Diary of Basilio J. Valdes

February 21, 1942 – Saturday

I awoke at 5 a.m. I had 4 hours of fairly good rest although I woke up several times because my hip bones were protesting at the hardness of my improvised bed. I washed and received Holy Communion.

At 6 a.m. Captain Smith (Commander) of the Submarine came to inform us that 6:20 a.m. (daylight saving time) the hour of sun risem, he would submerge the submarine. At the announced time we noticed the maneuver. The tower of the submarine was 38 ft. below the surface, the keel 64 ft. We did not notice any untoward symptom until about 2 hours later when it began to get quite warm. The temperature kept on rising until it reached 94 degrees Fahrenheit by noon, but what made it so uncomfortable was the tremendous, humidity of 92%. I had a small towel to wipe my continuous perspiration. The officers and crew wore short pants and went naked from waist up. The President and Mrs. Quezon kept on sponging themselves with ice water. At 1 p.m. there was no more ice, and the refrigerator was working at full blast. Commander Smith informed us that at 6:20 p.m. he would come to the surface. From that time, I kept on looking at my watch. The hours seemed centuries, and the minutes exceedingly long. Finally the long awaited moment arrived. What a relief! It was wonderful to feel again the caress of fresh air on our faces. Unfortunately, however our happiness was short lived, because the wind became strong, the sea rough and the submarine danced and rolled. Mrs. Quezon, the girls, Nonong, the Chief Justice, Colonel Nieto and Father Ortiz were extremely sea sick. I would also have been sea sick had I not rushed to the command tower and there stood under the stairway where a strong gust of fresh wind blew continuously. At 8 p.m. they called me for dinner. I went, but it was useless. I had taken two spoons of soup then I rushed out for some fresh air. At 10 p.m. we had reached the coast of Panay and the sea was calmer. I was able to have something to eat. I tried to have some sleep on the command tower but impossible. It had to sit on the floor and lean on the wall as the place was very small. All lights were out and as a result I was stepped on three times and I decided to go down to the cabins.

We arrived at San Jose de Buenavista, Antique at 2:30 a.m. Fifteen minutes later we were advised that the launch that was supposed to meet us was approaching. We stopped one mile from the coast.

In the launch were General J. C. Quimbo and Colonel Powell. We left the submarine after bidding good-bye to the Commander and the other officers and left on the launch for the dock. Cars were waiting for us and we proceeded to Iloilo city. The SS Don Esteban arrived a little later and proceeded to a hiding place during the day.

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