March 10, 1942

HQ, MIS, Bataan

Life is getting harder and harder. Morning ration reduced to one handful of ‘lugao’.

Sometimes carabao meat is given. It is made into ‘tapa’ so that the rest can be preserved for some other day.

The mess officer told me that very soon we will have horse-meat for viand. The QM will slaughter the remaining horses of the 26th cavalry. I don’t think I can eat those brave horses.

Bombing has been intensified. Raids are more frequent. Rest periods between raids are shorter and shorter.

More men stricken with malaria and dystentery. Many shell-shocked cases. Several dozen cases of appendicitis and many tuberculosis patients.

Morale visibly on the downgrade. Officers greet fellow officers with remark: “What, is there any hope yet of the convoy?”

Reports from front indicate that the boys there are suffering from blindness especially at night due to lack of vitamins.

Men are weary, exhausted. They work all day and they also act as sentries at night. Men have only several hours of sleep. Sometimes two or three only.

We officers do double, triple work. Many officers are sick, others have died.

Gasoline shortage. Use of trucks and cars are limited. Horses that are not eaten will be used to help out in the transportation problem.

No more quinine. Medicine bottles in hospital are empty. Doctors are working day and night. Wounded have increased.

Paper for SYIM publication very limited. Practically no more stencils. Food for evacuees cut down. One civilian in evacuee camp committed suicide.

Japs continue dropping surrender-leaflets. They have changed technique. Behind surrender-leaflets, they print the picture of a naked ‘mestiza’. Still no cases of desertion.

Fred thinks “It’ll take a long time for the convoy to arrive”. “There is no use deluding ourselves,” he says.

Some of the officers believe Hart’s fleet was beaten in naval battle around Macassar strait.

Others think convoy will be diverted to Australia.

Still others cling to distant hope of war between Japan and Russia.

Very few believe the convoy will be here in a few weeks.

Some think –very few of them– that “we will all die here.”

Japs have given ultimatum urging immediate, unconditional surrender –or else.

We have chosen the: or else.

(later)

Visited her again. She helps one forget this blasted war.

We sat again under the cenniguela tree but I couldn’t stay there for more than an hour.

Fred and Leonie visited the other girl. They will rival each other. They had better make an agreement: one day Leonie, one day Fred.

When Major Javallera found out, he complained. Told Fred: “That’s my territory.”

“That’s all right, sir,” said Fred. “Don’t you believe in Communism? What’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine?”

“Stand for private property,” said the Major.

“Abuse of authority, sir,” ventured Fred jokingly.

The Major replied: “All’s fair in love and war.”


March 9, 1942

MIS, HQ, Bataan

Heard Mass. Mass was celebrated beside a huge boulder under a tall tree. I was the server and a very clumsy one at that.

Confessed to priest and got short penance. He was a very understanding priest.

During communion planes roared overhead but dropped no bombs. Priest continued saying Mass without interruption. He is a very good priest, cool and calm. I don’t remember his name.

Priest gave a short sermon. He said: “A country is not made up of its geographical boundaries or its towns and cities and provinces. A country is made up of its people. The strength of a people is its Army and you are the army. Until you have been conquered, the country has not been conquered. Let God’s will be done.”

After Mass I had a short chat with him. He described how he gave a short talk to men in the front before they advanced to clear up ‘pockets’. He said he felt like crying when he saw thousands of men kneeling in the heart of the mountain to receive his blessings in a mass-confession.

He said that officers who had been away from the sacraments for years, some 10 to 20 years, went to confession.

God is in suffering, he said.

I don’t know why but whilst he spoke I kept remembering the cenniguela tree.


March 8, 1942

Ferrer wanted in Fort Santiago again. Sent a messenger to fetch him from his house. He couldn’t go to office today. He went to the fort at 11 o’clock. He should be called Job.

Fixed my papers in the office. Dismissed Valdezco, early. After all, it is Sunday. The man needs a rest. He works too hard.

Fall of Bandoeng imminent, according to Radio Tokyo. This will place the entire west side of Java in Japanese hands.

Will entreat Vargas to appeal for Pagu. Somebody said they gave him the “water-cure” and he spat blood. Must comfort his wife. Poor woman. Will ask his son what his family needs.

Many desertions by Filipino soldiers in Bataan, Domei claims. “With their morale and fighting spirit seriously undermined due to the continuous Japanese bombing and acute shortage of foodstuffs, the number of Filipino soldiers deserting from the Bataan peninsula is increasing daily,” Domei reports.

Domei indulges in wishful thinking.


March 8, 1942

MIS, HQ, Bataan

Zamboanga has been occupied at 4:35 yesterday afternoon. Pao Sen, deputy commander of Chinese Red Army was killed during Jap attack on East Hopei. Port Moresby raided by Japs for the seventh time. Batavia, capital of NEI, is in Jap hands. Sourabaya is now in peril. Broome, on the northwest coast of Australia, subjected to heavy aerial bombardment. Hangars, flying-boats and naval planes were destroyed. All the East is practically in Jap hands: all of the eastern coast of China, Hongkong, Shanghai, Thailand, Indo-China, Singapore, NEI, Borneo, and on the other side Guam, Saipan, Tinian, Wake; and the range of Jap bombers reach up to the coast of San Francisco to the interior of Australia, to the hinterlands of Chungking and beyond.

Only places that still stands within this circle holding up flag of democracy: Bataan and Corregidor.

In Manila, Japs have ordered blackout in waterfront. Reports state that waterfront filled with military supplies.

Night fishing activities and navigation in the Bay are also prohibited. This will make operation of our agents in Hagonoy difficult.

Operatives report that nobody has paid attention to Jap announcement that they will drop letters to relatives in Bataan.

Japs organizing Philippine Constabulary. Gen. Jose de los Reyes has been designated director.

Sentiments of Manilans from higherups to masses, strongly against Japs. They resent slapping and other abuses committed by Jap soldiers and officers.

Manilans expecting USAFFE to attack anytime. A lot of rumors about reinforcements.

(later)

Will be given wound chevron for injury sustained in reconnaissance patrol. Celebrated. Lt. Maceda brought a bottle of whiskey.

The General asked me: “What’s that you smell of? Have you been drinking?”

I said it was anti-malarial tonic, hic.

He laughed. Said: “Give me some. I’ve got malaria too, hell.”


March 7, 1942

HQ, MIS, Bataan

Went to her after sunset. Major Javallera said it was o.k. “Spend your furlough as you please but after that back to work,” he said. “How is your thigh?” he asked. I said the wound was healing fast as it was only superficial.

Sat on the grass under the cenniguela tree under the moonlight. Plenty of stars and the sky was blue and the night was beautiful.

I recited some of the poems I learned in school and she recited “Sonnets from the Portuguese.”

She was still wearing the same shorts and I was still wearing my dirty uniform but we both did not mind because we both knew this was war and we had very few clothes.

She said that two big pieces of shrapnel fell inside their shack after hitting a tree. She also showed me a piece of a machinegun bullet.

She looked beautiful in the moonlight with the wind blowing against her hair.

Again I told her that she was very nice to me and that she has made me forget a lot of the hardships of this war.

Again she asked if that was all.

Again I was silent because I really did not know if that was all.

Then I don’t know how it happened but as we lay there on the grass I turned around and kissed her on the lips and she kissed me back and then she said I must not do that again because she….

I said “Because why?”

“Because,” she hesitated but I think it was the truth “I am married to that fellow from San Beda who is now in America.”

I told her why she did not tell me before and she said that she wanted to tell me but she did not get to tell me and that she just did not know why she did not tell me.

I was silent for a long time because I had so many thoughts in mind and I could not decide whether to apologize or to get angry so I just kept quiet.

She was silent too and U could hear her breathing but she did not move from where she was lying in the grass beside me and I could feel her arm against my arm.

The sky was very beautiful above and the clouds would cover the stars and the wind made noise as it moved the leaves of the cenniguela tree. The leaves that were fried by the sun fell on the ground beside us whenever the wind blew the higher branches of the tree.

When I was going to stand up to return to the HQ because it was getting dark and besides I did not think it was proper to stay there anymore, she told me to stay where I was and she said that she was sorry.

I told her that there was nothing to be sorry about and I told her that I had a girl friend in Manila too and I hope she…

She stopped me and she said for me not to say what I was going to say because she knew it already and it would not make her feel well.

Before leaving I shook hands with her and it was quite long and then I told her I would not be able to see her any more because my leave would be over and there would be many things to do.

When I said goodbye, she opened her arms and pulled me and kissed me and she said goodbye, and she smiled.

She said: “When boys try to kiss me, I don’t slap them. I tell them I am married and that stops them.”

She smiled again.

I’ve got to admit that when she smiled and said what she said I felt like a child but I guess it was all due to the moonlight and the stars and the wind and the cenniguela tree and the sound of artillery in the front and of course her tempting way and that lovely smile and smooth complexion.

Or maybe its because I’m a dumb-cluck.


March 6, 1942

HQ, MIS, Bataan

Could not see her today. Could not leave the HQ. Too much bombing.

Sgt. Sinculan thinks the bombs were dropped near the evacuee camp. She might have been hit. I hope not. Will go there early tomorrow.

Had carabao’s meat today with the rice. Lt. Tatco, mess officer, was able to shoot a carabao in one of the streams of Mt. Mariveles. We fried the meat and it was delicious.

Fred opened a bottle of rhum he received from an American officer. We drank during the bombardment and it calmed our nerves.

Felt so helpless as Japs flew very low strafing and bombing at will.

Many were wounded. Many trucks outside hospital. We are like rats. Worse.

Major Montserrat is very ill. The doc says he may die.

Listened to Voice of Freedom. Its words sounded hollow after terrific bombardment. When, when, when will the convoy arrive? Will it ever arrive? If it won’t, they why don’t they tell us? If it will, is it military secrecy that keeps them from telling us? Nope, it won’t arrive any more. They can’t pass thru the Jap blockade. They can’t go beyond Macassar strait. Roosevelt was not clear about helping us in his speech. Yes, it will arrive. America is such a great nation. Her factories have stopped building cars. Nothing but planes, planes, planes. They will darken the skies with their planes. The Japs will see. Hell, where are the planes? We are like rats here, running under the ground, living in dug-outs and fox-holes, bombed morning and afternoon and night and morning again. Where is the convoy? And what about the food? Sure, its easy to say “keep on fighting” but you can’t fight without food on your stomach. Wasn’t it Napoleon who said an army marches on its stomach? They boys in the front have been there for more than 60 days without replacement, without rest, without food, food, FOOD. Yes, Voice of Freedom why don’t you answer these questions? That’s what we’d like to know. Words can’t feed us. Words, words, words. Day by day, more and more die. Die of sickness. Die of hunger. Die of bombs. Die of shells. Die of bullets. Die, Die, Die. This can’t go on forever. We are human beings. Do you hear Voice of Freedom, “we are human beings”? You can’t keep matching flesh against steel? Oh hell, what am I thinking about. Sure, help’s coming. Roosevelt said so. America is not going to let us down. The eyes of the world are on us. The whole of humanity is watching us keep up the torch in this orient that’s fast getting enveloped by darkness. This is something worth dying for! Yes, I’m going to die. I am not going to see home anymore. Not going to see mama, papa and……, hell, hell, hell, what am I thinking about… O Lord!

Raid again.


March 5, 1942

HQ, MIS, Bataan

Brought Sgt. Sinculan with me during my visit. Sinculan’s ankle was badly hit. He is also on furlough. He was given three weeks but he said that two weeks would be enough.

Sinculan talked with the other Pampangueña while I talked with her. She told me that my sergeant had visited the other girl four times already. I told her that Sinculan had kept it a secret.

We sat on the grass again under the cenniguela tree. I told her that the cenniguela tree reminded me of home because in our garden there was a big cenniguela tree outside my mother’s window.

She was wearing the same short shorts and the same ‘bakia’. She explained that most of her clothes were left in Dinalupihan and that the shorts she was wearing belonger to her younger brother.

We ate the last can of jelly and she was very happy. She stated that even before the war she liked jelly so that the jelly I gave her was a real treat.

She asked me when the convoy would arrive and what were our chances of pushing the Japs back if the convoy never does arrive.

She said she felt helpless seeing all these Jap planes flying at will over our lines, bombing and strafing whenever they felt like.

I asked her why she was so anxious to have the war over. I said: “When all this is over I will no longer see you, maybe.”

She started to laugh. She embraced her knees with her hands and then stretched out in the grass again.

She told me to lie down too and watch the clouds floating in the skies. She said that some clouds looked like Santa Claus.

I laid down beside her and I felt like kissing her but I did not have the nerve although I was very tempted lying down there in the grass in the sunset.

Then for the first time I told her that I thought she was beautiful and that she was the best medicine to a war weary soldier trying to recover from a bullet wound.

“Is that all?” she asked and she turned her face towards me.

“Yes,” I said, “that is all I can say.” And that was the truth.

She sat up and she placed her face between her knees. I liked the whiteness of her legs and the smoothness of her complexion.

I told her as she sat beside me whilst I lay on the grass, as I watched her against the background of a darkening sky that she was the type of girl that makes men forget themselves and lose their hearts.

She suddenly talked of my dirty clothes and asked when I was going to have my uniform washed.

It was better that she changed the subject.


March 5, 1942

HQ, MIS, Bataan

Shared the guava jelly with her. We ate under a “cenniguela” tree. Told her story of the patrol activity and skirmish with Japs.

Two American soldiers visited a girl in the shack across the stream. We could hear them talking in broken Tagalog. She does not like Americans. “They think all girls are easy,” she said.

During my visit, Japs also visited from above. They dropped bombs near the HPD motor pool. She is a brave girl because she did not run for shelter. I felt like going inside the dug-out but I had to stay out myself. The American soldiers ran to the dug-out. I noticed one was limping and shell-shocked. Maybe he has had a bad experience. She laughed and said: “Look at him run.” She does not like Americans.

We sat on the grass till it was dark. She talked to me about her boy friend from San Beda who went to America to study engineering.

I told her I had no girl friend ever in my life. I lied.

She said she knew I was not telling the truth. “You are not the type not to have a girl friend,” she said.

When it was getting dark she laid on the grass because she said she wanted to stretch herself.

She was beautiful lying there on the grass with her short pants and her bare knees and feet. Her feet were well-formed, nicely arched and rosy around the heels.

I sat beside her and she asked me if I knew how to sing popular songs and I said I did not.

I told her to use my thigh as a pillow. “The blood will go to your head and you will be dizzy,” I explained.

She said thank you and she rested her head on my thigh. She looked nicer when she was closer to me and I could feel the warmth of her neck. My heart started to beat fast, I don’t know why.

She remarked: “I have met you only two times and yet I feel that I have me you a long time ago.”

I asked her if she did not mind the fact that the pants of my uniform were very dirty and covered with dust.

She said she did not and she offered to wash my clothes for me. “Just send them over or better bring them. Anyway I have nothing to do,” she stated.

I told her I would visit her again tomorrow as I was on leave for a week. Then she suddenly lifted her head and said: “Don’t tell me I’ve been resting my head on your wounded thigh.”

I said it was on the other side and that even if it was on the injury I would not mind.

She said that I did not mean what I was saying and she smiled.

I like the way she smiles. I also like her legs.


March 4, 1942

HQ, MIS, Bataan

 

Back from patrol. Reconnoitered in Balanga. Met  several Jap patrols. Japs not there in force.

We were very careful. Kept away from beach. Balanga church was destroyed by our artillery. Did not enter church. There might have been Japs inside.

General refuses to believe there are no Japs in Balanga. I told him there are only Jap patrols, nothing more. He shook his head. Felt like telling him: “If you don’t believe me, why the hell don’t you go there yourself.”

Encountered a squad of Japs who were lying near a nipa shack when we were returning to our lines. It was late afternoon and we had not yet eaten the whole day and we were going to eat in the nipa shack.

Sgt. Sinculan noticed that they were aiming at us. We fired first. They had rifles only. We had a Browning automatic. We were better armed but they outnumbered us.

I emplaced my men behind a fallen log with a thick trunk. I could hear the officer shouting loudly and the soldiers were also shouting. We remained silent.

Suddenly, they all shouted and advanced. Told men not to fire until they passed the other fallen tree before the log where we were emplaced. When they climbed over it, Sgt. Sinculan opened up with the Browning. Two fell. The others kept firing. Meanwhile six crept to our flank. I noticed it and I moved three men to our left. Sgt. Sinculan said that we had better retreat because they were more than thirty and we were only ten. Besides one of our privates was being attacked by malaria, making our effectives only nine.

I told the men to retreat slowly to the cogon but I shouted loudly to mislead the Japs “Attack men!” and everybody shouted with me and we fired and retreated. Then I felt something warm pierce my thigh but I did not feel much pain. Sinculan and I were wounded.

When we retreated, the Japs left us alone. Thought I would be nervous face-t0-face with Japs but now I know one has no time to be nervous during combat.

Will write about this patrol work someday.

 

(later)

 

Major Javallera opined the Japs will probably put their main effort on the western sector. He also could not believe that there were hardly any Japs in Balanga. “Japs are probably up to something,” he opined.

“Are you sure of what you are reporting?” he asked again.

“We walked through the plaza and the school house and then near the broken bridge and we entered the town and there were no Japs in force, only occasional patrols,” I said emphatically.

He said “You can have a week’s rest, even if your wound is very small.” He gave me three cans of guava jelly, hooray. He is quite a good guy.

Will visit my Pampangueña friend. Fred and Leonie were not allowed to go out during last few days because there was too much work.

The general said I am careless that is why I was hit. He always scolds me, but I know he likes me inside.

All in all, he is also O.K.