121° 4' 0" E / 14° 35' 0" N Zablan Field was located to the east of Highway 54 (EDSA) and Cubao in Quezon City, near Manila. Also known as Camp Murphy Airfield or Manila East Airfield. One mile to the east was Zablan Auxiliary Airfield.
Built prewar by the US Army on Camp Murphy. The original runways were a pair of intersecting sod runways adjacent to the parade ground at Camp Murphy.
Later renamed "Zablan Field" in honor of Major Porfirio E. Zablan, PAAC pilot who died in a plane crash on June 17, 1935.
This was the first constructed military airfield manned by the Philippine Constabulary Air Corps (PCAC). Intended primarily for pilot training, the PCAC later became the Philippine Army Air Corps (PAAC) on December 23, 1935.
The first class of six PAAC students: Alandy, Villamor, Reyes, Zosa, Cruz, Wuirante and Padilla had no uniforms other than overalls and none were accommodated at Zablan, and had to be shuttled to the airfield's only 4 wheel drive vehicle. While serving on General MacArthur's staff, Major Dwight Eisenhower learned to fly with the PAAC at Zablan Airfield.
Philippine Army Corps Units based at Zablan
6th Pursuit Squadron (P-26) 1941
Occupied by the Japanese when they occupied Manila. The Japanese enhance to Zablan Airfield building two intersecting runways further to the south-east in an inverted L shape. One runway was E-W while the other was N-S.
Japanese units based at Murphy
29th Sentai (Ki-44, Ki-84) also Zablan Auxiliary Airfield
After the war, it was renamed Camp Emilio Aguinaldo (first president of the Philippines). Since Highway 54 (old name of EDSA) split the Camp Murphy, the other half located on the eastern side of Highway 54 was later named Camp Crame (after Brig Gen Rafael Crame, the first Filipino PC chief), where the Philippine Constabulary was headquartered. Now its the HQ of the Philippine National Police.
Disused as an airfield since the war, it is now known as "Camp Aguinaldo". Today, it is the national headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), located close to the national headquarters of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The former Japanese runways forms the roads of White Plains Avenue and a portion of Katipunan Avenue, just in front of White Plains subdivisions. If you happen to pass by Santolan Avenue, the two concrete water towers fronting the entrance are original since the 1930s.
Tony Feredo adds:
"I have a photo of Zablan taken from the air which shows the entire compound and reservoir plus a sketch of the Japanese enhanced runways."
Armed Forces of the Philippines Museum (AFP Museum)
Located at General Arturo Enrile Building behind parade ground
Thanks to Tony Feredo for additional information
Wings Over The Philippines, page 37
War Airfields Project - Zablan (Camp Murphy, Manila East)
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
April 7, 2020