Somewhere deep in the Sierra Madre Mountains, located in the Cordillera Central of the Philippines, a vast treasure worth billions of dollars is purported to have been hidden by the retreating Japanese Imperial Army just before General Tomoyuki Yamashita’s surrender to the American allies, more than sixty years ago. Known as “The Tiger of Malaya”, legend says that General Yamashita hid this valuable loot that had been collected from all over Asia in a network of tunnels throughout the Philippine Islands. However, after General Yamashita’s arrest by American forces and subsequent execution in 1946, all traces of any maps leading to these hidden tunnels were reported to have vanished.
Vic Warren’s impeccable research stems from his love of reading and his background in advertising and design. He says that one of the things that makes working in advertising so interesting is constantly dealing with new ideas and clients. Designing for an airline presents very different problems and opportunities from designing for a timber company or a bank. To be effective, a broad education does nothing but get broader. Fortunately, the era of carrying stacks of books from the library has been replaced by acquiring the art of using search engines online. So much information is now right at your fingertips if you know where to look.
The Yamashita legend has been of interest to Warren for years, especially because of his links with friends who are Filipino. The idea of the legend is sound, since the Japanese army occupied so much of Asia. The vast resources and numbers of people with wealth could certainly have been a source for a treasure worth many billions of dollars. The legend was made more interesting with the rumors during the Seventies that Ferdinand Marcos himself had found the treasure, providing an explanation for his wealth, when it was much more likely that he skimmed the foreign aid being given the Philippines by other countries.
For more than half a century thousands have searched and researched for the location of this legendary treasure. It would be interesting, indeed, if someday, someone actually found it. In the meantime, read Stairway of the Gods for the fictional discovery and its repercussions.