At 3 a.m. the honorable president received a report from Guinaang settlement to the effect that some 100 Americans are en route here to attack us. This news was confirmed about 5 o’clock in the afternoon by two letters; one from Dolores and the other from Balbalasan, both of which state that the Americans are going to attack us.
At 7 this morning the honorable president, accompanied by Señors Barcelona, Gatmaitan, Carasco, and a squad of cavalry, set out to reconnoiter the roads leading to the settlements of Guinaang and Balimbing. At 8 o’clock at night Señor V. received telegram (sic) from the honorable president, stating that they had arrived in Guinaang without incident, and that they would spend the night there.
It was discovered this morning that the honorable president’s personal servant had escaped last night, carrying away with him a Remington carbine, 40 cartridges, clothing, and other things. This servant is an Igorrote, a native of Banane, and has been serving the honorable president since we were in that settlement.
Nothing of importance.
The honorable president is preparing for a decisive attack on Bangued.
On the afternoon of the 9th the honorable president attended the drilling by the soldiers, and his attention was attracted to a 16-year-old boy among them, who, besides being well versed in tactics, showed by his bearing that he was of noble and refined parents. The honorable president, unable to resist his affection for the boy, had Major Gatmaitan called, and then asked him who that boy was. The major told him that the boy was a son of the lawyer Ventus, of Nueva Ecija Province, who was shot by the Spaniards during the revolution of 1896. Then the honorable president at once sent for the boy, who did not delay in presenting himself, and asked him who he was, and how and by what means he had entered the army. The boy replied that his name was Paquito Ventus, a son of a man shot by the Spaniards; that his father was a paralytic years before the misfortune; that his mother had also been dead some time; that he had eight brothers, but five of these were minors like himself; that impelled by the profound grief under which he was suffering he entered the Filipino ranks of General Tinio’s brigade; that his present rank was that of a corporal; and that during a fight with the Americans in Ilocos he was on the point of being captured, but owing to the fight taking place in the mountains he had been able to escape by climbing up among the precipices.
When asked by the honorable president if his ideas were firm and inflexible, he replied that he would prefer to live and die in these mountains rather than submit to foreign rule. The honorable president immediately ordered the captain of the company to strike Ventus’s name off the rolls, as the honorable president would take charge of him. Since then Ventus has been in the honorable president’s quarters, being well treated and considered as a veritable son.
Through investigation made by Lieutenant Valentin it became known this morning that the Christian prisoners captured by Captain Pilar on the 16th of March, and who were suspected by the honorable president, are the accomplices of the Igorrote Binuangan, and the originators of the information report which he wrote.
By the order of the honorable president, this morning at 5 o’clock 25 soldiers, under command of officers Del Pilar and Valentin, set out for the Guilayen settlement to secure in said settlement some 20 carabaos to furnish us all meat, and likewise some salt, since for some days we have been eating neither meat nor salt, though we have never been in want of rice, which exists here in abundance.
By order of the honorable president, all the sergeants and corporals have been practicing with the heliograph since 9 o’clock this morning.
After supper, which was at 6 o’clock, the honorable president, in a conversation with B., V., and Lieutenant Carasco, told them that as soon as the independence of our country was declared he would give each one of them an amount of land equal to what he himself will take for the future of his own family, that is, he will give each one of the three Señores 13,500 acres of land as a recompense for their work; and also that these plantations will be located adjoining one another in such a manner that they will lie in the same province. In all probability they will be located in the San Jose Valley, province of Nueva Ecija, and the principal products will be coffee, cocoa, sugar, rice, and cattle.
About 8.30 Señor Carasco withdrew in order to go to sleep. When he was beginning to go to bed, Lieutenant Carasco, the adjutant, came back calling for the honorable president and crying out “A coup! Good news!” Then the honorable president and his two companions, V. and B., got up at once, struck a light and bade Lieutenant Carasco to enter. The lieutenant came and delivered to the honorable president an official report from Captain Villareal, dated 13th instant, in which he informs the honorable president that in the Pial settlement, in the jurisdiction of Abra, our forces, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Villamor, had successfully couped 200 Americans. It came about in this way: By means of their spies, the American troops in Abra got news that the Filipino forces were in quasi hiding at the Pial settlement. The United States military commander in Abra Province at once ordered 200 Americans to go to said settlement for the purpose of capturing or pursuing said insurgents. Those brave Americans started out immediately, without paying any attention to the difficulties of the mountain through which they were to pass. Night came on, and they were still a long way from Pial settlement. So they had to rest in the rice fields where night overtook them, probably intending to resume the march on the next day. But at midnight Lieutenant-Colonel Villamor’s column took advantage of the sound sleep of the Americans, closed in on them in a small circle, and then opened fire from all sides. The Americans finding themselves in the center where the Filipino balls converged, could not even fire their guns. A great panic reigned among them without their knowing what to do, many dying and others being wounded after half an hour’s firing by our troops. Only one of the Americans was saved.
By that victory our forces gained 200 guns and cartridge boxes, with a considerable number of cartridges and also a large quantity of food supplies.
Everybody got up at 4 a.m. They cooked and ate breakfast. At 7.20 o’clock we left Dancalan and took up the march for the next settlement. Each one of us was provided with the trunk of a tree (sic), a kind of walking stick, which we used in ascending and descending the mountains in order to sustain ourselves and avoid the frequent falls, causing bodily injury. We traveled among mountains of ordinary height, perhaps not over 800 meters. The roads being closed two Ifugaos opened the way for us.
In these mountains there is much vegetation and so we did not suffer from the heat nor anything, though we never halted on the march.
At 2.30 p.m. we reached a river. We ate here and immediately afterwards resumed the march. At 5 p.m. we arrived at the Gaang settlement, a place completely deserted because its inhabitants had left on account of our approach; and before abandoning their houses they had taken away the floors and hidden them. Therefore we arrived here without being able to find lodging in their huts. Our journey this day has been an easy one and we did not suffer as on other days. To-morrow we will go on to Lubu.
The headman and others of Lubu came up to see us at this Gaang settlement. Speaking of the singing of the Gaddans, this is the first night we have had the pleasure of hearing them. The singing is very similar in every respect to that of the Chinese. The Gaddans serving as our guides and those who came over from Luba sung in chorus this night until about 8 o’clock.
At 6 o’clock in the morning, and without eating breakfast, we started on the march for Escaris. After five hours of marching we again arrived in our Escaris camp at 11 o’clock, nothing important having occurred en route.
We had been informed some days before that many of our forces were in Nueva Viscaya, and this was the motive which lead the honorable president to think of returning to Escaris. At 3 o’clock in the afternoon a courier was dispatched to our Viscaya forces with orders for them to come and join us; likewise orders were given for the capture of the two deserted orderlies.
We left Alimit at 8 o’clock in the morning, going toward Mayaoyao. This day is a memorable one for us. We continue the march through mountains, which are higher than former ones and which present difficult ascents. Heat, hunger, and thirst give us a nauseating sickness. Excessive perspiration is wasting our energies, and our legs and knees are weak and tremulous. The ascents almost form an acute angle. Many of our soldiers faint.
When we arrived at the top of the mountain range which we saw from below, we find that there are other ascents still higher. This fact worries us, because we are already very much exhausted; but we can not stop, since, there being no vegetation on this mountain, the heat of the sun would kill us immediately.
We continue the journey in spite of these difficulties. It is 2 o’clock in the afternoon. The soldiers are crawling along on all fours and weeping. But they are afraid to stay here, and hence, notwithstanding their great suffering, they force themselves along on the march.
At 4 o’clock in the afternoon we are able to make out the settlement to which we are going. We forced the marching, and at 6 o’clock p.m. we arrive at Mayaoyao.
We have succeeded in buying rice and pork in this settlement, and so we have passed a comfortable night. But we have to eat without salt—a thing somewhat difficult for one unaccustomed to it.
We have stayed here in this settlement two days.