A Celebration of Life
Not Your Average WWII Freedom Fighter
Friday, January 14, 2011

Section: EP Chapter

A longtime El Paso Chapter of  MOAA member and officer, Rosalinda Aberin Huligañga Ancheta, age 91, died Tuesday, November 23, 2010. She died peacefully at home after a stroke in October. .  For many years, Rosalinda served as Chapter Secretary and admirably volunteered for other duties as required to ensure that the Chapter functioned in a professional manner. Rosalinda was a member of the El Paso Chapter’s Chapter Staff Emeritus. 

Born March 23, 1919, in Naguilian, La Union province, Luzon, Philippines, she was the daughter of Paulino Orion Huligañga and Agueda Aberin Huligañga. 

Her brothers, Brigido d.1926, Leandro d.1925, Ariston d.1985, Segismundo d.1985, Sixto d.1921, Pacifico of Singapore, Renato d.1965, and Jose d.April 11, 2010, and her only sister, Leocadia d.1997, worked in a variety of professions - law, and mining, civil, and electrical engineering, as well as teaching in the family's finishing school. Her parents owned a bakery at the southwest corner of the town square across the street from the market. 
When she was a senior at the University of the Philippines, the islands were plunged into WWII by simultaneous attacks on Pearl Harbor and Manila. Despite the mass dislocations that followed, she safely made her way back to her family in Naguilian. As war continued and enemy surveillance grew, Rosalinda decided to join the Resistance movement -- under the command of Major Russell Volckmann who organized and trained the Filipino guerillas into a fighting force that engaged and evaded the enemy. (Volckmann escaped from surrendered US troops that later made the Bataan Death March.) 
There she met 2LT Carlos F. Ancheta, US Army Military Intelligence Division. Ancheta had clandestinely returned to the Philippines by submarine and with his radioman hiked into the Cordillera. His mission was to provide Volckmann with secret information as they readied for MacArthur's return. 
Carlos and Rosalinda married March 22, 1945 in the mountains of Luzon and could hear enemy gunfire while they exchanged their vows (in English, as the bride spoke Ilocano and the groom spoke Tagalog). The Raymonds of Big Sur CA sent fabric for her wedding gown and - because she did not want to be barefoot - the US Army unit gave the bride the smallest pair of combat boots they could find. 
An Army wife, she followed her husband to postings from Luzon to Manila, the Presidio in San Francisco, Ft Lewis, Paso Robles, Ft Benning, Bremerhaven, Ft Leonard Wood, settling in Ft Bliss and El Paso, Texas. A teacher in the El Paso Independent School District for 25 years, she retired in 1987. 
Her affiliations include the Asian-Pacific Islander Caucus NEA, Kappa Kappa Iota, ROAL (now MOA), AAUW, TRTA, EPPTA, and the Filipino-American Association of El Paso. Her husband Major (ret) Carlos F. Ancheta died in 2003. 
Survivors include a large and loving family in the US, Canada, and the Philippines, children Caesar and Ruth Ancheta (Brookfield WI), Susan and Rowe Freelin (Richmond VA), and Betty and Michael Brody (Reston VA). Her grandchildren Claire, Rebecca, Amy, Alex, and Zeke are all grown and pursuing their respective careers. 
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