April 16, 1942

Mauricio Cruz told my brother that a certain captain stated that he saw my son Philip 3rd embarking on a boat for Corregidor. On the other, Jorge de Leon, Jr. called me up and stated that together with his uncle, Luis Dizon, PASUDECO’s secretary, he was able to talk to my son, in San Fernando, Pampanga. He said Philip had fever and malaria.

Dr. Antonio Vasquez offered to accompany me to San Fernando. He gave me some quinine which is at present worth its weight in gold. But he said it is better not to give any medicine if it is malaria, because this causes a tendency to hide the disease due to the formation of spores. He stated that I should not worry because the Malarial cases from Bataan are of the mild type because it is still the dry season. Malaria becomes fulminant during the rainy season, he revealed.

Mr. Fukada said he was not able to secure a pass for me to San Fernando. He stated that the High Command does not want to give privileges to anybody. “If they give to one they must give to all,” he said.

Chairman Jorge B. Vargas offered me his car. He asked one of his Japanese aides if he would be willing to accompany me even if I did not have a permit. The Japanese was willing to take the chance.

Later in the evening, Mr. Fukada called me up in the house. He said: “Better postpone your trip, doctor. The prisoners now being sent to different concentration camps. Plenty confusion there. No names. Send to Capaz and everywhere. Better wait.”

Still later in the evening, Gregorio Nieva phoned: “My son Tony was seen entering Bilibid at about 6 p.m. Maybe your son is with him.”

Mary left for Cabanatuan. There is also a concentration camp there. She said she would see what she can do from there.

This is like looking for a needle in a haystack.


April 14, 1942

Received a phone call from Joe Escaler, Jr. He came from San Fernando, Pampanga. He said he saw my son Philip with several thousand captives. My Japanese supervisor, Mr. Fukada, was beside me when I received the news. He congratulated me and I thanked him. I asked him if he could secure a permit for me so that I can look for my son. He said he would take the matter up with the High Command.

Received a letter from an old friend, Augusto Gonzalez. It was a letter of condolence. He heard Philip died…

Tuned in on KGEI. The commentator paid tribute to the defenders of Bataan and extended sympathies to the parents of those who perished in the fight.

My barber was very lonely. His two sons were reported killed by machinegun fire in Aglaloma, Bataan. After my haircut, a Japanese wanted a shave. My barber refused. He told me: “I better not shave him. I might slit his throat.”


April 10, 1942

Yesterday, an undercurrent of news alleged that Bataan has fallen. However, we have become so accustomed to such news that we could not tell which was true and which was false, and therefore, we were not overly concerned.

In the evening, tuning in on Radio Bataan—which was no longer in Bataan—we were taken aback by the announcement “BATAAN HAS FALLEN.” Immediately, Radio Manila, which was controlled by the Japanese and which overlapped on the same wavelength, filled the channel with hymns, songs and music, drowning the rest of the broadcast. It was only at the end that we could understand clearly, “Bataan has fallen but the spirit of Bataan stands.” Thus closed a scene, and faces mourned.

Radio San Francisco explained that the attacking forces were four times that of the defending army, and aside from the numerical superiority the attackers were supreme in air, on land and sea. It was added that though still with ample ammunitions, the Fil-American forces lacked food supply. In fact, they had been surviving on rations since January 20. The people believe that the American war supplies had actually fallen into enemy hands, as we had been hearing tremendous explosions these past days.

With the surrender of Bataan, the second chapter in the Japanese-American war in the Philippines ended. The third chapter has begun with the assault on Corregidor.


April 10, 1942 

Another lazy day. Not much news of Bataan. Terms being arranged. Cebu attacked. Quite a few of the pilots got out of Bataan. We wonder who. Lundee trying to get us on south from here. Dyess stayed on –naturally.

Ozzie Lunde flew south in one of the P-35As on April 8th, another pilot in his baggage compartment. Hank Thorne—the CO of the 3d Pursuit–took the other P-35A to Mindanao, with 34th Pursuiters Larry McDaniel and Ben Brown in the compartment. Joe Moore flew the “P-40 Something” out and Jack Donalson took Dyess’ “Kibosh” south, but damaged it on landing at Iloilo. Dyess had refused to leave his men behind. Roland Barnick managed to get the old Grumman Duck airborne after last-minute repairs that evening and flew three 34th Pursuiters out along with Carlos Romulo, MacArthur’s former press relations officer. 


April 10, 1942

B A T A A N  H A S  F A L L E N


April 8, 1942 (April 8-9)

Morning

After the general heard my report, I took the field telephone and asked for Bat 108 –Manny’s code name in Corregidor. “What’s up, Primo?” he asked. I said: “the line in the east sector won’t hold. By tonight, the Japs will be here. Tell Leonie to stay there.” Manny didn’t believe me, but I was in no mood to argue… so I said: “So long, Primo… If I get home first… I’ll tell the folks you’re O.K.” Ten minutes later, the field phone rang again. I thought it was Leonie… but I was wrong. It was Oscar. “Say, Phil,” he said… “this is the end. I’m in Kilometer 165.5 with all my troops. Where shall I go?” Oscar sounded serious… in fact, nervous. I knew what had happened. The Japs had already broken through and there was general disorganization. The reserve lines had also probably been captured. It was as Oscar said “the end.” I told Oscar to retreat to kilometer 182.2 near Mariveles… because all Filipino troops were going there. “We better stick together,” I explained, “because the Japs might give us better treatment.” Oscar didn’t answer immediately… then he said, “O.K. kid… I’ll bring my men there. Good luck… and if you see Ramon… tell the old fellow not to be nervous.” That was just like Oscar… joking at a serious moment. For all his carefree, devil-may-care attitude… we needed more men like him in Bataan. To begin with… he had no business volunteering. But he did. General Valdes told him he would be a fool to leave his wife and two-day-old baby. But he did… and he told me one evening: “Phil… if I don’t ever get home… tell my kid why I fought. Tell him… I wanted him to be able to tell the other boys… ‘My father fought for his country.'”

At 6 p.m. –sunset– the phone rang again. “It’s me… Oscar… waiting for you in 182.2.” His retreat was a success.

That night, I burned all my papers, all records… including my diary. It pained me to see that diary go. It helped me a lot. Sometimes when I was very depressed… I wrote all my feelings on its pages…. and I felt better afterwards. But orders were orders. “Burn everything” said the General (De Jesus) nervously… and so everything was burnt.

I slept at Kilometer 182.2 that night, besides Ramon Pamintuan. Gatas Santos was also there. We didn’t know that later in the evening we would have a reunion. Ramon was pale and yellow… shivering with malaria. Gatas was looking fine but he was worried about his white skin. “They might take me for an American,” he said. Later in the evening, Johnny arrived. He was thin, exhausted… but not to exhausted to tell us all about his narrow escapes and the way his car ceased to be a car because of a bomb. Then Godofredo Reyes showed up. I didn’t recognize him in the dark, because I had not seen him for a long time and he had a beard. Then came Hector Unson, who I thought was isolated by Jap patrols in Batangas on Dec. 29. He said he heard I died in Corregidor. It turned out we were praying for each other’s soul. At about eleven o’clock Ernie Es. popped in. He had come from guard duty and he was cursing because it was not his turn to guard. Then Tony Nieva arrived. He was fagged out, sunburnt, and very thin. We gave him the little food we had, because he said he had not eaten for two days. He explained that his men were almost surrounded by the advance patrols of the Japanese, because the Americans ran away without notifying him. It was a reunion alright… but a sad one. We thought we would meet each other in Manila in some victory banquet… not on the night of defeat. But as things turned out… there we were… gathering on the dry bed of a stream… not knowing what the morning had in store for us. Would the Japanese kill us? Would they imprison us? Would they free us? We were discussing those questions throughout the night, I was thinking of escaping, thru the mountains of Bagac via Zambales. But they said… ‘Let’s stick together… till the end.’ We talked of our happy days in Manila… the way we used to run around town… Jai Alai… Casa Mañana… Manila Hotel… drinking, dancing, feasting…I also thought of Nini. It was her birthday –April 9.

I guess we were all changed men… and we all agreed that we didn’t regret our experience. I don’t think any of us were the worse for the hardships we endured. They had made men out of us… and above all… it put our country on the map. It was not all in vain. That’s what I was thinking of… when the ground began to shake and the stones in the stream started to roll. It was an earthquake. Was God going to rescue us in the final hour? My heart beat fast… I was sure something would happen… to turn the tide of defeat… but nothing did…and I waited and waited till I fell asleep.


April 8, 1942

Bataan

Saw a big rat eating what looked like the arm of a soldier strewn near a stream in H.P.D.

Saw more troops –hollow-eyed, wasted, exhausted, lips parched with thirst, eyes wild with starvation.

Saw corpses of brave men, courageous men being buried by friends, comrades-in-arms.

All troops are moving to Mariveles, the southernmost tip of Bataan. After that is the sea –Beyond is Corregidor, still flying the flag.

Saw the staff car of Gen. Lim. He was riding fast to Mariveles. He looked thin, worried, and his hair was white.

Prayed, prayed, prayed. Prayed for victory. Prayed for myself. For the dying and DEAD.

Will pray some more. In the hour of defeat, there is only prayer.

(later)

Staff-meeting. Very sad, pathetic, gloomy, funeral-like. There were tears in all our eyes. “We are in the saddest moment in our nation’s history,” said the General.

All around us were fires, supply dumps burning, hospitals afire, cars, trucks hit by incendiaries. Great columns of smoke everywhere.

The telephone rang again. It was Oscar Arellano. He talked to me and he said: “Where shall I go with my troops?” He asked: “Are there any orders?” I said: “Go to Mariveles.”

The General said: “Our unit is disbanded. We cannot surrender as members of the Intelligence Service. Let us say that we belong to the 41st Division or any unit you please. The Japs will torture us if they know we have been engaged in espionage work. The general could speak no more.

Fred arrived. He said he went to the coast to look for bancas to row up to Corregidor but there were none.

Officers were conjecturing: “What will the Japs do to us? Will they shoot on sight? Will they torture us? Will they imprison us? Shall we die fighting? Shall we keep a bullet for ourselves? Shall we swim to Corregidor? What about the sharks? What shall we do? Oh Lord what shall we do?

More and more troops retreating to Mariveles. We are also packing up and moving to Mariveles. Took one last look in the direction of the front: it was one phantasmagoria of swirling clouds of red dust, roaring tanks moving men and dust-caked units, crawling on blood-red earth….

8 p.m.

Can feel earth shaking. Terrific explosions. The Americans are blowing up all ammunition dumps.

The General has ordered us to “Burn all papers.”

I don’t have the heart to burn this. I’ll tell my sergeant to do it for me.

(later — 10:10 p.m.)

Fred is crying. He said he saw troops carrying — white flags.