With the concurrence of my BC Sr Inspector, I formed an Intelligence Unit initially composed of BC Sgt. Norberto Aquino (Nautical School Grad), Guillermo Aban, Fernando Asuncion & Pablo Naval. Aban, Asuncion & Naval are key members of the underground 14th Inf, considered civilian informers I issued official I.D. Cards to facilitate our contacts. Sgt. Aquino is my close confidant but does not know the three civilian informers are underground members.
Today, Lt. Leandro Rosario paid me a courtesy call telling me he is a surrendered former Intelligence O. of LCol. Nakar 14th Inf., now working with Gov. Demetrio Quirino with a group that were former GANAP followers of Benigno Ramos an anti-govt subversives during the Commonwealth years. Lt. Rosario said he and his group are working for peace and order and wants to coordinate with the BC.
Yesterday, Mrs. Reyes found a house of the Sadang family available by Dec. 15 for rent. I found the house spacious with three bedrooms, big sala and dining room so I signed a month to month lease at P35.00 per month. The house is only a block from my office, in an excellent neighborhood in front of the governor’s residence.
Yesterday I visited the town of Aritao, hometown of Cpl. R. Salazar one of my BC escorts and met the town officials including the Chief of Police who briefed me on the peace and order situation. They were all happy to receive me. The Mayor tendered a dinner for me and we stayed overnight at Cpl. Salazar’s spacious family residence. I learned that the 14th Inf. Grlas. was initially organized in this town in Jan. 1942 from units of the 11th and 71st Divs., USAFFE, that retreated here after superior Japanese landings in Lingayen Gulf and could not make it to Bataan.
Early today we went to the strategic town of Santa Fe and met the town officials. This town is the northern most town where Balete Pass is located and acts as a cork to a bottle. Access to this province is controlled here. The Chief of Police and the Mayor briefed me of the apparent peaceful situation. In my remarks I always stressed faithful service for our people and the importance of peace and order to normal life.
By early evening I arrived back in Bayombong, happy to have completed my reconnaissance visits to all N. Vizcaya towns. I am pleased to have met all the officials I have to work with. I am, more or less, impressed with the province and the people which made me decide to bring my family to Bayombong as soon as I can.
Since my arrival in Bayombong, I started familiariazing myself with the town area and people. I visited all sectors and met many families such as the Madellas, Mendozas, Zuraeks, Gonongs, Prudenciado-Lozano, Reyeses aside from the provincial and municipal officials appointed by the Japanese Adm. The peace and order appears artificial as the people live in fear of the Japanese that committed atrocities during the early part of the occupation. I can gauge their true feelings from the Madellas I gained rapport as one of the members of the family I knew lived in Malolos, Bulacan when I was in high school.
With permission from my Sr. Inspector, I began familiarizing myself with other towns. There are only seven towns in N. Vizcaya and last Nov. 13, I went to Bagabag town accompanied by two NCOs. Bagabag is the northern most town, met the town officials and police chief who briefed me on peace and order. In the afternoon, I visited barrio Paniqui where Capt. Guillermo Aban is waiting. I conferred with him in private reminding him to keep control of the members of his company while laying low and to keep the 15 firearms secured under his personal care. He gave me a roster of his troops totaling 55. I am impressed with barrio Paniqui and the people’s attitude.
The following day, Nov. 14, I visited Solano town, met the town officials and had a briefing by the Police Chief. Then I visited remote barrio Ibung at the foot of Cordillera Mt. where Capt. Fernando Asuncion and Cpl. Pablo Naval were waiting. I was specially happy to see Naval to know that he belongs to Capt. Asuncion’s Co. with the rank of Cpl. I adviced them in private to be careful, that they are lucky not to be in the Watch List of the Kempei-Tai and to facilitate their contact with me, I will appoint them BC Special Agents by the end of the month. Capt. Asuncion furnished me also a roster of his troops totaling 53 with twenty firearms hidden at the foot of the Mt. I reminded them to lay low, keep control of the troops and gather intelligence to be reported by Naval verbally, nothing in writing.
Yesterday, Nov. 15, I spent the whole day in Bambang town and today, in Dupax to meet their town officials and briefings by their Police Chiefs. It also serves as my courtesy call on them which was appreciated. After visiting five of the seven towns of N Vizcaya and observing the peace and order conditions, I am beginning to think this place is much better place to reside at present than Manila or Bulacan. I therefore, requested Mrs. Reyes to help me find a house I can rent to bring my family in Bayombong before Christmas.
Today I checked out from Bayombong Hotel and transferred as a boarder with Mrs. Maria Reyes who operates a Restaurant adjacent to BC Compound. The Reyes Bldg. is a large two storey one with the Restaurant on the first floor and the second floor a Clubhouse with three rooms for rent. Mrs. Reyes hails from N. Ecija, I love her Tagalog food and her place is very near my office. The Clubhouse serves as the HQ of the Lions Club and rentable for social affairs.
Last night, I was invited by Belgian Fr. Lambrecht for dinner at his Parish residence.. As mentioned before, after he learned I am a USAFFE O. who saw action in Bataan, he manifested his hatred on the Japanese due to their cruelty. After dinner, he showed me his hidden short wave radio and listened to a news broadcast from a station in San Francisco that narrated gains of the Marines and the US Navy in Solomons area. The Allies are also reported gaining in the African Front. At one point, Gen. MacArthur’s HQ adviced the Guerrillas in the Phil. to lay low and just concentrate on training and on gathering of intelligence info. This is no time for combat due to lack of firearms and ammo which can not be supplied yet, it added. Possession of short wave radios are prohibited by the Japanese as they do not want the people to know foreign news. Those with short wave radios are risking their lives.
This morning, I made a courtesy call on the N. Vizcaya Kempei-tai Chief, Lt. Kumatsusaki at his office. I was warmly received knowing we are expected to work together on peace and order. When I asked him if he knew Maj. Suguiyama and Lt. Fukushima, he said he worked with both of them before specially Fukushima. Our rapport became better after I said Lt. Fukushima is my friend. I then asked him what problems we have on peace and order and he said since the capture of Col. Nakar ’32 in Isabela, head of the Grla. Gp. operating in Cagayan Valley, and the death of Capt. Agustin Prudenciado ’33, peace and order have improved as the Grlas. have disbanded. However, he mentioned remnants under certain Lts. Quines, Dumlao, Dela Cruz, and Navarro probably under Major Enriquez in his list. He also mentioned three American officers namely Cols. Moses & Noble as well as Capt. Ralph Praeger with another group in his wanted list. I said I am new in the area and don’t know anything but appreciated all the info he gave me. I assured him of my cooperation for the sake of peace and order for our people, with the hope that we can work together closely by exchanging information. Finally, when I asked Lt. Kumatsusaki who is the overall boss of the Kempei-tai to whom he reports, he said he is Col. Akiro Nagahama whose HQ is in Manila.
I noted that the Kempei-tai office in Bayombong has only three uniformed military and the five others I met were civilian Japanese men who probably lived in the Phil. before as they can speak Ilocano and Tagalog. They were all formally introduced to me by Lt. Kumatsusaki.
Nov. 7 is a Saturday and I formally took command of 1st N. Vizcaya BC Co. from 5″ Cl. Insp. M. Alvarez. I conducted Saturday Inspection of the Co. and took my lunch at the Company Mess with the EM. After lunch, I gave a few remarks regarding services for our people during our present trying time. Our BC Company occupies the former St. Mary’s High School with spacious buildings and parade grounds.
I am still staying in Bayombong Hotel but am looking for a house to rent. Today, being a Sunday, I went to Church to thank my Divinor for All His Blessings and Guidance in being safe here. After Mass, I met the Parish Priest Fr. Lambrecht, a Belgian who is outspokenly pro-American after learning I am a USAFFE Officer who saw action in Bataan and was a POW.
When I reported to my new BC post three days ago (Nov. 5), needless to say N. Vizcaya BC Sr. Inspector Antonio C. Diano ’19 my superior and BCA classmate, was so happy to welcome me at his office where we had a private conversation. He knew my Lanao assignment but I have to tell my “malaria story” that allowed me to escape from reporting there but said nothing on how I was sent to Bayombong. He briefed me about our BC Co. and expressed his desire that I relieve the present CO (Insp. M. Alvarez) who belongs to the first BCA graduates and no previous military experience. He commented that we are lucky to be assigned to a sparsely populated province with a temperate climate like Baguio whose peace and order is manageable now that the guerrillas are on the run since the capture of Col. Nakar ’32 and death of Capt. Agustin Prudenciado ’33.
Nov. 6, a Friday, Sr Inspector Diano accompanied me to the offices of the provincial officials and introduced me to the provincial governor Demetrio Quirino, Prov. Fiscal Atty. Madarang and Judge of the Court of 1st Instance, Nicanor Roxas and the Mayor of Bayombong, Victor Bobila, who happened to be there. This serves as my courtesy call also on them and I was welcomed warmly by everyone. Sr. Insp. Diano, however, warned me to be careful of all of them as they are appointed by the Japanese administration whose loyalty is uncertain, great remarks by a USAFFE comrade I shall remember.
Nov. 7 is a Saturday and I formally took command of 1st N. Vizcaya BC Co. from 5″ Cl. Insp. M. Alvarez. I conducted Saturday Inspection of the Co. and took my lunch at the Company Mess with the EM. After lunch, I gave a few remarks regarding services for our people during our present trying time. Our BC Company occupies the former St Mary’s High School with spacious buildings and parade grounds.
I am still staying in Bayombong Hotel but am looking for a house to rent. Today, being a Sunday, I went to Church to thank my Divinor for All His Blessings and Guidance in being safe here. After Mass, I met the Parish Priest Fr Lambreth, a Belgian who is outspokenly pro-American after learning I am a USAFFE Officer who saw action in Bataan and was a POW.
Go Beng’s Truck came to pick me up at 0830 three days ago (Nov 3) at my Tennessee residence for my trip to N. Vizcaya. It was a pleasant surprise to see Mr. Go Beng himself who told me he was going to Tuguegarao. Before bidding my wife goodbye I introduced her to Mr. Go Beng, then started our trip with me seated in the front seat with Mr. Go Beng and the driver. There were five other passengers accommodated with the merchandise area. I developed a good rapport with Mr. Go Beng who owns six trucks trading merchandise from Manila to Cagayan Valley. Trucks like he has are rare with shortage of fuel and travel very slow with the mixture of alcohol and gasoline as fuel. We finally arrived in San Jose, N. Ecija (after a short stop in Cabanatuan for lunch) at 5:00 P.M. or eight hours that normally only takes four. We stayed overnight in San Jose and early the following day, Nov. 4, we were climbing the rugged Cordillera Mt. towards Santa Fe, the first town of Vizcaya. The area we just passed is an excellent place for ambuscade, reason for not traveling at night. We then passed the town of Aritao and had lunch in Bambang after which we proceeded to Bayombong arriving at Bayombong Hotel at 1400H.
While checking at the hotel, the Manager, Mr. Verzosa, handed me a note from Lt. Col. (not Major anymore) Manuel Enriquez that he wanted to see me ASAP. I have an excellent accommodation and at 1700H, Pablo Naval knocked at my door and once inside, told me the bad news that L.Col. Nakar and his men were captured by the Japanese at Jones, Isabela area and that L.Col. Enriquez took over the command while the rest of the units are on the run. Naval told me that Enriquez wanted to see me ASAP and since he knows where he is, I agreed to go as soon as it gets dark. He had a caretela ready and took off towards Solano as soon as dusk fell. At barrio Bonfal, we debarked, walked about two kms westward and arrived at the place where I will meet Enriquez. It is 9:00pm and I waited another half hour at this place which is at the foot of the mountain, where a group of men that included Enriquez arrived.
Manolo Enriquez was excited and embraced me like a long lost brother. Needless to say I was very happy and grateful. He then introduced me as Major Alcaraz, handing me my appointment with the 14th Inf. He said it was unfortunate Col. Nakar was captured but we have to carry on the mission. I was to Command the new N. Vizcaya Bn. to compose the company under Capt. Guillermo Aban and the company under Capt. Fernando Asuncion together with the BC Company. Capts. Aban and Asuncion were introduced to me and then we moved to another room for confidential intructions and info that include the fact that the 14th Inf. is on the run, the need for secrecy discipline and that he is moving his HQ to Baguio area. I demanded that there be no written communications, that messages between him and me would be transmitted verbatim by an intelligent loyal courier for which Pablo Naval was agreed upon. It was also agreed that our initial activities are to lay low, organize and collect intelligence while I familiarize myself with the people and terrain of N. Vizcaya.
I stayed the entire evening catching up events with L.Col. Enriquez as we slept on adjacent cots. He told me he will inform other unit Comdrs. in the Field like Maj. Romulo Manriquez, Capt. Patricio Dumlao and Lt. Luis Casumpang about me and the new Bn. I will command. He also mentioned that Don Juan Elizalde is our Financial Supporter and that other associates like Col. Alfredo Ramirez and Capt. Juan Calvo may contact me later.
Early this morning, after breakfast, Pablo Naval escorted me back to barrio Bonfal where the caretela was waiting and I went back alone to Bayombong Hotel. After lunch, I dressed up with my BC uniform as 5th Class Inspector, and reported to HQ, BC Bayombong whose Senior Inspector Antonio C. Diano ’19 is so happy to welcome me. I found that we have a BC Company composed mostly of former PA and Phil. Scout soldiers many of whom are Bataan veterans. I like my assignment here specially the temperate climate like Baguio. My reporting formally to this BC post makes my written obligations signed as a POW fulfilled. I feel free again!
My San Lazaro Hospital malingering helped me escape that Mindanao assignment and in the process, my providential contact with my former PMA mentor Maj. Manuel P. Enriquez, ExO. 14t Inf. Guerillas of LCol. G. Nakar, made possible my new assignment in Bayombong, N. Vizcaya. I look forward to going to my new post, specially what Maj. Enriquez has in store for me. I plan to go to Bayombong alone leaving my family in Manila to adjust to my new environs but my problem is transportation. It is a problem nationwide. There are no public transportation anywhere since the Japanese occupation.
Last night, a man visited me at home with a note of introduction from Maj. Enriquez saying that bearer, Pablo Naval, is his man from N. Vizcaya that may be of help. With regards to transportation, Mr. Naval confirmed no public transportation but only private business traders using trucks are available going to Cagayan Valley. And so today, Mr. Naval accompanied me to Azcarraga St. and helped me book with Mr. Go Beng, a chinese merchant leaving Manila Nov. 3 arriving Bayombong Nov. 4. Mr. Naval also suggested that I check in Bayombong Hotel on my arrival there as he will make reservations for me when he returns by the end of the month. Now that my transportation problem is solved, I started preparing for my journey to Cagayan Valley where the 14th Infantry is operating. Before Mr. Naval departed I asked him if it is possible I could meet Maj. Enriquez Nov. 4 or 5, or before I report to the Senior Inspector, BC in Bayombong who does not know my arrival date.
Since my release from the hospital more than a week ago, I have been reporting daily to Misc Gp, BC Hq commuting between our Tennessee home and BC Hq. Am still apprehensive about the result of the investigation ordered by Maj. Suguiyama about my failure to report to my designated station, Lanao. Today, I got the good news apparently clearing me. The hospital records and my written testimony proved the validity of my hospitalization. I also understand Lt. Fukushima believed my malaria story.
Today, BC HQ issued orders rescinding my Lanao assignment. In another paragraph of the order, I am assigned to BC, Bayombong, N. Vizcaya with orders to proceed thereat on first available transportation. It is apparent that Maj. Enriquez has a man at BC HQ with this development.