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.


January 8, 1942

Corregidor

Malinta Tunnel

I don’t like this place. Yes, it’s safer and bombproof but the air is damp and stuffy. Give me the cool mountain breezes and the starlit skies of Bataan anytime.

The general has been relieved of his command. He has been assigned to a more important, delicate and interesting job. He will be made head of the Military Intelligence Service.

His main mission will be to secure information regarding the enemy in the occupied regions of Luzon. The service will be under the G-2 section of MacArthur’s staff.

Corregidor is a wreck. The docks have been bombed and rebombed. The chapel is partially destroyed and nothing remains but the cross and the altar. The area around the Post Exchange has been leveled by fires due to incendiary bombs and the cinema house has been razed to the ground.

In the little harbor, I saw the Casiana lying quietly under the water with only the insignia of the Commonwealth Government afloat. Had many happy hours in the good old days in the presidential luxury [yacht]. That’s where I first met Morita when she arrived from the States.

First person I saw this morning was Vice President Sergio Osmeña. He wore a white “cerrada” and he had black shoes. He looked thin, bored and worried. When he saw me he asked: “When did you arrive?” I said “Just now, sir with Gen. de Jesus and Major Lamberto Javallera.”

The Vice President asked: “How is it in Bataan? Is it safe? I am thinking of going there. When is the best time?”

I told the Vice President that the best time to cross the Bay would be either early in the morning or late at night to avoid enemy raiders.

General Basilio Valdes then arrived. He was carrying a towel and a piece of soap. The general had just taken a bath. He said: “To take a bath here, you have to go out of the tunnel.” Toilets in Corregidor are out in the open.

The general was anxious to hear news about the boys in Bataan and he told me to give his regards to several of his friends in the front.

“Who are you with?” he asked.

“With Gen. de Jesus, sir.”

“Where is he now?”

“Conferring with Col. Willoughby, sir.”

“Tell him to see me before he leaves.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Have you taken your breakfast?”

“I had coffee, sir in the gunboat. When we were crossing the Bay, a Navy gunboat stopped us, sir. The Captain said it was not safe to approach Corregidor very early because the coast artillery might fire at our launch. So he invited us to take coffee with him and that was perfectly all right with the general and I because we were not able to take our dinner last night.”

In the breakfast table, I saw Major Carlos Romulo and Lt. Col. Manuel Nieto, aide to President Quezon. Romulo was growing a small moustache, a poor imitation of Adolf’s. He was slightly thinner and his eyes showed lack of sleep.

He told me to find out if his eldest son, Carlos Jr., was in Bataan. “If he is there,” he pointed out, “he is probably with Gregg Anonas.”

I assured Mr. Romulo that I would do my best to look for Baby although I don’t think he is with Gregg’s bunch because I would have seen him.

Romulo said that he was sick and tired of the canned stuff in Corregidor and that he misses the “pesa” and “adobo” he used to eat at our home and with the Vasquez family.

He also told me that before he left for Corregidor he called up my dad and told him to take care of his family. “I wonder how they all are in Manila,” he said.

He said he heard that my general was going to head the Military Intelligence Service. “In that case,” he said, “you are going to have operatives in Manila. Could you arrange to have a man find out how my family is?”

I promised Mr. Romulo that I would attend to that matter personally if the general takes me along with him. “If I remain with the 51st, I won’t be able to find out for you.”

Mr. Romulo was in the press section of MacArthur’s staff under Col. Diller. I think he should be made chief of that section because he has the most experience in propaganda.

He told me he was busy censoring the news reports of the foreign correspondents in Bataan and Corregidor and writing the scripts for the Voice of Freedom everyday.

After breakfast, Col. Nieto brought me to the President’s lateral. In one corner, I saw Mrs. Quezon seated on a bench between Dr. Cruz and Fr. Pacifico Ortiz S.J. Mrs. Quezon embraced me and she’d wanted to know how I was and if life in Bataan was very hard because of the bombings. Fr. Ortiz who was my logic professor in the Ateneo said: “I’m glad to see you, Phil.”

Mrs. Quezon brought me to President Quezon. The President was wearing a white shirt and white riding pants, a striking contrast to the khaki of the soldiers in the Rock. He was carrying a short whip. He looked thin but smart and snappy. The President said that he was glad to see me fighting for my country. He said: “I was in Bataan too during the revolution as an aide to Gen. Mascardo. I know every nook and corner of that place. I got malaria there too.”

Fr. Ortiz then brought me to a small altar in the President’s lateral. “Better pray first and give thanks,” he said. While I was praying, Nonong Quezon came from behind and he slipped a couple of chewing gum packages in my pocket. Then Nonong obliged me with a comb, soap and towel, “to look decent,” he said. And then he cracked: “Sorry, I can’t lend you my toothbrush.” I retorted: “I didn’t know you had one.”

That was the first time I looked in a mirror since Silang. I guess I must have been very dirty because Ah Dong, the President’s valet, asked me if I wanted to take a bath. The people in Corregidor are all very neatly dressed and their uniforms are well pressed. There is no dust, no fighting here in Corregidor. Chinese servants serve the officers during meal time. There are electric lights, fans and even refrigerators. Each and every officer has a decent bed with cushions and mattresses. I even noticed that the shoes of the officers here were shiny. In the main entrance of the tunnel, they even have a barber shop and near the hospital lateral is a library. In some of the empty tables, I saw several officers and nurses playing cards. Outside the tunnel, on the benches overlooking Manila Bay, I noticed several lovebirds talking in whispers. There is no war here in Corregidor except for occasional bombardments at noontime. Japs are at present concentrating forces in Bataan. I suppose they’ll attack this place afterwards.

Next person I saw was Baby Quezon. She was wearing blue slacks and it made her look sleek. “I thought you remained in Manila,” she said. Then came Nini. She was neatly fixed up, the usual pigtails and an ugly looking pimple on her nose. She said Miss Labrador, the nurse, woke her up and said that I was around but that she thought it was just a joke. Both girls asked me to join them for breakfast and so I had a second breakfast. During the breakfast, Agatona, Mrs. Quezon’s maid came along and she asked me to give a letter to her cousin in Bataan and she pinned a miraculous medal on me. Nini then gave me a crucifix and Fr. Ortiz blessed it.

At about noontime, I walked with Nini to the hospital lateral. Then suddenly the lights went out. The tunnel walls began to shake. Japs were dropping 1000 pounders. Air inside tunnel was pressing against the lungs. More bombs dropped. Detonation reverberates louder in tunnel than outside. Nurses started mumbling prayers. Salvos of AA guns shook cement under our feet. Then I saw a flashlight. It was Mrs. Quezon. She was looking for her children. Nini said: “We are here mama.” Mrs. Quezon was afraid Nini and Baby were out in the open and felt relieved. There we were —Mrs. Quezon, Nini and I— cramped between soldiers and laborers who rushed inside the tunnel when the raid started. It was the equality of war. Then came the parade of the wounded. Filipino soldiers were rushed in on stretchers. There were cries of pain. Many were unconscious. I saw Fr. Ortiz giving blessings, hearing last minute confessions. He was here, there, everywhere. I saw an American whose leg was covered with blood being rushed to the medical department. Gen. Valdes who is an expert surgeon was busy assisting the wounded. The raid continued. I tried to remain cool even as the tunnel shook with the detonation of bombs and the firing of AA guns, but inside I was getting afraid. I kept telling myself it is safer in the tunnel, not like in Bataan. But I guess fear is contagious and there something about the tunnel that makes one feel asphyxiated.

After the raid, everybody started talking about the convoy. Officers were asking: “When will it arrive?” Some said” “By the end of the month.” But Mr. Romulo whispered authoritatively that he had inside information “the convoy is very near and may be here in a week’s time but keep that under your hat, pssst.”

It’s ten o’clock now. I guess it’s time to sleep. I can see Justice Abad Santos putting on his pajamas right now and Vice President Sergio Osmeña is fixing his bed. I’m writing this on the upper deck and Fr. Ortiz is praying below me. He says its time to go to bed.

We are leaving for Bataan early tomorrow.


March 23, 1936

We arrived at Marinduque at 9 a.m. on Arayat worn out by the voyage. We went off first and after fiddling about to get a chauffer, drove up to Boac to get photographic films for Doria. Chatted in the shop for half an hour until Quezon arrived–fire-crackers–constabulary–police–local officials of Marinduque. Secretary Quirino went on across the island to investigate some case. In the President’s stead he spoke at a town on the other side of Marinduque. Quezon went to the town plaza of Boac and addressed a large crowd. He seemed very happy to be among his own people in Tagalog for about forty minutes. He had not been there for twenty years. He used many homely witticisms, which took well with the crowd. Made polite reference to my having signed in 1920 the law which made a separate province of Marinduque, until then a part of Tayabas (Quezon’s own province)–very evident was his relief at getting away from the Moros whom he distrusts and dislikes.

Various inspections–visit to a home, where I asked questions about the local gold deposits (apparently “a dud”) and about their copra, coffee etc. Then to luncheon where I sat beside Quezon. The next move was to drive across the island, but the President said his stomach ulcer was giving him another hemorrhage, so I advised him to go back to the Arayat, which he agreed to do. We talked again about the Moros; he said he had instructed Colonel Stevens to act first and report later; that those Moros who wished to become civilized members of the Commonwealth would be welcomed, and the others would gradually disappear (like the American Indians). He added that there were 160,000 Moros in Cotobato who could be made useful citizens–they could be taught agriculture. He must have noticed that when we entered the town of Cotobato, some Moros standing by the sign: “We want a Civilian Governor” (local politics) had spat as we passed by in the motor!

The President was enthusiastic over Lt. Johnson, one of his submachine gun bodyguard on the Cotobato trip and said that he was going to promote him. Same as to the big American policeman from Malacañan who accompanied us on the journey and hung on the step of the motor car. (N.B. what a big grip those employees have who get into personal contact with N° 1.) He said Johnson was the only one of General Wood’s appointees as young Constabulary officers who had made good. Quezon had noticed him in the anti-bandit campaign last October.

So we left Boac and crossed the channel to the beach opposite Lucena, where Doria, Felicia, “Baby” Quezon, Miss Labrador, Nieto and I disembarked in a launch; from that to a banca, thence to a chair. A big crowd of provincial officials waited on the beach to meet Quezon who, however, did not land. We went off in our own motor at 5:30 and arrived at home at 8 p.m. having done 159 kilometers in two and a half hours through romantic scenery, over fine roads.

On this trip it was painfully evident that the Arayat was too small, the sea was very rough, (as usual) the boat was crowded; the servants from Malacañan were insolent and lazy; the whole thing lacked direction and management, and was about as badly done as is conceivable. This extraordinary inefficiency could easily be corrected by Quezon giving an a.d.c. authority over the servants–but he himself, prefers to be free from regulations of any kind.


May 15-June 17, 1928

Mrs. Aurora Quezon Booklet 3

Note

In Kansas the first one to join me was Mr. Augusto C. Gonzalez, arriving there Friday night May 4/1928. He left May Thursday on 8:40 a.m./10/1928.

The second one to join me was Mr. Jose Guevara Jr. arriving Kansas 9:30 p.m./May/9/1928

Miss Aurea Labrador is the nurse traveling with me.

 

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to Mrs. MacLeland’s state house 71st and Hohner Kansas City Mo. Paid the house for 500 dollars from May 15 to June 15.

Left Kansas 8:40 a.m. June 15/1928. Arived Albaquerque the next day 8:40 a.m. Left Albaquerque 15 minutes after and arrived Monrovia 8:25 a.m. June 17/1928.

Miss Carmen Peña, Miss Rufina Sarmiento and Mr. Fernando Santos were also traveling with us.