March 18, 1942 – Wednesday

We left Panubigan at 8:30 a.m. Arrived at Bais Sugar Central at 12:30 p.m., tired and sleepy. Slept a good siesta until 3 p.m. When the President sent for me.

Worked decoding some telegrams. At 10:30 p.m. Left Bais Central for Dumaguete arriving at about 11:30 a.m. We waited for Soriano who had gone to Zamboanguita to meet the U.S. Navy torpedo boats. We boarded the torpedo boats at 3:30 a.m. On board were the President and his family, Vice-President Osmeña, Major Soriano, Colonel Nieto, Major Cruz, Captain Ortiz and Miss Labrador. In the hurried embarkation because the Captain of the boat was in a hurry, many members of the party left their suitcases on the dock. We started at 22 knots an hour and soon we were making 30. As we entered the open sea it became rougher and the boat at times hit the water with tremendous force. Suddenly we heard a small explosion followed by a noise of exhaust vapor and the interior of the torpedo boat became impregnated with the smell of burning gun powder. There was a commotion among the crew. Suddenly, the Captain rushed to the place where the noise came from and in a few minutes he had the trouble under control. During the commotion Soriano told the President to come out and breathe fresh air and he refused saying: “No, I want to die next to my wife and children.” When the captain came up to the command tower he told us that the connection to the torpedo had been detached due to the rough sea and it had set the torpedo for explosion. What he did was to shoot the torpedo out, loose, at a cost of $10,000.00. That was a narrow escape. Had the torpedo exploded we would have been blown to pieces.


March 17, 1942 – Tuesday

After breakfast I asked permission to go to Bacolod to buy some things I needed and leave that atmosphere of nerves and shouting. Father Ortiz and I agreed to lunch at Ben Gaston’s house. We met Ben in Bacolod and he drove us to Talisay where the family hacienda is. Delightful served by Ben’s sisters Nieves, Conchita and Maria Luisa and Ben’s mother. I did not enjoy it because of a phone call from the President ordering us to return to Buenos Aires immediately after lunch. When we arrived at Buenos Aires we were told to get ready to leave at 5 p.m. I investigated the reason for his sudden change. The previous night, the President told us that he made up his mind not to run away and let himself be captured by the Japanese in case they attack Negros. He asked me if I wanted to be caught with him or remain and go to the mountains and hide. I replied that as Secretary of National Defense I would stick to him.

I found out that a radiogram had been received from General MacArthur advising the President to proceed to Mindanao. Soon after he received this message, Major A. Soriano arrived from Mindanao and advised him of the same thing.

We left for Panubigan at 6:30 p.m. and arrived there at 10:30 p.m.


March 8, 1942 — Sunday

I saw the District Engineer and I asked him to study another road below the mountain. In the afternoon he reported that he had found one which could be finished in one week.

At 4:45 p.m. The President and his family, Colonel Nieto, Chaplain Ortiz, Capt. Salazar and I left Buenos Aires for Hacienda Panubigan of Mr. Luis Perez Samarillo on the road to Vallehermoso. We arrived at 7:30 p.m. The rest of the party remained in Buenos Aires. Major Soriano who was on his way to Cebu accompanied us as far as Panubigan.

I retired early — Not feeling very well.


February 27, 1942 — Friday

Left Mr. Enrique Montilla’s house at Isabela at 10 a.m. for San Carlos, Oriental Negros. Arrived at Panubigan at 12 noon, where luncheon had been prepared in the rest house. Colonel Hilsman, Captain Mason and Captain Jones were waiting for us. Left Panubigan at 1:15 p.m. Arrived at the house of Juanito Ledesma at The Hacienda Fortuna at 2:20 p.m. No one was in the house except a lady cousin.

The President and his family stayed to rest and I drove to San Carlos to look for General Villanueva as the President wanted to confer with him. On the road, I met Nieto and Soriano and I asked them to come with me. We found him with the Provincial Treasurer. Then we went to the Hacienda San Jose of the Tabacalera where I met the manager Mr. Miguel Aguirre and the Assistant Manager Mr. Buenaventura Duran. They agreed to prepare dinner for the party. Returned to The Hacienda Fortuna. Saw the race horses of Mr. Ledesma. While there the President changed all plans. Instead of taking the boat at San Carlos and proceeding to Cebu via Toledo, he decided to let Vice President Osmeña, the Chief Justice and the rest of the party proceed, while he and his family with Nieto, Salazar and I go to Bais Sugar Central at Tanjay. After dinner we left for Bais.


February 26, 1942 — Thursday

Spent morning and afternoon in the same place. At 5 p.m. we left for Isabela where we arrived at about 7 p.m. We were met by Mrs. Jesusa Lacson vda. de Arroyo, and Mr. & Mrs. Enrique Montilla, in whose house we were lodged. Major Soriano, Colonel Nieto and myself were given a comfortable room downstairs near the swimming pool. The President invited Colonel Hilsman & Captain Mason for dinner.


February 5, 1942 — Thursday

Got up at 5 a.m. Shaved, took a bath etc. At 6:45 a.m. left the house for the dock with Vice-President Osmeña, Chief Justice Abad Santos, Captain Andres Soriano, Major B. Diño, Medical Service and Lieutenant Jose Abad Santos, Jr. The launch Baler took us to Cabcaben where we arrived at 7:20 a.m. General Francisco, General McBride, Colonel Sellick, Colonel Jalandoni and Major Gavalen were waiting for us. On three cars we proceeded to the evacuation area N—1 which is near Cabcaben. The camp has been recently organized to accommodate the civilians that evacuated from the towns recently occupied by the Japanese and from the mountain regions which fall within the zone of battle. General McBride informed me that the first information that they had received was that the evacuees numbered about three to four thousand. This figure was wrong because there were about ten thousand already. The camp was fairly well organized each family having built a small bahay kubo under trees so as not to be seen from the air. The problem of sanitation is serious. There were some places with a strong odor of human excreta. I talked to the doctor in charge and to the evacuees. From this camp we walked through fields to the Base Hospital N—2 U.S. Army which is about half a kilometer from this camp. We met the Commanding Officer Colonel Vander Broughest and he took us around to the various wards, all placed in the open air. I saw many Philippine Army officers and enlisted men, and also some U.S. Army. I distributed some packages of cigarettes and they were all happy to get a good smoke. I also distributed matches and soap. In the front these three articles are in great demand. Soap is so scarce that officers and men have to wash their underwear, without soap, and use them again without ironing. I was surprised to see among the wounded Lieutenant Orobia and Lieutenant Molina of the Air Corps. They were wounded in the battle of Aglaloma where 200 Japanese were able to land.

Upon leaving the hospital we took the cars again and proceeded to the Command Post of General Francisco which is in Km 166. He was busy studying maps and giving orders. I walked to Manolin’s place which is about 300 yards from General Francisco. Lieutenant Colonel Roxas and other Medical Officers were all together. Manolin had his bed and tent nicely fixed under a large tree. While at General Francisco’s Command Post I phoned to Lee Stevens who is a Captain and is assigned under Colonel Quinn in Motor Pool N—2 at Lamao point. I asked him to meet me at San Jose but unfortunately we were delayed and he left before I could see him.

From General Francisco’s place we went to General McBride’s Command Post situated in the interior of the forest. While we were seated there having a cup of coffee, a Japanese plane passed by and circled around apparently on observation. General Marshall came from his Command Post to talk to me regarding the pay of civilian laborers. He was under the impression that the Commonwealth Government was paying them per diems in addition to their pay from the U.S. Armies. I informed him that this was not true. We talked with Colonel Fischer who is handling the G—2 work of the H.P.D.

From here we proceeded to base hospital N—1 which had been transferred from Limay to “Little Baguio”. It was neatly kept. Colonel Duckworth the Commanding Officer took us around the wards and operating rooms. I saw for the first an X-ray unit similar to the ones we ordered before the war broke out and which we never received.

Then we proceeded to Km.172 the old Command Post of General Francisco which has been transferred by Colonel Luna into an evacuation hospital. Further into the interior of the forest the evacuation camp N-3 for civilians was being installed under the supervision of Captain Gonzalez Infantry U.S. Army and Dr. Baltazar of the health service, brother in law of Lieutenant E.D. Rufino. Nice place now. I believe it will be damp during the rainy season.

Then we proceeded to the evacuation camp N-2 for civilians situated above Mariveles. There were serveal families from Bacolor. They were happy to see us. A young lady approached me and said: “General, how is Charito(Nucay), your little girl”? “I believe she is all right”, I answered. “Give her my best regards, I am Socorro Sarmiento, her teacher in the Assumption Convent”. What a coincidence! To find in “no-mans land”, living the life of a soldier, the teacher of my child.

Then we proceeded to the Headquarters of the Philippine Army where I conversed with the officers and discussed with them several problems presented to me for decision.

From here we went to Barrio San Jose near Mariveles. This hour (3 p.m.) being the time when the Japanese planes invariable bombard the airfield at Mariveles, General McBride suggested that we take the cut-off. I readily approved not only because I realized that the Mariveles road was an inferno every afternoon, but also because I was not familiar with the cut-off. I did not regret having taken this decision. The road is really picturesque, crossing the mountain ridge giving the traveler, a wonderful airplane view of the surrounding country and the Mariveles bay.

On the road we passed the prison compound. General McBride invited us to see it. It is a huge place surrounded by two walls of barbed wire three meters apart. Within the compound the prisoners were separated into small sections. In the left corner there were two enemy aliens (Germans); they looked well fed and contented. In an middle section there were ten Japanese wearing a black blue Kimono which had white letters on the back P.O.W. (Prisoner of War.) I was informed that they had ten prisoners from the Philippine Army and I asked to see them. I was allowed to enter the compound but I was made to leave the pistol with the guard outside. Lieutenants Ponter and Medden U.S. Army did the same thing. As we entered two additional guards rushed to the rear part of the compound and guarded us while I talked to the men. I found that 7 out of the 10 were in for desertion. I investigated them briefly and I became convinced that the charge of desertion could not be proven. They were soldiers left behind when their units changed positions in the battle line and had been lost. As a matter of fact they had been asking for the position of their units.

From here we continued our trip to Barrio San Jose, Mariveles, where the launch Baler was waiting for us. We arrived at 4:50 p.m. Just as we stepped out of the cars and began walking down the cliff to go to the beach we saw three Japanese planes returning from their bombing expedition to Mariveles and apparently were on their way to Cabcaben.

The wind was blowing hard and the waves were larger than usual making it hard for us to board the launch. We were finally carried by sailor to a boat which took us to the launch.

We arrived at Fort Mills at 6 p.m. Too late for dinner, had to dine at the house.


February 4, 1942 – Wednesday

I awoke at 7:20 a.m. It was too late to attend Mass, so I continued to sleep. I got up at 9 a.m., and found Manolo in the house arranging the food supplies received from the S.S. Legaspi. He told me that Captain Andres Soriano was in the tunnel. I saw Andres and we invited him to have an improvised luncheon with us. He ate voraciously. We again had supper together and he will spend the night with us at the house. He will go to Bataan tomorrow with me. After the dinner the President sent word that he wanted to converse with Soriano. They went to the tent while I went to USAFFE Headquarters to phone General Francisco regarding our trip tomorrow.

I returned home at 10 p.m.


February 1, 1942

The conference at USAFFE HQ presided by Col. R. Marshall G-4 that I attended addressed the acute food shortage of our Bataan troops.   Among others present in that conference were Lt. Col. Andres Soriano of San Miguel (CAD & asgd. w/G-4) and my friend Capt. Juan Panopio OSP (Res.) former Capt. of Pres. Yacht “Casiana” and now CO, M.S. Kolambugan, a freighter.  In that conference, it was decided that Q-112 escort M.S. Kolambugan break through enemy blockade under cover of darkness and sneak to Looc Cove, Batangas where a G-4 officer will deliver to us the foodstuff he procured. This mission is difficult as there are no aids to navigation and the approaches to Corregidor is blockaded.  After giving detailed instructions to Capt. Panopio and lending him my signalman, Q-112 with Kolambugan following shoved off Corregidor after sunset Jan. 30  darkenship, radio silence.  After passing the mine fields, I headed to Cavite coast hugging the coastline 2 miles off until we reached Looc Cove.

By prearranged signals, I contacted the G-4 Officer who turned out to be my townmate, Maj. Jose Ruedo ’27.  He directed us to a concealed anchorage where loading of rice and cattle started at once, continued the whole day of the 31st up to 1600 when 5,000 tons of rice and 300 heads of cattle were loaded aboard the M.S. Kolambugan.  In addition, Maj. Rueda gave me a gallon of pancit molo (native dumpling noodle soup) for Pres. Quezon. We left Looc Cove at 2000 tracing back our former route. The moon was bright and about midnight, my lookout reported seeing the snorkel of an unidentified sub, confirmed by my Exo, Lt. Gomez.  I signaled the Kolambugan what to do, sped to the reported location and dropped four dept charges, after which Q-112 and M.S. Kolambugan resumed  course to Corregidor arriving thereat 0700 today.  Col. Marshall and Lt. Col. Soriano were so glad to welcome us back bring food stuff whose weight is equivalent in gold for our starving Bataan troops.

Later, I proceeded to the Lateral of the Quezon Family to deliver Maj. Rueda’s pancit molo.  Mrs. Quezon was delighted saying it is the favorite soup of her husband. Mrs. Quezon brought me before the Pres. who was with Col. Charles Willoughby G-2. After thanking me for the pancit molo, Quezon resumed his talk with G-2. He seemed upset that no reinforcement was coming. I heard him say that America is giving more priority to England and Europe, reason we have no reinforcement.  “Puñeta”, he exclaimed, “how typically American to writhe in anguish over a distant cousin (England) while a daughter (Philippines) is being raped in the backroom”.


December 30, 1941

I was privileged today, Rizal Day, to witness the oath-taking ceremony, for their 2nd term of Pres. Quezon and VP Osmeña before Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos outside the Corregidor Tunnel entrance. It was a solemn but brave ceremony for only yesterday, Corregidor was bombed by 54 enemy planes for an hour before noon and some of the craters are visible from where we sat. Quezon’s Yacht “Casiana” anchored off North Wharf was a direct hit and sunk but the Philippine flag still flies from her mast above water. I was caught halfway on my way to the Tunnel, jumped to a ditch, endured an hour of bombings with those scary hissing sounds. I was badly shaken by the experience with many killed or wounded in the area where I was.

Quezon made a stirring speech exhorting our people to fight the invaders.

Aside from the Quezon family, the MacArthurs and the Sayres, among those I saw in the ceremony were:  Lt. Col. Andres Soriano, Majors Carlos Romulo & Sid Huff; Capts. Jess Villamor, S. P. Lopez & J. B. Magluyan; Lts. F. Isidoro, L. M. Guerrero, N. Reyes, B. Cabangbang, & A. Aranzaso.

After the ceremony, I ordered my crew to retrive the Phil. flag still flying on the mast of the sunken “Casiana” because Pres. Quezon expressed a desire to have it.  While near the “Casiana” I noticed her auxiliary boat “Baler” under water.  I decided to salvage the boat,  towed it to Lamao and suggested to Capt. Magluyan who was with me to have it fixed to augment the “Danday.”  Magluyan is one of the Lamao Beach Defenders in Bataan under Capt. Jurado, C.,OSP.

Late in the afternoon, I got a copy of directive saying  “effective Jan. 1,1942,the Q-Boats will be under operational control of G-3, USAFFE HQ, Ft. Mills.”