December 23, 1941

Silang, Cavite

Headquarters, 51st Division

 

Still no action. Troops ready in positions. Morale of men very high. Spent whole day running to a nearby foxhole every time Jap planes flew overhead. Several bombs dropped on grass field near ammunition dump but no damage done.

Ate with Silang’s parish priest. He gave me ham and eggs and coffee. He said he was glad the 51st was in Silang to defend the town from Japs who might land in Nasugbu Bay. “when there is a raid,” he said, “you may use the cellar of my church because it is very safe.”

Accompanied Gen. S. de Jesus during his inspection of front line and reserve lines. High spirit of troops impressed me. The boys are raring to fight and anxious to “knock out a couple of Japs.” One private raised the flag atop a ridge. Somebody said: “Better remove that because it will disclose our positions.” The general remarked: “Take every normal precaution but let’s keep the flag flying.”

Went to Signal Corps tent to listen to radio. Tuned in on San Francisco, Tokyo and Manila. Heard Ignacio Javier’s daily commentary on the news. Signal Corps officers said they intercepted Jap messages at about eleven last night. “There must be ships nearby” remarked the radio operator. On my way to the command post, I stopped at a store to buy several packages of Camel’s . When I offered to pay, the waitress said: “never mind, you are a soldier.” I insisted but she refused. She was a smart looking girl although somewhat plump.

Wrote Mama three nights ago. Asked her to stop worrying about me because I can take care of myself. Fred also wrote to his mother but his letter to his wife was longer. I wonder whom a man loves more, his wife or mother. Started writing to Morita but tore the letter because I didn’t know what to say or how to say what I wanted to say. Fred smiled and remarked: “I’ve gone through all that.”

Attended staff meeting which lasted until 9:30 p.m. The general said main effort of enemy being exerted on northern front. He said a huge enemy fleet of about 80 transports was sighted off Lingayen Gulf. He stated that Gen. Capinpin’s 21st division will be on hand to welcome the Japs. The general explained that this was the second enemy thrust upon the Lingayen sector. The first landing was attempted on December 12. The division G-2 pointed out that Jap troops from 40 transports landed in Atimonan. He said that MacArthur’s headquarters gave information that troops of General Parker in this area are “behaving very well but are greatly outnumbered.” He opined that if the enemy continues gaining ground our lines may be outflanked. It was decided to establish closer contact with units under Gen. Albert Jones to coordinate defensive efforts. Capt. Fred Castro was told to act as liason and he was given a fast Ford coupe and Signal Corps men for transmission of messages as need arises. The general told Fred that he must observe conditions in Camarines and Tayabas fronts and relay information to our command post continuously. “Be sure you don’t lay down on the job Fred because I don’t want our rear exposed.” Fred’s face beamed with importance.

It is a beautiful night. Thousands of stars in the sky. Fields are green, river beyond is quiet, papaya trees are about to bear fruits. I can feel a soft wind blowing on my face right now. The soldiers sitting under the trees in the orchard nearby are singing “Tayo na sa Antipolo.”

I’m homesick, really.