Diary of Basilio J. Valdes

December 31, 1941 – Wednesday

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Got up at 4 a.m. Left Army and Navy Club at 5 a.m. Arrived Corregidor at 6:10 a.m. after a slightly rough trip. The North East monsoon was blowing quite hard. Upon arrival I reported the results of my trip to President Quezon and General MacArthur. Both were pleased and congratulated me for the success of my mission.

At 5 p.m. while I was at Cottage 605, the telephone rang. It was a long distance from Manila. I rushed to answer. It was my aide Lieutenant Gonzalez informing that the ship would be ready to sail, but the Captain refused to leave unless he had the charts for trip, and same could not be had in Manila. I told Lieutenant Gonzalez to hold the line and I asked Colonel Huff who was at General MacArthur’s Quarters next door, and he told me that the charts of the Casiana could be given. I informed Lieutenant Gonzalez. Half an hour later Lieutenant Gonzalez again called me and told me that the boat would leave at 6:30 p.m.

I was tired. After dinner I retired. At 10:30 p.m. a U.S. Army Colonel woke me up to inform me that the ship was still in Pier N-1 and that the Captain refused to sail unless he had the charts. We contacted USAFFE Headquarters. We were informed that the Don Esteban was within the breakwater. We gave instructions that the charts of the Don Esteban be given to the Captain of the SS Mactan and that those of the Casiana would be given to the SS Don Esteban.

I then called Collector of Customs Mr. de Leon, and asked him to see that the ship sails even if he had to put soldiers on board and place the Captain under arrest.

At 11:40 p.m. we were advised by phone that the SS Mactan, the hospital ship had left the Pier at 11:30 p.m. We all gave a sigh of relief. I went back to bed. And so ended 1941 for me. I could not sleep; I thought of home, of those dear to me, and I felt a terrible nostalgia. How hard life is at times. It is a good thing, that we have the faith in our God to lean on. I hope and pray that the much needed assistance from the U.S. will come very soon, so that we may eject the invaders from our country, and be able to return to Manila to our homes and our dear ones.

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