barangays in the whole AOR. In less than two years, the unit was able to successfully clear or weed out these affected barangays from external threats. Likewise, it was able to have 299 NDFs, 18 NPA regulars, 441 political cadres, 70 militia ng bayan (MB) and 2,415 mass base /supporters surrender themselves to the government.
On September 24, 1992, LTC. CARLITO F. GAMIT (GSC), PA assumed command as Bn Commander and replaced MAJ. ORBASE, whose prime purpose/mission for the unit is to secure the personnel and equipment of the Joint Venture Torno America in the construction of the Quirino Highway project. The said highway encompasses through the railroad towns of Tagkawayan, Quezon, Del Gallego, Ragay, and Lupi, Camarines Sur.
Securing the Quirino Highway project is not just providing physical security to the personnel and equipment that constructed the project but, moreover, going after the elements that threatened to disrupt its construction. In this regard, the unit has formulated and implemented the so-called campaign plan "Alalay" I,II, III and IV, with reference to the AFPís campaign plan "Lambat Bitag," which aims to neutralize the political and armed elements of the dissident terrorists in the area and pave the way for the successful completion of the Quirino Highway project.
On May 6, 1993, the unit was replaced by the 74IB and was also transferred to Bayugo, Quitago, Guinobatan, Albay for battalion re-training.
On August 1, 1993, LTC. JOSE D. MATE (INF) PA, assumed command of the 16th Inf. Bn. after the Bn. had undergone re-training. After satisfying the maximum requirements, the unit was placed OPCON to 202nd Inf Bde as MRGU hunter in ALSOG. On September 23, 1993, the Bn moved to Camarines Sur and was relived in place by the 22nd IB who also underwent re-training.
The 16th Inf. Bn., as an operating unit of 2ID for counter insurgency operation, initiated numerous combat and psychological operations that neutralized or destroyed the remaining armed insurgent group within its area of responsibility. Training of the individual soldiers was enhanced thus, and the combat effectiveness, administrative efficiency was also enhanced. Furthermore, it also established a well-managed team in the unitís operational area. The battalion vigorously implemented the "TRIAD" concept through efficient organization and employment of its resources for psychological and combat operations. At the same time, the unit also conducted civil relation activities for the populace. It aimed at sustaining the general offensive to defeat the remaining DTs and concomitantly win the hearts and minds of the people.
Sustained combat operations
As a result, the present status of the barangay is still labeled as "unaffected." Through sustained combat operations, the unit recorded 1,968 combat operations for the said period. The records show that there have been 15 government initiated encounters and six raids. Likewise, it also recovered a total of six high powered firearms, six low powered firearms and two ICOM radios. Four DTís encampment/patrol base were recovered, and 19 DTís were killed. The reports also said there were four body counts and eight people were wounded in action. On the military side, the following casualties were reported: one EP and one CAA KIA and one EP WIA. However, since reconciliation goes hand in hand with its mission and policy to attract misguided brothers, the unit pursued this track relentlessly through continuous negotiation talks, together with the other government agencies in the province of Camarines Sur.
As an effect, 27 dissident terrorists surrendered, while 120 more surrendered to other government officials of the province. The 16th Inf. Bn extended its military resources and personnel in helping the populace during the natural calamities which hit the province. An intensified information drive was also carried out, together with the government officials in far-flung barangays to disseminate developmental efforts and bridge the gap between the government and the people. On several occasions, the unit, together with other government agencies, was involved in delivering the basic services to the citizenry, like evacuation of patients to the hospital, delivering of relief goods and security assistance.
On August 1, 1995, LTC. ROMULO M. BAMBAO (INF) PA, assumed command as battalion commander. LTC. JOSE D. MATE (INF) PA, on the other hand, was elevated to CDC Camarines Sur of 5RCDG, PA.
During the assumption of command, LTC. BAMBAO gave an assurance to the people in his area of responsibility that his unit will continue to help the province in reducing the terroristic activities of the DTs and other lawless elements that continue to hamper the development and progress of the province.
The sustained combat operations of the unit recorded the following: 2,056 combat operations for the said period with 19 government initiated encounters and four raids. The unit was also able to recover a total of 17 high-powered firearms, four low-powered firearms and two ICOM radios. Twelve DTs were killed (11 body count) and subversive documents with high intelligence value were also recovered. With these achievements, the unit earned the distinction as the Best battalion of Southern Luzon Command foe CY Ė 96,from among eight maneuvering battalions in SOLCOM AOR. On September 1, 1997, LTC. ROMULO M. BAMBAO (INF) PA, after serving two years and one month as Bn Comdr was relieved from his duties and was replaced by LT.C ANTHONY J. ALCANTARA (INF) PA.
Best maneuvering unit
On August 1, 1997 LTC. ANTHONY J. ALCANTARA (INF) PA, assumed the command as Battalion Commander and was replaced by LTC. BAMBAO whose position was elevated to AC of S, G1, PA. During his term, the battalion was again adjudged as the Best Maneuvering unit of SOLCOM from Sept. 1998 to April 1999.
Finally on September 29, 1997, the unit was relieved in place by the 1st Inf Bn and was transferred to a distinct mission and another AOR in Tri-Boundaries of Quezon Province, Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur. Within days, the unit took over the new AOR from 31IB of 202IBde in the Quezon side, and a week later, it also topok over the Camarines Side to 42IB of 203rd Bde. The unit established its Bn and Hqs Svc Coy at Sitio Miramar, San Vicente, Tagkawayan, Quezon, "A" Coy at Tabason, Tagkawayan, Quezon. "B" Coy at Tomagoktok, Del Gallego, Cam Sur but was later transferred to barangay Caayunan, Basud, Camarines Norte. "C" Coy, on the other hand, was located at Brgy Tigbinan, Labo, Camarines Sur.
During that period, the unit had initiated numerous combat and psychological operations that neutralized or destroyed the remaining armed insurgent group within the AOR. Through sustained combat operations, the unit recovered 12 government initiated encounters with communist terrorists which resulted in 14 enemies killed in action, eight enemies wounded, four enemies captured and 13 enemies surrendered. The unit was also able to recover 31 firearms, almost of which are classified as high-powered, assorted magazines and ammunitions of different calibers, one hand grenade, two ICOM radios, 11 pieces of 3.5 high-density computer diskettes and voluminous subversive documents with high intelligence value.
On the government side, the troop suffered one EP WIA. It also conducted 23 modified MSOT, 19 in-house trainings, various medical/dental activities and several tree-planting projects that included the 10 hectares of water shed in Tagkawayan, Quezon. There were also 19,118 board feet of assorted logs that were confiscated as part of the governmentís anti-illegal logging campaign. Notedly, the battalion was adjudged by the Southern Luzon Command, AFP as the Best Maneuvering Unit for the period of September, 1998 to April, 1999. It also earned the highest aggregate points in the rating of all functional areas of 2ID, PA for the 2nd Quarter CY-99 among the eight Infantry battalions of 2ID, PA.
On September 1, 1999, the battalion has its new commander in the person of MAJ. FELICITO VIRGILIO M. TRINIDAD (INF), PA, who replaced LTC. ANTHONY J. ALCANTARA (INF) PA, whose position was elevated to AC of S, G2, 2ID, PA.
Worsening situation in Mindanao
During the assumption of Command of MAJ. TRINIDAD, the order of deployment was given to the unit due to the prevailing situation in Mindanao which was exasperated by the MILF/Abu Sayaff rebel offensive in Jolo Central Mindanao. Likewise, the recent attacks of the 6th Infantry Div. Hqs in Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao also affected the decision to deploy the unit. On May 14, 2000, the 16th Infantry battalion was directed by Higher Hqs to move its whole battalion to embarkation point at Fort Bonifacio, Makati City, prior to the deployment in Mindanao.
On May 17, 2000, the Battalion set foot in 6ID, PA in Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao and completed Bn movement on May 18, 2000. With the OPLAN " DOMINANCE" of 6ID, the unit placed OPCON to 603rd Bde and established its Bn Hqs in Sitio Carigayan, Brgy Mataya, Buldon, Maguindanao. The battalion was primarily tasked to conduct combat operations to clear, destroy and neutralize MILF Forces in Gedong, Buslan and adjacent areas in order to clear the said area of MILF control and free the Parang-Buldon Highway of MILF.
On July 6, 2000, in consonance with the implementation of OPLAN "ARIES" HSOUTHCOM, the 16th Inf Bn equipped with proper training, intelligence, logistical requirements and vast combat experience, displayed their courage, sacrifices in order to defeat the stronghold position of the MILF at Camp Vietnam, Abubakar complex, Barira Maguindanao. The said operation was completed on July 29, 2000, which resulted in the recovery of 17 HPFAs assorted war materials and equipment and assorted magazines and ammunitions. The performance of the unit was so impressive that MAJ. TRINIDAD received the award of Gold Cross Medal in the area. The successful capture of Camp Abubakarís main camp adversely affected the rebels. With that situation, the 16th Inf Battalion then established its Bn Hqs and nine defensive position threats in the area.
The exploitation of the unit did not stop on the command of MAJ. TRINIDAD. On August 1, 2000, a new battalion commander in the person of MAJ. FLORANTE O. ISLES (INF) PA, took over the command.
During his term, MAJ ISLES gave an assurance to the continuous improvement of the unit. Within that period in Camp Abubakar, the unit recorded 3 government initiated encounters against the MILF rebel that resulted to seven 7 MILF body count casualties. It also recovered a total of eight high-powered firearms, assorted war materials and equipment, assorted ammunitions, recovered MILF jungle training camp known as Al Jahma Ah Al Islamiyah (Islamic Military Academy) Camp Nasser and Hqs of 1st battalion Inner Guard Brigade, National Guard Division.
On March 1, 2001, the 16th IB was re-deployed in the province of Davao del Sur, Sur relieving in place 68th Inf Bn of 7ID. This was part of the implementation of the Commandís directive regarding the realignment of forces and boundaries, in the 16th IB. On March 5, 2001 movement was completed and it took over the AOR and placed OPCON to 601Ibde.
Finally, on April 27, 2002, the unit was relieved-in-place by 25IB, 6ID, PA and was sent back to Luzon at HPA, Fort Bonifacio, Makati City. With that development, OPCON became responsible for the implementation of task Force "LIBRA". The personnel were deployed all over Metro Manila against the enemy aggression and as a reserve force to the Presidentís Security Command.
Task Force "Banahaw"
As events turned significant for Mindoro Island, and with the recent developments in the National Priority Front for Progress and Countryside Infrastructure Development, the unit was re-deployed to the Towns of Mansalay and Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro OPCON came up with Task Force "Banahaw" on May 8, 2001. On August, 2001, the 204th Bde was activated and eventually, the unit was absorbed by the newly activated Brigade. The unit was able to establish its battalion headquarters in Sitio Haguinis, Brgy Wasig Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro. Its line companies covers those areas in the far-flung barangays of Bulalacao town, the primary task of which is to bring the peaceful atmosphere in the area through the conduct of Community-based-operation and the Modified/Engineered Especial Operations Teamsí "Ambassador of Goodwill." The unit also acted as catalyst of social change for the upliftment of MindoreŮos. The indigenous folks, thru their local officials, petitioned earlier to the National Leadership that the Maglilingkod troops be retained as their big brothers for lasting peace in the area. As a result of the untiring efforts exerted by the men of 16IB 48 regular members of the New Peoples Army (NPA) surrendered to the unit and back to the folds of the law.
On June 1, 2002, LTC. NORMAN OLIVER E. FEBIAR INF .(GSC) PA, one of the most decorated officers in the Army, took over as the new battalion commander of the unit. As a newly installed commander, LTC. FEBIAR was able to carry on the unitís mission. It was also able to continuously upgrade the morale and welfare of the troops. His bounty knowledge on Guerilla warfare and his being a dynamic and well-rounded leader will surely add laurels to the unitís profound and colorful history.