Diary of Basilio J. Valdes

February 19, 1942 – Thursday

I spoke with the President and asked him for permissions to go to Bataan. At 1 p.m. Major Velasquez and I, on the launch of the Apo, went to San Jose, Mariveles. Captain Lee Stevens and Mr. Boquer took advantage of our boat to return to Bataan. We arrived at San Jose. Lee, Boquer and Major Velasquez proceeded North. I waited for General de Jesus. In the meanwhile, I inspected Captain Bautista and Major Turingan’s coast defenses. I saw the Bautista family of Malolos who were near Captain Bautista’s place.

When General de Jesus arrived I went to visit Mrs. Segundo, and Mrs. P. Martelino and Mrs. A. Martelino who are camped near the U.S. Cavalry camp inside of the forest Km 167. From there I went to the Philippine Army Ordinance Depot to inspect. Neat, well kept. Men doing good work, however, I am worried about all the Enfield rifles that are stored there, in case the enemy brakes through our lines.

Then I went to the Command Post of General McBride where we discussed the situation of the civilian population and the morale of the troops. He is very understanding of the Filipino psychology and our needs.

At 4:15 p.m. I returned to San Jose. I wanted to return early to be in Corregidor for dinner. We celebrated Mrs. Quezon’s birthday we ordered a cake.

When I arrived I found that all the baggage was ready to leave. I rushed home to get my things ready, packed rapidly and saw that my things were sent to the dock. Then I went to the dock with Colonel Nieto.

As we were leaving the tunnel, the truck that was to carry important boxes arrived with the guards. The officer in charge told me that the enemy was shelling the dock. We waited l/2 hour and then we proceeded. We supervised the loading of all baggage, rice and other cargo on the barge which pulled out at 11 p.m. for the SS Don Esteban. All the members and personnel of the Presidential party with the exception of President, his family, his war cabinet & Colonel Nieto left at midnight, en route for an undisclosed destination. The captain was given sealed orders.

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