Nieves Fernandez: The Deadliest Teacher of World War II

During World War II, many Filipinos cowered at the sight of a Japanese soldier wielding a gun. Well, not Nieves Fernandez, better known as “Miss Fernandez”. This seemingly gentle school teacher from the humble town of Tacloban turned “John Wick.” against 200 Japanese soldiers when they threatened to kill her precious students.

The Japanese Killer of Tacloban

The Japanese arrived in the Philippines as bullies, ransacking whatever they could from Filipinos. Businesses were not permitted, and teachers were banned to teach except those recognized by the Imperial of Japan.

Tacloban was not spared from the atrocities of the Japanese soldiers, but Nieves Fernandez decided that she was not having any of it, especially when they took away her business and threatened her students.

Fernandez suited up for war and became known as “The Silent Killer.” Dressing in all-black and camouflaging herself in the darkness of the jungle, she assassinated soldiers using only her home-made shotgun, which she made out of a gas pipe, and her trusty bolo knife.

Miss Fernandez carried this kind of tactic for two and a half years. The jungle was her death trap and Japanese troops who went in, weren’t meant to come out alive. Sometimes, she would even take out dozens of enemy soldiers alone.

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From Teacher Fernandez to Captain Fernandez

In time, her killing spree of Japanese soldiers inspired some of the men in Tacloban. During this period, Nieves Fernandez transitioned from being a mother figure to schoolchildren to honing men how to kill stealthily. The 110 guerrillas under her command gave her the fitting title of “Captain Fernandez.”

She led her modest army with such efficiency and deadliness that even the American soldiers were shocked that a woman was leading them. As a matter of fact, Captain Fernandez was the one and only female guerrilla commander in the Philippines during World War II.

The 10k Bounty

You know you are feared if your enemy puts a P10,000 bounty on your head because that is just what the Japanese did to Captain Fernandez. This was of course in hopes that her fellow Filipinos would betray her. Thankfully, no one did.

Throughout World War II, Fernandez and her fierce company would perform small but effective missions to weaken the Japanese Imperial Army in the Philippines. This included sabotaging their supplies and conducting hundreds of raids.

By the end of World War II, Captain Fernandez and her small guerrilla army had freed many villages from the Japanese. They also rescued numerous comfort women.

May your legacy live forever, Nieves Fernandez.

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