April 30, 1942

For the last couple of days, aerial attacks on Corrregidor have persisted intensely. An escapee from Bataan said that they are suffering from incessant bombings by hundreds of planes coming from all directions. Bataan has a length of some 70 kilometers while Corregidor is an island of two or three kilometers in width. Therefore, they cannot possibly be attacked simultaneously by so many bombers.

According to Tokyo, the carpet bombing is being launched to effect the surrender. Radio San Francisco, however, claims that Corregidor is still resisting. No attempts have been made to predict how long the resistance will endure.

Water in Manila is very scarce. Due to Japanese mismanagement of the waterwork system, water cannot be properly distributed. Electricity is likewise being rationed. Electic wires have disappeared and the operation of the electic plant is deficient.


April 30, 1942

Submitted to Mrs. Escoda the following list embodying the urgent needs of war prisoners in accordance with wishes expressed by officers and men now in Capaz.

I. FOOD

A. Organization: N.F.W.C., Girl’s Scouts, etc.

B. Necessary items: 1, rice; 2. mongo; 3. salt; 4. sugar, panocha; 5. camote, cassava, gabi; 6. lime, calamansi; 7. galletas, biscuits; 8. bananas, papaya, mangoes, guavas—any kind of fruit in season; 9. coffee, tea, ginger; 10. milk; 11. salted eggs.

II. MEDICAL SUPPLIES

A. Organization: Department of Health

B. Necessary items: 1. quinine, iodine, mercurochrome; 4. disinfectants (kreso, lysol, bichloride); 5. alcohol; 6. muslin for bandages; 7. tape; 8. cotton or kapok; 9. sulfathiazol.

III. CLOTHING

A. Organization: Women’s Committee

B. Necessary items; 1. undershirts, shirts, shorts, sweaters, socks; 2. blankets; 3. shoes, slippers; 4. towels.

IV. FINANCE

1. Personal solicitation. 2. Contribution in kind.

V. TRANSPORTATION

A men’s committee to take charge of arrangements for trucks, jitneys, etc., to transport personnel and supplies.

VI. UTENSILS

1. Cooking; 2. forks, knives, spoons, pans, bottles; 3. pitchers, basins; 4. rake, shovel, pick, brooms; 5. empty cans for glasses; 6. tissue paper; 7. empty gasoline cans for water and water wagons.

VII. DISTRIBUTION

1. Bureau of Health; 2. Women’s committee. 

VIII. FIELD WORKERS

Field workers operating under groups in charge of distribution are to be limited to Bureau of Health doctors, nurses, social workers There must be a strong, aggressive, efficient leader.

IX. GENERAL SUPPLIES

1. fuel; 2. cigarettes; 3. matches

The chief consideration is time. Relief must reach the camps with as little loss of time possible if more deaths are to be averted. Average deaths per day according to more accurate reports are over five hundred.

The Japanese are still very strict. They do not permit visitors. They prohibit relatives from sending food and medicine to the captives.

There is a rumor that one of the staff officers of the Japanese Army called Gen. Homma’s attention to the inhuman treatment accorded Filipino and American war prisoners. Gen. Homma was said to have answered: “Let them die, to atone for the thousands among us that also died.”

Today’s Tribune shows pictures of Recto, Yulo and Paredes drinking a toast with Japanese staff officers in a Malacañan reception.

Teofilo Yldefonso, world-famous breaststroker, several years Far Eastern Olympics’ record holder, died in Capaz. He was wounded in Bataan. In the concentration camp, gangrene developed in his wounds. No medicine could get to him. He died in a lonely nipa shed.

Today’s Tribune carriers a front-page item in bold type entitled “Correction” which gives an idea of Japanese mentality. The story follows:

“In yesterday’s editorial we made a mistake using the words ‘His Imperial Highness’ instead of ‘His Imperial Majestry.’ We hereby express our sincere regret about the matter.”

The Japanese soldier is not merely fired with patriotism. He is also inspired by a religious motive. The Emperor is his god.

Philip’s intimate friend, Johnnie Ladaw, was reported killed in Bataan, two hours after surrender. He was machine-gunned by a tank. Johnnie was No. 3 national ranking [tennis] player. He defeated Frank Kovacs of the U.S. at the Rizal court several months before the war.

When I look at our tennis court, I seem to see him. He was always smiling. Maybe he died smiling…


April 29, 1942 – Wednesday

7:30 a.m. We were advised by Captain Nelson, commander of the President Coolidge that a plane had been catapulted from the Richmond to locate the St. Louis a bigger U.S.N. Cruiser which was to meet us.

At 10 a.m. the St. Louis was on sight. Alarm was sounded, the soldiers rushed to their respective guns, and pointed them towards the direction where the cruiser was coming from. The cruiser Richmond immediately changed course and sailed to meet it with everything ready for battle. As the St. Louis approached and its identity was revealed calm reigned again in our ships. Then the Richmond returned to the Navy base somewhere in the Samoan Islands and the St. Louis escorted us. I saw Capain Nelson who informed me that he does not fear submarine attack, nor airplanes. The only possible attack would come from a ‘surface raider’ and we would be able to handle the situation.

Quite warm. Had lunch and dinner in the President’s cabin and stayed on deck until 1 a.m.


April 29, 1942

Emperor’s birthday. All houses were required to display the Japanese flag. Gen. Homma, Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Army, declared that Japan has succeeded in driving out the power of the United States and Britain in the Orient. Chairman Vargas expressed his gratitude “for the many acts of benevolence of the Imperial forces.”

In Camp O’Donnell, a nephew of mine, Tirso, died because no medicine could be given him. The Japanese Army prohibits the sending of medicines to the sick in Bataan.

Attended a party in Malacañan in honor of the Emperor’s birthday. There was plenty of food. I could not eat. I was thinking of the men starving in Capaz.


April 28, 1942

Contrary to rumors, there was no military parade to celebrate the Emperor’s birthday. Nor was there any display of military power. In fact, as a matter of Japanese tradition, the Emperor’s name was not officially mentioned.

The rumors, however, were well-founded. As a matter of fact, a member of the Committee on Festivities told me that a parade was considered, but the idea was abandoned, due perhaps to the public attitude.

The day’s solemnities were limited to a couple of banquets at the Manila Hotel and a reception at Malacañan, given by General Homma (they finally disclosed the name of the Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Forces) in honor of the Japanese-Filipino officialdom.

There was a sufficient display of Japanese flags. There was no official pressure, but somehow, they managed to threaten the Filipinos. Word spread that anyone caught without the Japanese flag would be punished. This was enough to make people display them in their houses, calesas, and bicycles. Most people stayed at home for safety’s sake.

Here is a typical sight: a woman was walking, carrying the flag dangling from her hands. When she saw two Japanese approaching, she raised it, and after passing the soldiers, she put the flag down again.

This is symbolic of the people’s attitude towards the new regime. There is no acclaim. Those who accept it do so out of fear. They never believe the slogans mouthed by the conquerors.

Some people sense a certain changes in the posture of the Japanese army since the fall of Bataan. There is less violence. The military police has disappeared from the city and it seems that the custody of peace and order has been left to the Filipino police. Soldiers move about freely among the people. They do not molest anyone, nor are they molested. It’s either that they cannot understand the people or they are not understood. Certainly it is obvious that the people are avoiding them.

They invade the stores, indulging in a buying spree of all sorts of jewelry and novelties. They are particularly fond of wrist watches, wearing them by the dozens at one time. They enjoy merry-making, and although the soldiers do not commit abuses, they give themselves to immoral excesses.


April 27-28, 1942

At sea. It is quite warm as we are now near the Fiji and Samoa Islands and approaching the equator. The sea is calmer.


April 28, 1942

According to the Tribune, the Department of Agriculture and Commerce is forming the necessary organization with which to carry out the out the plan to increase and stabilize rice production. The different steps to be taken in this respect, according to information, will be embodied in an Executive Order to be issued by Chairman Jorge Vargas of the Executive Commission, to whom the plan outlined by the Department regarding this matter has been referred for approval.

The Tribune this morning also reported that the Director of Plant Industry and experts of the Military Administration have come to an understanding as to how the Philippines can be made to produce enough rice to meet her own needs.

I’m glad our officials are taking a deep interest in the rice situation. I only hope the plans will not remain plans. Action not plans will stave off impending hunger.


April 27, 1942

The military authorities refuse to give out any information regarding the names and fate of the prisoners, most of whom are concentrated at Camp O’Donnell in Tarlac. Likewise, there is meager news about the prisoners of Bataan.

Many families are getting desperate about the whereabouts of their relatives, if they are not yet dead, that is. Malaria is rampant, and it is said that on the average, about 15 Americans and 30 Filipinos die of it daily.

Nine medical professors of Santo Tomas, some of whom had sons among the prisoners, and a good number of medical students, offered to attend to the sick prisoners. However, the Japanese did not accept them, saying that this would discredit their medical corps as being incapable of attending to the war victims.

I talked with some of the fighting men. Their accounts do not tally, as they each talked about events according to their respective experiences. Consequently, it is difficult to form an exact picture of the state of the Fil-American forces before the attack, during the surrender and after the fall. It seems that when the forces yielded, many of the soldiers who had been receiving good salaries during the war—something like ₱40.00 a month for soldiers—lost everything they had. Other soldiers had nothing to surrender except their arms.

A pre-war medical professor at the UST informed me that among the Bataan fighters, there are more of them afflicted with malaria and dysentery than those wounded in battle. The latter are relatively small in number, especially when compared to the casualties on the side of the Japanese. In Tarlac where he was imprisoned for two months, the Filipino captives are dying of despair, hunger and sickness. The Japanese lose no opportunity to humiliate and insult the Americans and the Filipinos who demonstrate any sign of loyalty to the Americans.

A dispatch from Domei stated that the number of prisoners has reached 62,600, 10,600 of whom are Americans. It added that 2,600 of these Americans are confined in military hospitals.

There are rumors that tomorrow, Emperor’s Day, there would be a grand military parade which will also be in commemoration of the fall of Bataan. However, no official announcement has yet been made to that effect.

Vargas ordered the hoisting of the Japanese flag in all public buildings and appealed to private individuals to do the same in their respective houses. He also prohibited the use of the Philippine flag, on advice of the High Command.

The people are uncertain and reluctant to carry out these directives. On the one hand, they fear being branded as collaborators. On the other hand, they fear the Japanese. If the administration would put more pressure, there would expectedly be many houses displaying the Japanese flag.