June 24th, 1946

Fiesta of San Juan today—a lot of people must be getting doused up today crossing San Juan bridge, and perhaps even Mandaluyong.

At breakfast Osias reported he had talked guards into not changing the rules about bathing and shaving. We had never asked for present schedule he said, but does not see any reason for changing it either.

Laurel after dinner yesterday tried to give me two cartons of cigarettes, saying he had plenty—told him I did not need any more myself, but took one carton of Philip Morris so he took the other carton to Osias, Camels. I prefer Morris, because of it’s milder and sweeter taste.

Just finished another haircut—barber came early they did pretty good piece of work—gave two and one as usual.

Hardly any news from or about the Philippines these days. “Nippon Times” today carries two items but both of Americans going to Phil. Congressional Representatives at Independence Inauguration and McNutt’s Senate confirmation as first American Ambassador to the Philippines, He takes the Opposite number to Murata in the days of the invasion. Well, Manila is already used to having ambassador, so that wouldn’t be very much of a novelty any more. McNutt would probably be.making suggestions to Roxas too, not the least important being U.S. attitude towards allegedly former collaborators. Another interesting piece of Filipino, not Philippines news,
is in Sport column of Burley Harris about Costello winning a boxing bout and Joe Eagle giving an exhibition tilt with another old timer. Both at Kurakwen, Joe must be making plenty of dough these days with his Dai Ichi Taiku Club fights. Wish I could find out really how the Filipino boys in Japan are getting along. Have not heard again for some time from Gavino—perhaps my last letter to him has not yet been delivered and that was in early May yet.

It is getting awfully hot. Temperature last Friday was reported as highest June temperature in Tokyo during last 72 years—34.1 degree cent—93.7 Fahrenheit. ‘It gets hotter than this in Manila but not so sticky as here. Even now as I write my elbows get stick in to the top of table-—One perspires and the humidity turns perspiration with some sort of glue.

Was asked again this morning whether I want cigarettes. Answered yes I gave Steinmetz Y20—-promised to let me have Y2 change later Y9 a carton—-cigarettes came just after afternoon exercise-—2 cartons of chesterfields. Must look for somebody who had Philip to spare for exchange—Guard also called little while afterwards to give the two yen change. He hollered through the door hole “Mr. Vargas” while I was writing this.

_During afternoon exercise compadre Aquino said if he were in Phil. he would outliberal the liberal Party of Roxas by jumping over the fence to the radical side way over to the left to organize some kind of socialist democratic Party. We will see what happens when we actually get home——He may outstrip the communists yet at that. He is always so impulsive.

Grass detail again at 6 pm. It was pleasant with a cool breeze lowing from the southeast—We have cleaned practically the whole place surrounding the Blue Area now. Hereafter gras pulling will be much simpler, less exacting, not that anybody works to fatigue—Osias did not come out and when Steinmetz wondered why told him Osias must have something terrible In his head which he must want to put down on paper in a hurry. True enough when we came back I peeped through his small mesh door and he was stripped down to the waist furiously writing. Went to bed after reading till about ten pm. Didn’t seem to be any more mosquitoes around.


June 23rd, 1946

Got up earlier than usual today being Sunday so I could get out from trunk my Sunday clothes before beginning to sweep and mop the floor—Also to dust and wipe shoes ahead. At church this morning Father Scott said where he comes from they do not preach any sermon when it begins to get very hot in summer, as nobody wants to preach in the sweltering temperature, so beginning this Sunday he would bring pamphlet for each that we can read at our leisure instead of his preaching so that we may not have to stay too long in “this hot room.” He didn’t realize our smaller rooms specially the single cells are much warmer. First pamphlet distributed today is entitled “Christ and His Church. These Two are One” by Daniel A. Lord, S.J., Institute of Social Order 3742 West Pine Blvd., St. Louis 8, Mo. After catholic mass we remained for usual protestant service so called Osias instead of giving the prayer asked the congregation to read the Prayer of Repentance in the Army Service Manual. The scripture responsive reading was on Fear of the Lord, and the gospel selected was again on repentance—All these apparently slyly for the benefit of the un-repentant Nazis in the crowd. I think anyway that Osias had something like that in mind. BaMaw was the Speaker. His subject—“The Western is standing on its head.” He described the western christian man as egocentric creating his own God in his own image his ultimate being his personal God, his personal self. Man himself and his personal happiness man’s pleasure or happiness. Buddha he said 2500 years ago, just reversed that and instead preached the ultimate as Being cosmic process or cosmic power the law being or becoming of thing or of being and suffering being the sublimation of living, the pursuit of death through suffering that others may live. Said he cannot reconcile the Christian concept of a God who being all powerful and can correct lots of injustice and suffering go unrelieved or un punished. Said Freud and others cracked the idea of a soul—it is the fact of suffering as part of being that is the essence of Buddhism. Told him after the service that his speech which was well delivered in correct and elegant Oxford English was good, but nobody has yet cracked my soul, so everything is still alright.

Before start of catholic mass Father Scott asked me what news we had. Told him none. He then said he had read in yesterday’s paper—-presumably Stars and Stripes—That Ickes, the former secretary of the Interior had lambasted Roxas, saying Roxas in the uniform of brigadier-general had signed documents that were treasonable against the U.S.—Said also Roxas should now vigorously prosecute all collaborationists that had been indicted. Somewhat contradictory as inconsistent— if Roxas were a collaborationist how could he prosecute the other collaborationists? It is fortunate for Roxas, for the Philippines and for us that Ickes is out of Govt. of US. and has no longer any official connection with Philippine affairs.

After mass gave Father Scott an envelope containing Y30 together with Kyo Bun Kwan ask with request he please send in it to continue my subscription to “Time” magazine after ten more weeks after its expiration sometime this coming July. If I am not here any more, what’s thirty yen for the price?

At lunch I kidded both Osias and BaMaw that between the two of them they had today conspired to make it uncomfortable for the Germans—Osias with his prayers and hymns on Repentance and BaMaw on his cracking of the soul by citing mostly German authors and philosophers to prove it. They both hugely enjoyed the exposure and said they thought they had both done it very skillfully without anybody noticing it. Osias said it was like being caught by your wife! Guilty conscience? Have decided to give BaMaw a cigar for his part in today’s fun. Such a life.

Ikeshimo’s statement before the International War Crlmes Tribunal that everything that was broadcast from Radio Tokio during the war as propaganda ordered by the Jap. military should be of value to me in defense of speeches and broadcast as ambassador in case of my own trial I must keep the clipping on it from Nippon Times of June 21st, ’46 just in case. My counsel might find it useful in support of explanation of circumstances under which we were made to speak and broadcast While in Tokyo during the Jap. occupation of the Philippines.

Movies today. Started with newsreel showing ceremonies of putting on the hat on Cardinals Kemp and Spielman, 2 American cardinals by Pope in Rome recently—Main picture, however, was repetition of Vacation from Marriage which we had already seen some time before. However as situs is England and accent is very English decided to stay for it too to try to understand what they are saying. Aquino and Oslas preferred to remain in their respective rooms, and Osias took advantage of chance to talk to Sgt. and guards about Nazis, their clannishness, then trying to hog all magazines and books to themselves first and unfairness of changing rules about bathing and shaving. It seems he succeeded as guards promised there would be no change.

Read “Time” of June 10th before going to bed at 7 pm.


June 22nd, 1946

Was called late this morning for shaving. For a time thought I had written too soon to Nena about manong to shave everyday thinking they might skip it this time. Unable to hold my curiosity I push the guard calling number, and one of them Came to explain that upon complaint of some damn Nazi they had decided to call us for shaving and bath one day from the top of the list down the next from the bottom upwards alternating that way was claimed more fair to everybody concerned. Didn’t want to dispute fairness to new arrangements—I am on top of the list but told guard it had always been that way from the beginning. He sort of sympathized with me and will start Nazi’s again for tomorrow for shaving so that Filipinos may start bath first day after tomorrow. We only are allowed to bathe Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Maybe the Nazi’s are already contaminating even the GI
guards.

Thursday afternoon when I came back from dinner, Toto’s, Nena’s picture had been blown away from its place on the wall and no amount of search could locate it anywhere in my room. I asked guards to see whether they could find it downstairs—-it must have been blown away out of the window during dinner time when door was open and strong wind was coming through door. Two of them went looking for it but could not find it. We decided it must have fallen on the ledge just outside my windows, but as these are barred we couldn’t see enough of the ledge from my window. Yesterday I asked both Tom and Harold the guards then to help look. They went up on the roof of the building and was able to see the picture——but as he had no ladder to fetch it tried an experiment which worked wonderfully———We dropped a pebble on the picture hit on an edge which made it jump off the ledge to the ground and afterwards retrieved it and gave it to me. He was just as happy his idea worked as I was to get my picture back. It is again on the wall this time more strongly glued, but not enough to spoil it when time comes to take it away for home.

They gave me “Time” of June 10th at 9:30 this am. Pretty early this time, though magazine had been ripped Open by the  ensors—Had to glue cover page together—-Nothing about the Philippines—no story about Roxas inauguration.

Showed Nena letter to Ossie on my way to shave. Returned it to me at beginning of morning exercise-—said it was best letter home written so far——It will make Nena immensely happy-—Said he wants to meet her as soon as we get back——said he could visualize how she and brothers and sisters would enjoy reading it——also her mother——Said Nena would cry over it—said you must have enjoyed writing it. There are two things there though Nena will (illegible) you about; (illegible) With the parenthetical insertion of “marital filial and the only one wife explanation.” Well I said that’s true anyhow. Asked Osias whether I should let Aquino see it also—Answered Yes by all means—Reference to Aquino does both families honor, so why not? Aquino also read letter-—said that’s the kind of letter I like to write to my own daughters—but probably our compadre Laurel would not appreciate the humor involved —would think it too frivolous contrary to set of monastic relationship he has with members of his family. As a result he has had the marriages of his boys so far and they were all escapades or elopements in fear of parental disapproval or opposition. Even the son here has already expressed some concern about the way his sisters are being brought up or are growing. Aquino said moreover letter would make Nena very happy—added however now Marylou for instance would also want to be written to. I said precisely left open chance to write to other girls by announcing with sufficient provocation will write to others too. Aquino likes Marylou best of all the girls after listening to her play the piano one time. He calls “mi morenita.”

Quite unexpectedly they called us out grass detail at around six pm. After I had already put off my shoes though was still dressed with socks on and was taking my after dinner exercise. Outside Steinmetz the guard made a little speech about the doctor wanting the grass pulled out and asking us whether we would like to continue with the work, but that if we did we must show a little action so that when the doctor comes around to inspect something had been accomplished. Otherwise they would put some other people on It. We all  answered we had no objection to carrying on and proceeded to pull grass in count. In less than half an hour we cleaned an area larger than what we had done two days in succession previously—the guards were happy—even Kindermann and Shimizu the laziest in the crowd did some grass pulling more consistently for the first time.

On way out to dinner gave compadre Benigno “Time” of June 10th as he said he could finish it during the night and I intended to sleep early today—as matter of fact went to bed before 7 pm.


June 19th, 1946

Rizal Day! Also Toto’s second wedding anniversary. We drunk our coffee to Rizal’s memory at breakfast this morning —- all five of us. But most of the conversation centered around Nena’s letter still with comments on the pictures she sent of the “mga apos,” as she calls them. Both Osias & Laurel Jr. were struck by Baby June’s commanding forehead — they said watch out for that fellow he looks. very intelligent, he will bear following when he begins going to school — he is bound to be somebody. Aquino thought June’s Junior brother was a girl who looked very much like his own, by the pictures at least. Laurel Jr. thought Nena’s Eddie was a very quiet sort of kid — yes I said & he looks very much like the Locsin’s perhaps the Vargas trace will appear later on as he gets older. Jr. also said Toto’s wife was very good looking & their baby looked very healthy and very much like her mother.

There was some confusion at the bath. Our #1 bathroom was said to be leaking, so I was asked to go take my bath in another room. I went to #3 where Osias usually takes his, the two Laurels always are together in #2. Osias & Aquino had not yet been called out, so that when later on they came Osias insisted on taking his bath in #1 saying he would guarantee not to spill the water on the floor & was taken up on his word. Aquino came to where I was—I had already finished bathing & was ready for my shave. Aquino usually takes his bath ahead of me as he does not immerse himself in the tub, but I do, so that when he came there still some soap in the water although I had taken good care to fill the tub up & let the water spill over so as to push off the floating soap suds that invariably wash off one’s body no matter how much he rinses himself before getting into the tub.

Nine-thirty & still no inspection in my room. Had been cleaning HIE since five-thirty in the morning, having taken down even the handbag that is on the roof of the W.C. & cleared off the dust — Also took out one of my tennis shoes for exercise in the afternoon which Osias & I do together these days —mostly bending & sitting up exercise to reduce the bulge on Osias girth and to try to arrest the growing pounds on mine. Probably they just told us there would be daily inspection so that everybody would start cleaning his cell.

The lieutenant himself finally came around at 9:45 said he was just looking around — dropped on me while I was looking at the snap shots that came with Nena’s letter. The lieut. looked at them too — Said “She is a very good looking girl —~ is he your son in-low?” referring to Toto. When I told him No, the girl is my daughter-in-law, the boy my son he remarked “Your son has very good taste.”

In casual conversation with Aquino at lunch I learned he referred to Toto‘s daughter, the picture where she is alone standing on a chair that reminded him of his own youngest.

Raining today — pair of morning exercise & all of afternoon indoors — While out, Pete said to go back to the rooms to fix up as there were visitors coming, true enough while we were at movies, a group of what looked like Chinese were inspecting. They passed by the messhall as the picture finished & we were beginning to file out, “Scarlet Street” with Joon Bermut. Story of a faithful elderly cashier — with a hen-pecking wife falling in love with a gold-digger in love with a young man. Ends up in the old man killing the girl when he surprises her talking in telephone with her young lover —old man runs away & police & others find the young man in the room with dead girl — He is tried & convicted of murder, is electrocuted but old man later become insane with remorse seeing visions of her & goes on the bum waiting to be tried & executed for two murders but nobody would believe him, even the police. Picture end with old man being shoved off a public park & still wandering around with his guilty conscience gripping him. I wonder who the visitors were? They must have been rather important or perhaps only part of American propaganda for their supposed humane treatment of prisoners — If only people knew that the Americans are holding us here for months without so much as an investigation, much less a trial.

Were taken out to pull grass, but only for a short time as it started to drizzle a bit & the guards did not want to stay out in the rain. Came back to the rooms before or about six and started to paste up on the wall between the windows in front of my desk pictures of Baby Jr. and his kid brother. Nena’s Eddie and Mameng’s Nena. Afterwards made an experiment which didn’t work out at all—-put some water into the little can of glue which was fast coagulating, stirred it up thoroughly and heated the bottom of the can but the glue and the water wouldn’t mix, the glue became too thin and not sticky at all so when Pete came in to bring Aquino’s reconstructed shirt from the girls asked him for some new glue and he promised to give a little after I had cleaned the can again of its miry contents.

Read until about nine-thirty. Before going to bed tried out the Japanese mosquito incense, but found it difficult to light the winding stick and keep it burning and smoking. So the night was full of mosquitoes again as usual. Wonder when they will bring in the mesh screens for my windows!

At morning exercise had a long talk with BaMaw about our conversation back in Oct. ’44 when he told me Marshall Sugiyama had told him Filipinos were not cooperating with Jap Army. Were on the contrary ferociously fighting back and helping the Americans, too many guerillas, and that we should be careful or expect some very bitter experience. This I told BaMaw was the constant background of all my speeches –had to make Jap feel, at least the civilians as the Army top level knew too much of what was going on, a certain sense of security, although a false one, I knew all the time, but to save the Embassy people first from any popular anti-Filipino reactions and try to help the people at home survive better. Asked him whether it would be possible for him to come to Manila to testify at my trial, if there was going to be any, although I rather think now the whole collaboration issue may be allowed to die a natural death eventually, I would arrange for his transportation back and forth and would be my guest in Manila if he came. Said he would be glad to consider as circumstances may command at the time.


April 29th, 1946

Haircut at 9 am. today——Old barber—1 zipper.

At exercise this afternoon Laurel wanted to discuss what we thought Roxas would do on collaborationist issue. He is for contacting Roxas directly as soon as we get home as to his plans. I suggested that as far as I’m concerned don’t think it advisable to talk to Roxas directly or indirectly as I feel he would act in the best interest of all without any prompting from any of us, which after all, he may resent. Moreover both Aquino & I are almost sure Alunan & the crowd in Manila must certainly have already discussed this matter with Roxas, as it was one of the hottest issues of presidential campaign. Don’t believe it would be dignified on our part to.approach Roxas personally in our own interest, we should leave him to act absolutely freely as we know, he is fully aware of everybody’s situation during Jap occupation.

Papers we got today, Nip Times of April 27 & 28 practically concede Roxas election.

Junior Lieutenant came in at 4 p.m. for cigarette money. Gave him Y16.


April 25th, 1946

Early today rec’d April 8th number of “Time.” While going down to breakfast heard that Stahmer had been put in solitary confinement. Seen him later at his usual seat at table, however, but by morning exercise time he was gone supposedly taken out to be sent to Germany either to testify in the Nuremberg trials or to be tried himself.

First news we got thru Laurel Jr. hearing kitchen radio was this am. at exercise time to the effect that Roxas was winning in the early returns which we supposed must be Manila and neighboring provinces five to two. This buoyed everybody up, specially Laurel who had been very low these days. My analysis of reported resuts— (1) that all those who in some way or another had served during Jap occupation, and that included practically every Commonwealth Govt. official of any consequence, both political, administrative, judicial and economic—started to work for Roxas only after lapse of deadline for filing of cases in People’s Court. (2) That all those who in one way or another are personally or politically identified with or sympathetic to us who served the people during enemy occupation, Laurel, Aquino, Osias, Yulo, Recto, Alunan, Paredes, myself, everybody all worked tremendously hard after cases were filed against us, on assumption that Roxas’ record being more or less identified with or similar to ours, his success would result in better understanding or appreciation of our cases or the whole collaborationist issue, for which Roxas was attacked by Osmeña supporters; (3) that people felt Roxas was Quezon man being supported openly by Doña Aurora and thru Morato; (4) the guerilleros really had more confidence in Roxas, was more identified with him than with Osmefia; and (5) that all thinking and responsible elements in Phil. must have condemned Osmeña’s unholy alliance with the dissident groups of Hukbalahaps and others. We all hope the final result will be considered a popular vindication of our course of action during dark days of enemy occupation. This means, the Confesors and the Cabilis who claimed monopoly of patriotism have been kicked in the ass by the majority of the people themselves.

Stahmer was back after lunch——apparently bad weather——He may have to stay longer like the Chinese until somebody in the army remembers to give another order. It seems army authorities are at loggerhead as to what to do with him. One party says he is needed in Nuremberg as witness, another party says he is needed here for trial. It’s a toss-up just like most everything in MacA’s head these days.

Afraid had allowed my enthusiasm run away with myself. Read that dispatch about first returns and it merely says from early returns from five precincts, Roxas was leading 5 to 2 —Five precincts! They don’t mean anything in Phil. presidential elections. He may yet win by reason of being already in power and used at least his people, and not quite a few electoral tricks. Anyhow hope we will soon be back.

Rained all day —exercise both am. and pm. inside.


August 1, 1945 Wednesday

Today has been declared a legal holiday to commemorate the death anniversary of Pres. Quezon. This is a very fitting tribute, Pres. Quezon will pass in history as the greatest man we have ever produced. Correctly, he can be called the father of the Philippines. He it was who was able to insure the independence of our country. He was the one that did most to implant democracy in this country. His love for the masses, for the laboring class is proverbial. It is to be deeply regretted that he died precisely when we were at the threshold of our goal — the independence of our country.

The Iwahig people, upon the invitation of the teachers, is holding an appropriate program. They have selected Mr. Quintin Paredes as the main speaker. The Colonel-Superintendent approved. But it was disapproved in Manila. And yet we are not to be called “prisoners”. It smacks of intolerance.

At times I ponder on who suffered more — those who went to the mountains or those who stayed in the towns and cities. It is true that those in the mountains experienced untold sufferings. They had to move from place to place to avoid being hunted by the Japanese. Many times they had no food and this is the reason why they sometimes had to resort to forced commandeering of foodstuffs whenever the owners are unwilling to give. Many of them became sick, some very seriously, and died for lack of doctor or medicine. But so did those who stayed in the cities and towns. Their lives too were in danger at all times. They had to watch their conduct, their day-to-day acts for fear that they might displease the Japanese or Japanese sympathizers. The mere sound of heavy boots made them tremble with fear. Their pulse beats faster when somebody knocks at their door at night. Their fears were not without proof; the fact is that thousands in the cities and towns met their death at the hands of the Japanese or their agents, or suffered the most cruel torture at Fort Santiago and other prisons. The victims were both private citizens and officials and employees of the government. Those in the cities and towns perhaps had even less food than those in the mountains because there was very little food — food being transported to the cities and towns were confiscated by the Japanese or by crooks or false agents of the law, or could only be bought at prohibitive prices. As to medicine, the stock was very limited and mostly in the hands of soulless profiteers.

I state all the above not to minimize the patriotic services rendered by the guerrillas in the mountains as the truth is that I have nothing but respect and admiration for them. I envy them for their sacrifice and readiness to give their lives for the sake of the country. What I regret very much is that I, as many thousand others, was not in a condition to follow them for obvious reasons — my family is big and composed mostly of girls who cannot possibly escape capture. What happened to the family of unknown patriot, Col. Emmanuel Borja, is a good example. He was able to flee outside the city, but then the Japanese arrested his wife and, I understand, other members of the family. He had to come back. Many of us just did not know where to go. Many of us could not be a guerrilla at all because of physical defects. I still remember many years ago when I was still young. I applied for enlistment in the National Guard which was to have been sent to Europe. I was rejected for very defective eyesight.

I can cite very many other incidents which show that our lives, those who stayed in the cities and towns, were all but rosy. There was a proclamation providing for mass responsibility and death if any Japanese was harmed or killed. In the streetcars, many were slapped for just jostling a Japanese. I remember an incident in front of my house. A “carromata” (horse rig), probably unintentionally on the part of the “cochero” (rig driver), blocked the way of another “carromata”. The passenger in the other “carromata”, a Japanese, attacked the “cochero” and almost killed him. The people gathered around wanted to lynch the Japanese. But someone in the crowd with presence of mind told them to desist as it would have meant the arrest and death of many persons in the neighborhood. We resorted to cowardice to avoid any trouble with the Japanese.

I would like to relate what our life in Baguio was like and our trek down down the mountains from Agusan, Baguio to Tubao, La Union.

Since the landing of the Americans on the Lingayen Gulf on January 9, 1945, there were daily flights of American planes to Baguio to bomb and strafe the different parts of the city. By the middle of March, bombings had become very intense. The central part of the city was almost all destroyed. Hospitals, convents, one Protestant church and the surroundings of two Catholic churches were destroyed. Many died or were wounded, especially in the bombed hospitals. The people expressed deep resentment for what we thought was indiscriminate bombing. My own experience with American planes was on January 5, when the market was strafed. I was then holding office at the Philippine National Bank, just around the corner from the strafing.

The Cabinet Hill was surrounded by military objectives. In the east were the South Road and the Teachers’ Camp (converted into a Japanese military camp); in the north, Elizalde’s compound and various private houses occupied by the Japanese; in the west was Hogan’s Alley occupied by the Japanese Marines; in the south, Baguio Auto Line (BAL), Engineer’s Hill, the Government Center and the Justice Hill. Hardly a day passed without bombings of these places. The first heavy bombing was staged by various B24’s and I actually saw the first bombs being released as they were discharged right above our house. We ran to the shelter under our house. The shelter withstood the ordeal but when nearby houses caught fire, we moved to the tunnel-shelter of Minister Sanvictores. Later, we used the shelter of Minister Jose Paez. Luckily enough, not a single bomb fell within the Cabinet Hill compound, although all the houses were full of shrapnel and bullet holes.

Since my family was very big, I decided to build our own shelter-dormitory on the eastern side of Cabinet Hill where we transferred on the 18th of March. The dormitory, built by the male members of my household including my two sons, was 2 by 3 meters with passage of 2 meters. The height was 5 feet 10 inches to the beams. The posts were of fair-sized pine trees. The sides and ceiling were of burnt galvanized iron. Near the passage we built a shaft for ventilation, but principally for an exit in case of necessity. We braced the shelter with two iron pipes so it would not collapse. We covered the shelter with about a meter and a half of earth. It was quite comfortable for sleeping.

The bombings continued. The Mansion House where the President and his family were staying, as well as Speaker Benigno Aquino, Sr. and other officials, was hit and badly damaged. When the American airmen staged carpet bombings, a bomb which would have hit squarely my air raid shelter and the adjoining shelters of Ministers Recto and Paez, exploded in the tree tops. If it had exploded on the ground, all three families would have been wiped out completely. Mr. Recto’s chauffeur was killed and my cook seriously wounded.

We got scared. We decided to walk everyday to the Catholic Cathedral to seek shelter during the daytime. But bombs fell all around the Cathedral and one of the bombs hit the road near the church. We decided that it was too dangerous for us to stay in the city and so we evacuated to a place called Irisan, in the outskirts of Baguio about 6 kilometers away. All the other Ministers also fled the city.

In Irisan, my two sons Tony and Alfredo, and my Filipino bodyguard, Venancio Llagas, built shelters in a narrow gap between two mountains — the shelters were actually caves. It would not be possible, therefore, for the bombs to hit us. My Japanese bodyguard, Mr. Ishikawa, did not accompany us to Irisan.

By this time, a big contingent of the American Armed Forces was proceeding to Manila while other forces prepared to go to Baguio and other places in the Mountain Province.

On the afternoon of the 12th of April, 1945 at about one o’clock, I decided to evacuate from Baguio because for weeks a continuous stream of people fleeing Baguio passed in front or near our shelter. In conversations with them, I came to know that they were leaving to save their lives either as a result of American air and land bombardments, or of massacres being perpetrated by the Japanese. They were all very anxious to go to the American occupied territory. Among them were men and women from all walks of life, from the poorest laborer to the richest tycoons, from a humble messenger to a very high government official. There were doctors, lawyers, engineers, nuns, priests — in fact all human activities were represented. There were newly born babies as well as persons who were visibly sick or over seventy years old who could hardly walk. I could not see how the old and the sick could make it, but I learned later that they all reached their destination after crossing steep and apparently insurmountable mountains, deep ravines, crystal-like rapid streams, thick forests. They arrived at the safety zone more dead than alive, however.

This stream of people so impressed us that we decided to take the long journey ourselves, although we had my child of 6 years, Menchu, who had been sick, and my mother-in-law, Maria de Lontoc, who was old, sickly and could hardly walk.

All our friends in the neighboring shelters, Dr. Jose de la Rosa and family, the Suntays and others, had already left and we regretted not to have gone with them. We received news that they arrived safely at their destination behind the American lines. Mr. and Mrs. Salvador Araneta, Compadre Lacson and family, Atty. Feria and many others stopped for a while at our shelter on their way to Agusan. We became more anxious to go. Two days before our departure, a massacre of about 32 occupants of 2 Igorot houses was perpetrated by the Japanese soldiers. The next day we found the places all around us deserted. I sent my son, Alfredo, to the shelter of Eugenio Lopez and they had just left without notifying us although we had agreed to go together. We inquired about Mayor Mitra and he had also fled. In the meanwhile, we noticed that fighting was getting nearer and nearer judging from the sound of cannons and machine guns. Shelling was becoming intense. Shells were falling all around our shelter. We could distinctly hear the whistling of shells passing overhead. At one o’clock, I sent my bodyguard to Minister Sison to tell them that we better leave right away. The answer came that they could not go as Mrs. Sison was sick and they were waiting for Major Leocadio de Asis who they had sent ahead to explore the way. I immediately went to their shelter which must be about 200 yards distance from my shelter. Shelling was very intense that afternoon and the shells were falling near our shelter and along the way. I had to dive to the ground many times. After almost running the whole way, I arrived on top of the hill where the shelter of Minister Sison was. Up there the explosions were louder; it seemed that the shells were falling just a few yards from us.

I proposed to Mr. Sison that we leave that same afternoon. He refused saying that his wife was sick and that he would prefer to wait for Major de Asis. I pleaded and pleaded, but he would not budge an inch. I then told him that we were leaving anyhow as I was afraid that the next day would be too late. I also told him that we had no guide but that I was sure that we would find other people fleeing on the way. Probably because shelling was becoming more intense and the shells were falling nearer and nearer, Mr. and Mrs. Sison decided to come.

I returned to our shelter and announced that we were leaving right then and there. Everybody was ready; everything we could carry had already been packed. Each of us, especially the body guard and the servants, practiced carrying our packs. All gave assurance that they could carry their respective loads. Even small Menchu had a small package. Needless to say, we were able to take very little. We left several sacks of rice, plenty of canned goods and other food provisions. We left almost all our clothing and several valises full of miscellaneous things. They were scattered in and outside the shelter as if a typhoon had just passed. We hid a little food in one of the caves and sealed the entrance, in case we should be compelled to return. We carried food only for one day as we could not carry more. We knew we had to travel at least 3 days but we were expecting to dig camotes along the way and, at any rate, we were ready to suffer hunger. We felt that all we would need was water and we had been assured that there was plenty of water along the way.

We climbed the first hill which was already steep although it was nothing compared with other mountains we had to climb later. We had a great deal of difficulty going up. When we reached the top, we realized that our packs were too heavy to carry all the way. We threw most of our load. The guard and the laundry woman, without even consulting us, left behind a greater portion of their load. It so happened that my clothes were in one of the packs. I had other clothes being carried by a small young servant girl, but they were all woolen clothes. I gave up hope of saving them because I did not believe the little girl could carry her load which was quite heavy. But to the surprise of everybody, she reached our destination without throwing any part of her load.

We went by the shelter of Minister Sison where the family joined our party, and proceeded on our way. Crossing the Naguilian Road, the trail was downhill and it was quite good. After walking about four kilometers we were stopped. On the way we were stopped by two Japanese soldiers. One of them, an officer, asked us where we were going. We told him that we wanted to escape from shells and bombs. We indicated that we were going to Amasi. He was very nice. He allowed us to proceed but warned us not to go straight ahead or turn to the right as there was fighting. He said we should take the left trail as it would be safe.

The place where we stopped and passed the night was near a Japanese patrol station. From there we could see the flash of cannons, hear the whistling of shells overhead and afterwards the sound of bursting shells. On the hillside some of our companions, mostly girls, danced and sang. We had a good sleep and the next morning, we had enough strength to proceed.

Starting our journey early in the morning at about 5 o’clock, we passed through rough trails dotted with big stones, indicating that we were walking on a river bed where a rapid stream runs through during the rainy season. Eight kilometers further, we reached the Asin road. We walked for another eight kilometers along this road where we arrived at a spot where heavy fighting had taken place. It seemed to be a dead trail. Trying to pick up the trail, we explored the area for a while and right up the road about a hundred yards from where we were, we found another trail. There could be no mistake about it; clothes were strewn all along the path. As a matter of fact, from this point on there were clothes thrown all along the trail to Pitugon. We could not possibly lose our way. We contributed our own clothes to the litter, including my terry cloth coat which had covered me for years after playing tennis.

We crossed a big river, went up a steep mountain where we saw some Japanese picking “camotes”, and reached a narrow plateau where at about 9 o’clock we stopped as airplanes passed overhead and began fierce bombardment. I was surprised to learn, especially since shell explosions had been taking place around her shelter, that during a bombing, Mrs. Sison is unable to walk. We could see the target distinctly. It was the place where we used to live and had just left only the previous day. There could be no mistake about it as we could see bombs exploding on and around the lime factory. (Lime is “apog” in Tagalog; this is the reason why the place is called Apugan. Irisan is the next barrio, the boundary of which is very near my shelter). Our shelters are just a few yards below the factory. We were sure that our shelters had been bombed and this was confirmed by reliable information we received later. We probably would have been killed if we had remained until the next Saturday as proposed by Sison. I do not know whether I had already said that I insisted in leaving that afternoon and did not wish to leave the next day as this day was Friday the 13th. Later we also learned that the only places in Baguio where hand-to-hand combat between Americans and Japanese took place were Irisan and vicinity. In other words, fighting was right there where we lived. What would have happened if we had not left?

After aerial bombardment at about 11:30, we moved ahead. We decided not to eat lunch until we were a little further. We crossed the narrow open plateau and again went up through a narrow trail well shadowed by trees. It was quite a winding trail. We seemed to be going around and around. Finally, we reached a ridge which was quite open. We went along this ridge. Ahead of us we could see shells bursting. Before we reached the place where the shells were falling, we turned left. We reached a place where very large rocks nestled several Igorots houses, all deserted. I forgot to state that after crossing the first river after the Asin road, we were stopped by a Japanese civilian. He asked us many questions and ordered us to give all our revolvers if we had any. We carried 6 revolvers. He took them all, but later returned them except one that belonged to Col. Desiderio which was really a very goodlooking revolver. Afterwards, he asked for cigarettes. We were convinced that he was not connected with the Army but was one of the Japanese civilians who went around robbing people. I should also state that from the time we left our shelter, an American observation plane had been flying overhead. It flew very low and we could see the pilot distinctly. He evidently knew that we were evacuees as he waved at us. We waved back whenever we were sure there was no Japanese around. We had to be careful. My son, Tony, was almost killed because a Japanese sentry saw him waving while an American plane flew overhead. He was lucky that the Japanese believed his explanation that he was waving at a girl friend in a house up the road, which was the truth.

We considered the Igorot village as unsafe as it could be the target of shelling. So after two hours of rest, although we were still very tired, we moved. We wished to reach the other side of the valley which we thought was only about two kilometers away. We walked and walked but it took us hours to reach the river bank bordering the village. This was a trail which descends very abruptly. The hill to the river bank was almost perpendicular. We looked down and we were perplexed as to how we could do it. Finally we decided to slide down. It was a most dangerous feat. It was raining hard and this made the trail very slippery. We feared that my mother-in-law might have to remain behind since she could not continue walking anymore. But she was brave and determined. She said she could make it also. She did, and we attributed it to a miracle. She could hardly walk but by sheer strength of will and perseverance she always could go farther and farther.

But there was a time when the way seemed impossible for her and to make things worse, she had fever. She did not wish to go any further; she could not. It rained and she had to lie down on the wet ground. But my son, Tony, true to my instructions to him to take care of Lola (grandmother), stuck to her. Tony and my Filipino bodyguard, Llagas, carried her down to the river bank. This took several hours. Could she continue? It looked impossible. We prayed and prayed. God must have heeded us as the next day, she found enough strength to proceed. She was able to go several kilometers when it started to rain again. Still suffering from a high fever, she had to take a long rest. Then, although practically dragging her feet, she continued on her way and was able to walk almost all the way to the border of the safety zone. All along the way since the start of our trek, I tried to find carriers, but I could not get any. I asked an Igorot guide to furnish me men to carry my mother-in-law but he said it would have to be after Ambosi as runners thought it dangerous to approach Baguio. A man was willing to do it for ₱3,000 worth of treasury notes. I did not have the money; I carried over ₱3,000 but half of them were PNB notes. He lowered his rate to ₱2,000, but I still could not pay. But the Igorot leader assured me that he would have some men carry Mama (my mother-in-law) after Ambosi. Finally, when we were almost at the end of our journey, a man agreed to carry her. How she was able to walk about 25 kilometers of trail crossing high mountains and deep valleys can only be attributed to God’s mercy.

Going back to the river bank, there was a lone house near the bank. As it was raining we went under it where we slept on the dirty ground with our wet clothes on. We slept soundly probably because we were tired. We did not mind the mosquitoes. It is possible that my wife was bitten here by a malaria transmitting mosquito since after her arrival in Manila, she had bouts of malaria. The house must have sheltered numerous evacuees; on the floor and all around were clothes and human refuse. It was upon our arrival in this place that an Igorot leader with several companions passed by and told us they were on their way to Baguio on behalf of the American Army to rescue General Roxas. I told them to be careful since Roxas was being closely watched. The leader said that he expected to be back next morning with Roxas. I thought he was just boasting.

The next morning we could not leave because my mother-in-law had not arrived. We worried about her and feared for her safety, and the two men with her (Tony and Llagas). We were embarrassed because we were delaying everybody in our party. Fortunately or unfortunately, an air bombardment staged by many airplanes began, so we could not leave anyway. The planes started diving just above us, and we could see the bombs being released. The target to be Japanese positions at the end of the Asin road. Finally, my mother-in-law arrived at about 10 o’clock. Shortly thereafter, we continued on our journey. While crossing the river I took a bath in the rapid crystalline current. When my mother-in-law saw my body which was more of a skeleton than anything else, she cried.

On the river we were advised that Gen. Roxas and Chief Justice Yulo and their families had arrived. The Igorot leader had made good his promise. It seems that he went directly to the shelter of Roxas, and upon his insistence the Roxases and the Yulos left at once. Mrs. Roxas, Mrs. Yulo and Miss Roxas were carried by the Igorots in hammocks. Sison and I decided to leave at once and go a little faster as we did not want Roxas and Yulo to leave ahead of us; we feared that the Japanese would pursue them. They were not pursued, however. I doubt whether the Japanese could have followed them because all along the way American airplanes flew above them as if patrolling to protect them from attacks by the Japanese.

We climbed one steep mountain and another steep mountain. We stopped to rest and shortly afterwards, to our surprise, my mother-in-law came walking. But she was very weak and again with fever. A very kindly mestizo gave her medicine. It started to rain hard again, and again she had to stay in the rain with fever.

We continued our way and after about 3 or 4 kilometers walk over a comparatively good road, we arrived soaking wet at a place which was apparently a rest house. As it continued to rain, we huddled like sardines in the one room house. In size, it must have been four by four meters. It had a front porch that sagged. At about 5 o’clock in the afternoon, we were startled by our Igorot guide suddenly jumping out the window. A Japanese soldier appeared with a loaded sub-machinegun pointed at us. Another armed Japanese soldier with a big scar on his face stood just outside the door. We could not tell whether there were others outside. The one inside the hut, with Capt. Desiderio who studied in Japan and spoke Japanese acting as interpreter, told us not to move. He told us to surrender all firearms. We showed him our five revolvers. He got them all, but then returned my revolver and that of Minister Sison. But almost immediately, he took mine back. He ordered us to open our baggage, which we did. He examined each of them. He got all the foodstuff. One of our companions, Mr. Gatchalian, remained seated on his bundle. The Japanese pulled it from under him and opened it. To our consternation, it contained a revolver with many rounds of ammunition. The Japanese became very angry. He pointed a revolver at Mr. Gatchalian. We thought the Japanese was going to shoot him, but fortunately he merely got the revolver. The tension eased. He asked us for our watches which we gave him. He returned some but retained the expensive ones, including my gold watch. I did not expect him to like my watch as I had been told that the Japanese preferred wrist watches and the watch of Mr. Sison was a gold wristwatch of the best kind. I prized my watch very much; it was a gift to me of Don Antonio Roxas. My other watch which had been presented to me by the employees of the Executive Bureau when I resigned from this office and which I therefore also prized very highly, had been accidentally included in the bag containing our very valuable medicines left along the way. I could not blame my wife for this as like others she was not herself. It was plain robbery, a regular daytime hold-up. As it turned out, the Igorots jumped out of the window to warn Roxas that there were Japanese and not to proceed. Roxas and Yulo did not arrive until after the Igorot had assured them that the Japanese were no longer in the vicinity.

Roxas and party arrived in the hut that night. He told us that they decided to leave Baguio after they found out that Sison and I had already left. They feared that the Japanese would take action against the Ministers who were left in Baguio. They walked very fast even during the night because they feared that they were being pursued. Fortunately, they met no Japanese. We had a long talk about many things that night. We agreed to leave early the next morning, April the 15th, 1945. He proposed that we go in groups instead of together, each group to leave at half hour intervals.

We learned that we were within the jurisdiction of Ambosi; that we were not yet in the safety zone. Although we were very tired, we did not sleep well that night. The Roxases and the Yulos slept in a nearby house, but we were still too crowded. We slept in a sitting position. The mestizo who gave medicine to my mother-in-law suffered a deep cut on his foot when he stepped on a can which had been thrown out the window by the young son of Mr. and Mrs. Villegas. He was bleeding profusely.

Mr. and Mrs. Villegas had a small baby and they kept lighting matches throughout the night. We could not understand why. We all grumbled and protested but they paid no attention. Because of them, I do not believe anybody was able to sleep.

We had no more food. The men went to search for food and they came back with a load of “camote”. This is what we ate for breakfast the next morning. We received information that the Japanese were pursuing us, so although according to Roxas’ plan they were to leave before us, Sison and I decided to go ahead. At about 5 o’clock, we continued our journey. I left my son Tony, my bodyguard and our laundrywoman to take care of my mother-in-law. I told my son that we would be waiting for them when we reached the safety zone. To make sure that they would not lose their way, I told them I would mark the turns or crossings with toilet paper, which I did. They could not lose their way as there was only one trail and the whole way as littered with clothes and other things thrown by the evacuees. My mother-in-law was growing weaker and weaker. I knew that, her strong will notwithstanding, there would come a time when it would just be impossible for her to continue.

The trails continued to be perilous — in fact they were even worse. Almost perpendicular mountains had to be traversed. After ascending and descending a mountain, another one loomed ahead. We counted nine high mountains before reaching Tubao. Many times we just had to slide down on our backs. There was one portion of about 100 yards on the side of a steep mountain with the trail no more than a foot wide and very slippery. In parts, avalanches had occurred and the trail disappeared down the mountain. We passed these portions by holding tightly on tree roots and vines which fortunately were quite abundant. We had to do some Tarzan stunts. To fall meant certain death as the ravine was very deep. Fortunately, no accident happened to any of us. It was the Almighty protecting us.

The first man we met along this trail told us that he had seen Japanese soldiers on the way. We became very nervous. Although we were already dead tired we accelerated our pace. Mr. and Mrs. Sison and our other companions were far ahead of us. My whole family with the exception of Tony, who was with his grandmother, were walking together. My wife was visibly very tired and weak. But the others, including little Menchu, seemed to be still strong. At one time, we stopped to take a little rest. My three young ladies, Dely, Tesy and Ming, who were a little ahead of us entered a dilapidated shack to take a rest. They came running and very excited. They saw a horrible sight — the body of an old person which they could not distinguish to be that of a man or a woman, already in an advanced state of decomposition. We left the place hurriedly.

We again climbed up a mountain so thickly forested that we could not see the sky. The trail was also very bad, but because it was very shady, we considered it the best portion of our trip. We crossed other streams with crystalline water, but although we wished to wash ourselves, we did not stop. We finally reached a group of houses. There were four or five persons in the village. They said that the day before they had been visited by Japanese soldiers which information scared us awfully. After eating some bananas which we picked along the way, we left. We were again caught by heavy rain. We stopped at an abandoned shack with a roof that hardly protected us. It was here that the Roxases and Yulos overtook us. The ladies looked fresh as they were carried in hammocks. As soon as the rains subsided, we proceeded. We had hardly walked 2 kilometers when it began to rain again. The trail was already very slippery and impassable. We had to stop under a structure which seemed to be an old stone bridge. When the sky cleared, we beheld a mountain on the other side of the river. Behind the mountain was already the safety zone. We burst in jubilation. Roxas signalled us to be quiet as there were Japanese. Sure enough; to our right we saw some Japanese soldiers going in a direction parallel to us. Are we going to meet misfortune at the last lap of our trip? We proceeded quietly and fortunately the Japanese did not see us or pretended not to see us.

As if to complete our suffering and martyrdom, the last lap to safety was a steep mountain which was very slippery from the rain. I fell down many times and at one time I almost rolled down into a deep ravine. I would have met instant death. It was impossible for my wife and daughters to go down the mountain. Roxas approached me and told me that runners and carriers would come for them. I still wonder how these Igorots can go down a steep mountain trail so easily just as if it were a perfectly level road. We arrived at the river bank safely and easily. For the first time since the war, we laid eyes on an American soldier. Our emotions were indescribable.

I related earlier our jubilation at seeing the U.S. Captain and his men. We were carried across the river and then we had to ascend another very steep, very difficult, slippery mountain. We did not allow ourselves to be carried any more. But we noticed that we climbed better and faster. Besides we were no longer suffering from nervousness caused by well-founded fears. We reached the top where we stopped to rest. We tarried as we were already in the safety zone. There were many soldiers and guerrillas. Shortly after we had sat down, my younger son, Alfredo, told me that my mother-in-law was coming. We thought he was joking, but then we saw her carried on the back of a man who was rather small. He was carrying my mother-in-law on his back as if she were a small child. We waited for her and there was a happy reunion of three generations of my family.

Before dusk we had to climb again, but it was not a difficult ascent compared with the others. At the top, a place called Pitugan, were three houses, one just a hut. The big one was occupied by Roxas and family and their friends. The small hut was assigned to my family and to Mr. and Mrs. Padilla. Others wanted to join as but we objected because there was no more room. I am glad the Padilla family was the one assigned to us since Mrs. Padilla is a sister of Don Jacobo Zobel, one of my very good friends whose family always supported me in my election bids in Calatagan and Nasugbu. Here for the first time we ate right; we had a good meal. Here we passed the night without hardly any sleep not only because we were almost all in semi-sitting positions, but also because we were too excited for being already in the safety zone. Even then the necessary precautions were taken by the American Captain. There were soldiers with submachine guns posted throughout the night around our houses. The order was to shoot anybody loitering around. Frequently, they searched the whole neighborhood with lighted torches and flashlights. We were cautioned not to go out by ourselves as we might be mistaken for Japanese snipers. We did not go out all night even though we felt the necessity to relieve ourselves. The precautions were well taken as the place where we saw the Japanese soldiers was just on the other side of the river, and once in a while they cross the river and shoot at anyone they see. Fortunately, no untoward incident happened that night.

The next morning, April 16th we left already rather late — about 7 o’clock. We walked not hurriedly on trails all going down. They reminded me of the trails of Batangas. I admired my wife; she had walked practically the whole way and she seemed to be still strong. She was very thin and I feared she would collapse, but she was no more tired than I was. We were, carrying nothing as we were able to hire carriers for this part of the trip. Mama and Menchu were being carried. All along the way, we met hundreds of people, many were runners and carriers. They brought canned goods and candies which they were selling at high prices to the thousands of evacuees coming from Baguio. At about half past eleven, we reached the plains. I think the place is called Rizal. There we stopped a while to eat young coconuts and sugar cane.

Gen. Roxas and Mr. Yulo walked with us. When we were half way to Rizal, a horse was brought for Gen. Roxas. We walked on the plains and after crossing two rivers we sighted a military truck. It was intended for us. The Engineer son of Minister Paredes was in it. The American driver was very nice. My wife and I boarded the truck. I wanted to bring my young ladies but I was told the truck was going back for them. We passed new roads which I understand were built by the American Army. On the way, we picked up Mama and Menchu. We reached Tubao after twelve. The truck returned to Rizal, and after less than an hour it returned with my other children.

We all went to church to give thanks to God for our safe arrival, our successful escape from the clutches of the Japanese. After we left the church, we stayed at the church plaza to wait for assignment of our quarters as we were told. It was there that we received the sad news that my daughter Neny had died. Our sorrow was indescribable. We wept like children. She had been a good and dutiful daughter. She married Ramon Cojuangco in September, 1944 a little more than six months ago. My wife and I were very happy when Neny married a man we heartily approved of. The news of her death was totally unexpected. We had always feared for Lily and her family because they lived in San Miguel near Malacañan and the San Miguel Brewery, and it was here that heavy fighting was reported. It was true that heavy bombardment was reported at Taft Avenue, but it was the Taft Avenue proper up to a little beyond Vito Cruz. This is still far from the house of the Cojuangcos which was on the southern end of Taft Avenue extension. But it turned out that the whole Conjuangco family left their house to seek shelter in the Chapel of De La Salle College near the intersection of Taft Avenue and Vito Cruz. It was a surprise to me to learn that they had gone to that place since, when I learned that the family of Judge Carlos had moved to that place, I expressed to them my belief that it was not a safe place. De La Salle College itself was occupied by the Japanese Army and it had to be bombarded from the air or shelled from the ground. I told them that they should either join the Aquino family who lived in a concrete house near Malacañan or they should just stay in their house on Taft Avenue which was a three storey cement house with a very strong air raid shelter. The reason for this instruction was that I feared the Japanese more than the American bombs and shells. It got into my head that upon retreat they would kill all the Filipinos they could find as by then they would have discovered that the Filipinos were not only guerrilleros but that they hated the Japanese. I based my belief on the record of the Japanese in China. I thought that the only house the Japanese would respect was that of Speaker Aquino for his vocal Japanese leanings. If they chose to remain in their own house in Taft Ave., my instructions to them were to secure the gates, and close tightly and securely all the doors and windows of the house. Evidently, they moved to La Salle upon the persuasion of the Carlos family, Mrs. Carlos being the sister of Mrs. Cojuangco.

I was called to the Municipal building where the office of the C.I.C. was. Engineer Paredes accompanied me. I met there Justice Yulo, Mr. Sison, Mr. Paredes, an American and a priest. There I cried again. The priest was trying to console me by saying that the news about Neny could not be true. This gave me a ray of hope. I was given a little brandy to drink probably to bolster up my spirit. I left the building without having been questioned at all. I think they just wanted to know my personal circumstances and these were provided by Engineer Paredes. I had just returned to the church yard when I was called again. We — Roxas, Yulo, Sison and Paredes and myself — were loaded in two jeeps and taken to Agoo which was the headquarters of the 6th Army operating toward Baguio. There we were introduced to the Commander of the Division, Gen. Carlson. We were invited to a luncheon which was a typical American meal. For the first time in a long time, we ate good bread with butter, nice sweets, ice cream, etc. We had a hearty meal. All the members of the staff of Gen. Carlson were there. After the meal group pictures were taken of us.

Gen. Roxas and Mr. Paredes were closeted with Gen. Carlson probably to learn from them some facts of military value in connection with the operations to take Baguio. We were taken to the office of Col. Arvey whose position we did not know. He might have been the Judge-Advocate. He seemed to have complete files on us and other Filipino high officials. He had a good many personnel and the office seemed to be a busy one. We were asked many questions, but the one that struck us the most was when he asked us what we thought of the postponement of independence. Yulo, our spokesman, answered immediately and without the least hesitation. He answered that our independence should not be postponed at all. The Colonel argued that what we need now is the country’s rehabilitation and this would require the assistance of America. Yulo answered that there was no incompatibility between independence and American assistance to our rehabilitation. I could not help making my sentiments also known by nodding approval to the statements of Mr. Yulo.

The Colonel immediately retorted, “I am surprised with your attitude. I have talked to very many Filipinos and 98% of them were for postponement.” I do not doubt that the Colonel was telling the truth. This reveals the inherent weakness of the Filipinos. I am sure that a great majority of them are for immediate independence. But we generally do not want to displease our hearers especially if they are Americans. We readily agree to insinuations. Or we are apt to presume that all the Americans are against our independence and so whenever we talked to them we give them to understand that we are not enthusiastic for independence. This trait, this weakness in our character must be remedied.

Before leaving another Colonel talked to me. He said that a mob near Baguio had unearthed about 800,000 of silver pesos, and he asked me whether I knew something about it. I told him that I was reliably informed by the Japanese that they were able to recover in the waters around Corregidor several boxes of silver pesos. These were turned over to the Taiwan Bank. This bank had a branch in Baguio and it is possible that the bank had buried the silver pesos in the place where the Americans found them. The Colonel after some recollecting exclaimed, “Oh yes, there was a piece of board with ‘Taiwan’ written on it.”

We returned to Tubao and rejoined our families. We were taken to the school building where two families were assigned to a classroom for living quarters. We, with the Sison family, occupied the classroom on the right end of the building, and the Roxas and Yulo families, the room on the other end of the building. We were given rations of canned goods at nominal prices; We had everything we needed, including butter. We had more than enough. What a contrast! Whereas the Japanese stole our food, the Americans gave us food. Our only problem in that building was sanitation. The authorities were doing their best to keep the surroundings sanitary. There were many toilets behind the building. But just the same human refuse was found abundant all around the building.

I forget to recount that before we reached Ambosi, there was continuous shelling directed by slow flying planes hovering above — the target of the shells was a mountain top just above us. In that place we heard sounds that were most terrifying. The sound travelled through the ravine where we were. I believe it was the whistling of shells falling above us, but instead of the whistling sound, it sounded like the zooming of many airplanes on account of the ravine. Or it might have been the sound of the cannonading at Galleno, the place below Asin where heavy fighting was taking place and as cannonading was on the ravine we were in the sound path.

The 17th and 18th, we spent resting, recovering from our ordeal. Each one of us had lost at least ten pounds on the way. We inquired about when we were to be brought to Manila. The military people promised to provide transportation to Manila just as soon as the quarantine of Manila was lifted and they could secure special passes for us. In the morning of the 19th, we were loaded in a closed small truck, and the rest of the story has already been told. Little did we imagine that it was the beginning of a long incarceration. We were ignorant of what they intended to do to us and we brought nothing. We were originally told that we were only going to San Fabian. I had nothing but the clothes on my back and my toothbrush and shaving kit.

I want to record the departure of President Jose P. Laurel.

On Sunday, March 18, we were called to a special meeting of the Cabinet at the Mansion House. All the Ministers, with the exception of Yulo, Sison and Roxas, were present. It was a very solemn meeting. The President spoke for more than one hour beginning at about half past five. We consider it one of the best speeches that he had ever delivered.

He explained that Ambassador Morata had seen him to transmit the wish of the Japanese Supreme Council to have the President, the members of his Cabinet, the Speaker and the Chief Justice brought to Japan. Laurel asked that he be given until that evening to give his answer. His purpose was to be able to consult his collaborators in the government. He showed us a letter which he had dictated when he was told in Manila that he and the members of his Cabinet might be taken to Japan.

In the letter he declined to go to Japan, giving his reasons. He accepted the Presidency on the conviction that he would be able to serve his country and people. He can only do so if he stays in the Philippines. He was determined to stay and serve his people even if it would cost him his life. His leaving the Philippines at this time would be a desertion and he cannot betray his people by such a cowardly act. Besides, Pres. Quezon was criticized by the Japanese themselves for having abandoned his people when they needed him. He considered the criticism well founded and he should, therefore, not commit a similar dereliction of duty. But if circumstances prevail on him to leave, he would like to request as a counter proposal that he go alone. Just as when the “state of war” with the United States and Great Britain was declared, he was desirous of assuming alone and exclusively the full responsibility, he was now willing to make another sacrifice by going alone so that the others would not have to undertake a dangerous trip to Japan.

Everybody was so affected that no one could speak after the peroration of the President. The President himself had to ask our opinion. The consensus of opinion was that, if possible at all, the President and his Cabinet and other high officials should not go. But if he had to go, each and everyone were willing to accompany him. The President reiterated his determination to go alone. He promised to go to the Cabinet Hill the next day to tell us the result of his negotiation with the Japanese.

The next day, Monday, March 19, he did not go to the Cabinet Hill. Tuesday, at 5:00 p.m., we went to the Mansion House. This time Yulo, Sison and Roxas were there. The President informed us that he had to go, and that his proposal to go alone was partly accepted in the sense that he would only be accompanied by some Ministers and a General. He announced that those accompanying him were Speaker Aquino, Min. Teofilo Sison of Home Affairs, Min. Camilo Osias of Education and Mrs. Osias, and Gen. Capinpin. This announcement was a great relief to me because I feared that on account of my position in the government, I had to go. I was worried as I brought my whole family to Baguio, except my two married daughters. I also brought my mother-in-law. My wife was not in good health. Besides, almost all the families in Baguio were having serious problems with the food shortage. Under the circumstances, I could not leave my family. The announcement was also a surprise as regards Manuel Roxas because it was taken for granted that he would have to go. The President concluded that the departure of the party would be announced soon. We promised to come in the afternoon of the next day.

The next day, Exec. Sec. Emilio Abello sent us a note that the President would like us to go to the Mansion House early. We went at two o’clock that afternoon. We had our picture taken with the President. In the picture was the Filipino flag which the President had been using and which was almost completely torn from the bombing of the Mansion House. Those present were Claro M. Recto, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Jose Paez, Minister of Public Works and Communications; Camilo Osias, Minister of Public Instruction; Pedro Sabido, Minister of Economic Affairs; Emiliano Tria Tirona, Minister of Public Health and Welfare; Arsenio Luz, Chairman of the Board of Information; Jose Sanvictores, Head of the Food Production Activities; Emilio Abello, Executive Secretary; Ramon Macasaet, Vice Minister of Health and Welfare and private physician to the President, Maj. Gen. Guillermo Francisco, Mayor Ramon Mitra of Baguio, Jose Laurel, Jr., Assemblyman from Batangas, and myself, Minister of Finance. Speaker Benigno Aquino, Sr. was also present. Chief Justice Jose Yulo and Brig. Gen. Manuel Roxas came after the meeting, conferred with the President, and left before the President’s departure. Ministers Quintin Paredes of Justice and Rafael Alunan of Agriculture were absent as they could not be notified.

The President spoke again for several minutes. He said that he had devoted the greater portion of his life to his country. It would be a pleasure and it is his determination to dedicate the rest of his life to the service of his country. Undoubtedly, he said, he would be criticized and bitterly attacked. But he hopes that some day his people will understand. His ideals and principles are very clear, having been repeatedly expounded by him. He wants to establish a Philippine nation, truly independent and free. He will combat with all his might any intervention or interference on the part of the Americans, or Japanese, or any other foreigner. He wants his people to be happy and prosperous. He believes that we should not depend upon foreigners as no one could love a Filipino better than a brother Filipino. He would like the Philippine Republic to befriend all nations, but we should always remember that we are Oriental and our country is located in the midst of Oriental nations. It is but natural that we should establish the most friendly relationships with other Oriental nations.

Afterwards, the President sent for his crucifix. He stated that since his childhood he had knelt and prayed before this crucifix. He is leaving it with us under the care of the ranking member, Minister Recto. Before it, he would like us to pledge unity and perfect understanding. He concluded by asking us to forgive whatever offense or wrong he had committed.

It was a very touching and pathetic scene. The President was crying and so were all of us. I could not bear it — I was the most affected as I am the most intimate friend of the President — I had to leave the room for a while. Nobody could speak. In everybody’s eyes we could see the love and trust for our President. The scene was at the Guest House, amidst the ruins and debris.

We left the President and went to the Mansion House. The President spent his time bidding goodbye to the Presidential Guards and the household.

At 7:00 o’clock in the evening, the President and those accompanying him to Japan went by automobile to Ambassador Murata’s residence. We followed on foot as the residence was just outside the Mansion House compound.

Members of the party to Japan were President and Mrs. Laurel, and all the members of his family including his in-laws, Speaker Aquino, Minister and Mrs. Osias, and General Capinpin.

Those who saw the President and party off were Ministers Recto, Paez, Sabido, Tirona, Luz, Sanvictores, Abello, and myself; Gen. Francisco; and Vice Min. Ramon Macasaet.

The Japanese present were Lt. Gen. Muto, Chief of Staff; Maj. Gen. Utsonomiya; Mr. Hamamoto; and many other Japanese.

As a last wish, the President asked Gen. Muto to extend assistance and protection to the Ministers and the General whom he left behind. Gen. Muto promised to do so and, addressing us, he stated that we should not hesitate to communicate to him anything in which the Army could be of help.

The party left by automobile at 9 o’clock. Ambassador Murata accompanied the party to Japan. Japanese soldiers in two trucks convoyed the party. They were supposed to go by automobile for about 15 kilometers; walk for about 60 kilometers, and then by automobile again up to the point the party could board an airplane. A few days later, Mr. Hamamoto told us that the President and party had to walk only about 30 kilometers and that they had arrived safely in Formosa. They could not proceed to Japan probably because of the invasion of Okinawa Island, part of Japan proper.

Before leaving, the President signed an order reorganizing the government by relieving all the Ministers and other officials who remained in the Philippines. Chief Justice Yulo resigned. The purpose was to be able to organize a complete government in Japan.

Thus ended the first government of the Second Republic of the Philippines. No doubt it had been a success under the able and courageous leadership of Pres. Laurel. The government was established under the most difficult circumstances. The war reached its acute stage and it was natural that there would be conflicts between the government and the Filipinos on the one hand, and the Japanese Military authorities on the other. The Japanese naturally wanted to win the war, and at times the requirements of the Army and Navy affected vitally the interest and welfare of Filipino citizens. The difficulty of subordinate Japanese officers and officials and Japanese civilians to understand and appreciate the Filipino customs and idiosyncracies and also to understand and effectuate the principles and aims of Japan as regards the Philippines, created problems which admitted no solution satisfactory to the Filipinos. With so many serious difficulties, the government of the Republic was nevertheless able to forge ahead. It is a wonder how it could count with so many achievements and accomplishments under the circumstances.

I purposely mentioned Japanese subordinate officers and officials. This is because the high officers, like Gen. Kuroda, Gen. Wachi, and Gen. Utsonomiya deserve the respect, admiration and gratitude of the Filipino people.

* * * * *

            Thus for the second time, I am out of the public service. It certainly afforded genuine pleasure and relief. Notwithstanding the fact that I was in the service of the government from 1909 to 1939, and from 1942 to March, 1945, I harbor only dislike for the public service. The reason is not because I have experienced disappointment in public service. I know of no other person who has been treated with as much justice. In fact, my promotions were even faster than they should have been.

But I have seen countless cases of irregularities in the public service. I have seen men promoted who did not in the least deserve it. I have seen flagrant cases of nepotism. I have seen vengeance wreaked on brilliant employees. I have seen bribery and serious irregularities in the service go unpunished because of the influence and “pull” enjoyed by the culprit. I have seen promising young men unjustly dismissed or laid off just to give way to relatives or favorites of the appointing officers. I have seen lazy and inefficient employees retained in the service to the prejudice of the interest of the people. All these so disgusted me that I longed to leave the public service and enter private business where I felt I belonged.

My first opportunity came in 1938 and I immediately seized it. The then President did his best to persuade me to remain in the service, offering all kinds of inducements, including the managership of either the Philippine National Bank or the Manila Railroad Co. But I insisted in resigning. I was not mistaken. In April of 1939, I joined Marsman & Co. I left the government with an indebtedness up to my neck.

On this day, Wednesday, August 1,1945 we read that at Potsdam, Germany, Truman, Stalin and Attlee (the new Premier of Great Britain), and with the concurrence of Chiang Kai Shek, sent an ultimatum to Japan demanding surrender. The conditions imposed were that Japan is to have only her four original islands. All lands taken by force must be returned.

August first has always been considered as an unlucky day. We were therefore glad that we went to bed at 10 o’clock without any unfortunate incident. But at about 11:30 that night we were awakened by a loud cry. We did not pay any attention. A few minutes later, we heard a heavy thing drop. We jumped out of bed and turned the lights on. We saw Dr. Julio Luz lying on the floor. We thought he was merely dreaming. We put him back on his cot. He woke up and began to sing. It was then we realized that he had lost his mind. He stood up on his bed and fell on the floor again. It was lucky for him that he did not get hurt. His brother, Arsenio, called for the doctor. The guard also notified Lt. Hagonberg. They came immediately. Julio called for Sanvictores. He took hold of the left hand of Sanvictores and pulled him in. Julio pulled Sanvictores so strongly that if he were not a strong man, being our physical director, he would have fallen. Luz saw Lt. Hagonberg and he asked, “How is Hagonberg?” “Well, thank you,” answered the Lieutenant. “How is Gilfilan? How is your shit?” The Lieutenant did not answer.

Luz crawled to the ballustrade and tried to jump. Three strong men, for in the meanwhile a big crowd had gathered around, pulled him back. His brother Arsenio became so nervous that he did not know what to do. He ran back and forth. Somebody remarked that it was the effect of Atabrine. Doctor Bunye said that it was the effect of the malaria itself as the type he contracted attacks the brain. But we who knew Luz before he came to Iwahig, and who had observed his conduct since his arrival believe that he is a lunatic.

Bocobo is also showing signs of eccentricity. He seems to think that he is seriously sick and would soon die. We believe that it is just the result of depression caused by our unjust imprisonment. We are all doing our best to help him. The Colonel and the Lieutenant are also doing their best to help. They have authorized him to go out of the stockade any time he wished to take a walk accompanied by another internee to Class A. We still hope to save him.

As a joke, we printed out the different hobbies of each of us, which showed that something is also the matter with our heads.


July 21, 1945 Saturday

This is inspection day. We prepared our bed, baggage, everything. My family will be surprised at how well I can arrange my things. This is one of the many good things we have learned here. The bed cover is neatly folded, the mosquito net properly placed. Our mess kit and toilet articles, all very shiny, are meticulously arranged on our bed. It is a pleasure to see them.

After the inspection, Col. Gilfilan suddenly appeared in our quarters and engaged Minister Paredes in conversation. As usual, whenever he comes we get jitterly expecting that he was going to give us hell. After the appropriate preliminaries, they proceeded to discuss our case. Evidently, the Colonel had already submitted our letter to General MacArthur. He added that he had other papers about us but he had not seen our memorandum submitted to Mr. Stanford of the C.I.C. As reported by Mr. Paredes the conversation is substantially as follows:

The Colonel came prejudiced against us. Like others, he thought we had willingly collaborated with the Japanese, committed acts constituting treason to our country, and harbored anti-American feelings.

Paredes related how we happened to be in the service during the Japanese regime. He said that under the circumstances, we could not possibly do otherwise unless we wanted to endanger the lives of our people. We need not wait for guns to be pointed at us. The Japanese did not hesitate to arrest, punish and even kill. The people were unprotected. Furthermore, there was the danger of the administration falling into the hands of real pro-Japanese men like Ricarte, or of irresponsible rascals, like Benigno Ramos. These men had acted before and during the Japanese occupation as spies. They had not only baited the Japanese to commit atrocities but had no hesitation themselves to rob, abuse and even kill. This was the situation. We had to choose between inaction or action, hiding in the mountains or acceptance of the office which placed us in a position to protect or serve our people as best we could. We harbored no illusions about it but we preferred to take our chances to see what we could do for our people. We feel we did a satisfactory job. So many were killed; more than 500,000 people died because of Japanese brutality. But what would have happened if we did not accept? Knowing now what the Japanese are capable of, it will not be an exaggeration to say that at least one fourth of our population would have perished.

The Colonel nodded with approval. But evidently there were many doubts lingering in his mind. He asked why the Republic declared war against the United States. Paredes explained. He said that even before the inauguration of the Republic, Pres. Laurel was called to Tokyo where Premier Tojo himself expressed their desire for the Philippines to declare war against the United States and Great Britain. The Japanese Premier was very insistent. Laurel boldly refused. He spoke with frankness. He reasoned out that it would not be decent for us to declare war against the United States. The reasoning of Laurel was so sound that the Filipinos present, Aquino and Vargas, were astounded. No publication was ever made of the incident, but rumors about the incident rapidly spread and the people admired his courage. Tojo did not compel Laurel, but the Japanese never gave up on the idea. Every time there was a propitious occasion, the Commander-in-Chief and other generals spoke to the President about the declaration of war.

But the most serious request was when U.S. air attacks on Davao began. It should be remembered that there was a Pact of Alliance between the Philippines and Japan. The Japanese invoked the provisions of the Treaty.

A word about this treaty must be said. It was a treaty of Amity and Alliance. It was given wide publicity by the Japanese; they presented it as an outright alliance. The full document was never published. It was really a unilateral agreement. Whereas Japan had to fight for us, we were not under any obligation to help or fight with them. But of course, lest our true colors be discovered, we accepted that if the Philippines were attacked, we would defend our territory. In the case of Davao, Laurel did not consider it a threat to our territorial integrity, so he did not declare war. He promulgated, however, a proclamation declaring martial law. He thought this would satisfy the Japanese, but it did not — they kept requesting that formal declaration of war be made. American air bombardment of Manila took place on the 21st of September 1944. The Commanding General and the Ambassador saw the President and insisted on a declaration of war. We had special meetings of the Cabinet and secretly we planned what to do. It was evident that the members of the Cabinet were against it, and almost all the assemblymen. So were the members of the Council of State composed of Chief Justice Avanceña as Chairman, and Messrs. Miguel Unson, Pedro Aunario, Ramon Fernandez and Jose Paez. Even the President himself was not in favor. But above all, the people were decidedly against it.

But Roxas had a vision. He could see what could happen if something was not done. So he advised the President to issue some kind of a proclamation about the war. The Constitution provides that war can only be declared by the President with the concurrence of the National Assembly. The Japanese offered to facilitate plans to bring the assemblymen to Manila. But we made every effort to prevent a quorum in the Assembly. It was unanimously approved that no declaration of war be made; that a mere state of war be declared. There is of course a big difference between the two. The declaration of a state of war merely recognizes the state then existing which was the armed conflict prevailing in the Philippines. Every effort was made to eliminate as much as possible statements concerning America without the Japanese noticing it. As part of the plan, the President, a day or two before the declaration was issued, stated that there would be no conscription of the Filipino youth. Pres. Laurel somehow learned that the Japanese would order the conscription of the Filipino youth. The young people would be trained to fight Filipino and American forces. The proclamation contained no provision for conscription. In making the assurance, his intention was to be able to answer the Japanese in case they asked for such conscription, that his prestige would be adversely affected if he did not stand by his word. What good is a declaration of war without conscription? These are the facts. But of course the Japanese announced to the world that it was an outright declaration of war.

Colonel Gilfilan also asked about the labor conscription. It was also explained that this is one of those things that just could not be avoided. But let us examine the wording of the proclamation. It will be seen that it is a useless proclamation. It provides that labor conscription may be ordered by the Military Governor when deemed necessary.

The Colonel expressed surprise, “Did Laurel do all that?” He made Paredes to understand that he did not consider us guilty of any punishable act. He stated, though it is not known whether it was said jokingly, that a jury better be created and he be made a member of it.

He is confident that we will be detained only during the duration of the war. He said that his tour of duty is already over but he decided to stay until we were released. This is interpreted by us to mean that the war may end soon. As the Colonel started to leave, he stated that he would help us.

There is a lot of speculation as to why he came. Some believe that he knows something more definite about our early release, and so he wanted to have closer relations with us. Others say that he is authorized to investigate our case and was investigating our case. The rest believe that something involving us is going on in Manila and that the Colonel had been called for a conference. He is preparing himself.

Needless to say, our hopes are again quite high.


July 6, 1945 Friday

Yulo continued to be very bitter against everybody. He has lost confidence in Osmeña and in Roxas in so far as our situation is concerned. As to MacArthur, he says MacArthur will do only what would be for his own convenience. He thinks Osmeña is useless. As to Roxas, he resented the fact that both of them journeyed from Baguio to La Union together, and then to Manila together, and afterwards, Roxas left him. Since then, they have not seen each other.

It is reported that Osmeña at one time planned to prevent the election of Roxas as President of the Senate. He wanted Yulo to return to make him his candidate for the position. This was never carried out.

It was also reported that Roxas had said that Congress had nothing to do and could do nothing in our case, and that it is only the military that could decide our case. This report depressed us. But the news was clarified by the letter of my wife. She said that she, accompanied by Mrs. Recto and Sen. Rodriguez, went to see Pres. Osmeña in his office. The President received them amiably. My wife went there to intervene in my behalf. The President told them that he cannot do anything now as we are still under the military, that he had already requested that we be transferred to the Commonwealth, and that once transferred he would be able to do something. According to her, Roxas paid her a call at our house. He said practically the same thing — that nothing can be done now, but that he has already asked Gen. MacArthur to turn us over to the Commonwealth. He would do his best for us, and if necessary he will go to America.

Today, news came that the military campaign in the Philippines had been declared closed. This may accelerate our transfer to the Commonwealth.

* * * * *

It seems almost definite that the elections will be held next November and that the opposing candidates will be Pres. Osmeña and Roxas. There is quite a difference of opinion as to whether it will benefit us or prejudice us. The general opinion seems to be that it will favor us. Recto upholds this view. They say that both will try to do everything for us with the expectation that we would help whoever could get us released. They are aware that we here hold the balance of power and that whoever we support will come out.

My opinion is different. I believe the effect will be just the reverse. Each would not be a candidate unless he is reasonably sure that he can win. They would be thinking: Why allow a new element to come in which may deprive him of his chance to win? Better eliminate any disturbing element. On the other hand, there are many candidates for senator who will try to use their influence not to allow us to be released for fear that we may present our candidacies and therefore lessen their chances to get elected. Furthermore, each candidate will want to be sure of our support. Those will not get our support will surely work against us.

Both Osmeña and Roxas can do very much for us either way. Osmeña will be the one to decide what to do with us once we are turned over to the Commonwealth. On the other hand, Roxas is an intimate friend of MacArthur and just now our fate is in the hands of MacArthur. If, on the other hand, because of our prudence and because we do not want our attitude known just yet, both may lose interest or may want us to remain where we are until they find out how we stand.

We have been informed that the most serious charge against former Ministers of the Philippine Republic is that we left Manila and this resulted in the killing of so many residents of the city. In other words, they say that if we had not left Manila, the massacre of residents would not have occurred. I am sure that our presence in Manila would not have made any difference. This is what the Japanese did throughout China before the establishment of the Pro-Japanese government. The Japanese were aware that the majority of Filipinos were against them. To protect our people and ourselves, we of course denied this. But as a matter of fact, we knew positively that 95% of the Filipino people were anti-Japanese. We knew that even the government employees serving in the Japanese regime were “guerrilleros”. We knew the feeling of the Filipinos because we were in continuous close contact with them. They hated the Japanese. This feeling was prompted by the abuses committed by the Japanese. They also resented the intervention of the military police and Japanese civilians in strictly private affairs.

What the Filipinos resented most was the air of superiority assumed by the Japanese. Even those holding the lowliest jobs acted no more, no less than kings. All branches of government had Japanese advisers, some of them very ignorant. They would give orders to Filipino officials who by education and experience were far ahead of them.

I remember the case of Dr. Sison, Director of the Philippine General Hospital and Dean of the College of Medicine, reputed as one of the best doctors in the Philippines. A young doctor in the Japanese Army with the rank of Lieutenant, a Dr. Ono, tried to boss him around. We had a Japanese friend, Mr. Yamamoto, then Manager of the Yokohama Specie Bank. We were with him almost everyday as he was a member of the Philippine Club and we used to play tennis with him. After the Japanese occupation of Manila, he would not even talk to us.

We interpreted the attitude of the Japanese as a superiority complex. This we can never accept. Just as we have been preaching that we must have no inferiority complex towards the Americans and other whites, we cannot under any circumstances admit inferiority to the Japanese. Such is the general feeling of Filipinos toward the Japanese and they knew this perfectly well. This is the reason why they tried to change the government, why they wanted Gen. Ricarte and Benigno Ramos to hold responsible positions in the government; why they organized the Makapili, which constitutes not only an army to fight with the Japanese, but a party openly and aggressively for the Japanese. They were against the Laurel government because they were convinced that all of us were not sincere. On the other hand, they knew perfectly well that in Manila and everywhere else, there were many “guerrilleros” and that the moment the Americans approached Manila the Filipinos would all rise up in arms. Under the circumstances, it was not surprising that they had decided to kill everybody they saw before retreating. We could not have done anything. All that would have happened is that they would have killed us also; they did not discriminate. Even those who were reputed to be pro-Japanese and who had done much for the Japanese were killed.

Supposing that we could have done something, why did we leave Manila. We did not want to leave Manila. Plans to evacuate Manila had been previously considered. Various places were considered for the purpose, like San Mateo and Montalban. After due consideration, however, we decided to drop the matter of the proposed evacuation. But on the 19th of December, the President called us to a special meeting and told us that we were being ordered by the Japanese Military authorities to go to Baguio. We were all surprised. Baguio was one of the evacuation places considered and there was almost a unanimous vote against it for two reasons: (1) There were only two roads leading to the City. If these were cut off, not only would it be impossible to escape but there would also be a food shortage since Baguio is far from being self-sufficient. (2) The water supply of Baguio comes from a pumping water system and if the water lines or the pumping mechanism were destroyed or ran out of fuel, we would have a big problem with our water supply.

At any rate, we had decided not to leave Manila. We asked the President whether we could stay. He answered that he had done all he could to prevent the evacuation since he felt duty was to stay in Manila. He feared that there would be a panic when the people found out that the national government had left. He desired to be in a position to protect the people, to die if necessary. Of course that was also the sentiment of each and every Minister. The President said we must go.

We were given 48 hours to leave Manila. For this reason, I was not able to clear out my desk. My family had no time to prepare for departure. I left many things that I should have taken. At home, we packed hurriedly, also leaving many valuable things behind. We were not able to make arrangements for the occupancy of our house during our absence. We had to ask my daughter Lily and her husband to stay there in the meanwhile. The newly married couple, my daughter Neny and Ramon Cojuangco, could not go to Baguio with us because the younger sister of Ramon was doing to be married in a few days. They promised to follow us as soon as possible. (They failed to do so and I suspect it was because of lack of transportation or because American planes were hovering all over Luzon and it was not safe to travel.)

Our car was not ready for the long trip; it needed to be brought to the repair shop. We were told that we would leave for Baguio at ten o’clock of the night of the 20th. Our car was finished at about 9 o’clock of the night set for our departure, but it did not run smoothly. A Malacañan mechanic, after inspecting it, told us that the car could definitely not reach Baguio. I decided to take the armored car of the Philippine National Bank where I was the one-man Board of Directors. But the armored car was hardly sufficient to accommodate our cook, laundry woman and servants, not to mention our luggage. Not including our household help, we were thirteen: my wife and I, my eight children, mother-in-law, my Japanese military police guard and my chauffeur. We tried to get other cars in Malacañan, but they were all in bad shape and the mechanic certified that they could not reach Baguio. In a way, we were glad as we thought that it would be a good excuse for us not to go.

The Japanese offered to give us a military car, but of course I did not want to use such a car because it was painted in the special khaki color of all military cars. It would have been very dangerous since American planes seem to have already mastery of the air and I was sure that we would encounter American planes. The military car would be a target. I decided to borrow the Buick 7-passenger car of my son-in-law, Ramon Cojuangco (1941 model), although it had not been used for months and we were not sure that it would run. When we tried to leave the Malacañan Palace grounds to go to the house of Speaker Benigno Aquino where the car was kept, the Japanese guards stopped us and questioned us repeatedly. When they found out who I was and where I was going, and that my sole purpose for leaving the premises was to get my son-in-law’s car to use in going to Baguio, we were allowed to leave but under guard. Speaker Aquino’s house was within hailing distance from Malacañan.

The Buick would not start. We pushed it to start the engine, and finally after two hours of pushing, the car began to function. All the while we were pushing the automobile, the soldiers followed behind us. Back in Malacañan, the mechanic certified that it could reach Baguio, so we decided to use it.

We arrived in Malacañan before ten o’clock, the time for departure set by the military, but we were not to leave for Baguio until the next morning. No one was allowed to leave Malacañan. That night we slept on divans and chairs, and some slept in the cars. We were not allowed to get food from the outside; we had to be contented with the little food furnished us by Malacañan. The palace was very heavily guarded by Japanese soldiers and officers.

The motorcade consisted of at least 30 cars belonging to the President, the Chief Justice, and all the Ministers with the exception of Minister Sison of Home Affairs. The Japanese Ambassador and his staff were also with us. Alongside the car of each Minister was a military vehicle with Japanese guards in full uniform. We noticed that they kept their eyes on us.

We boarded our automobiles at about seven o’clock in the morning. We were given instructions. The cars were camouflaged and divided into groups. Each group would leave at half-hour intervals and each car was to keep a certain distance from the next. When American planes appeared, we were told to alight and endeavor to find an air raid shelter, or go to a more protected place like under trees, and not to move. We knew that the trip was going to be a dangerous one. I was worried as I was carrying about ₱15,000,000 of military notes and about ₱1,000,000 of Commonwealth notes in the armored car owned by the Philippine National Bank which was part of our caravan.

We did not actually start until about 9 o’clock and so we were inside the car sweating for a full two hours. The Kempetai or military police assigned to me sat with the chauffeur and was fully armed. We took the regular route to Baguio. There was very little civilian traffic or Filipinos on the road. All along the way, the roads with the exception of places inside the “poblacion” were deserted. Almost all the houses were vacant. The atmosphere was very pitiful and sombre. We also saw no animals. There were stretches of miles and miles with no Filipinos in sight. They probably had fled to the mountains or to the barrios to avoid the Japanese soldiers who had been taking all their food. There were many Japanese soldiers, automobiles, trucks and other military vehicles all along the way. It convinced us that there were still many Japanese soldiers in the Philippines. What we could not understand was that the soldiers were travelling in both directions. We saw cannons, especially anti-aircraft. We saw various airplanes parked alongside the roads, very well camouflaged.

Before leaving Manila, we were told that signals would be given whenever there was an air raid or American planes above. I forgot to say that our convoy included many trucks of Japanese officers and soldiers. Generally, there was one truck in front of a group and another behind. Because of these trucks, we travelled at a very slow pace. A kilometer before reaching San Fernando, Pampanga, we were stopped. We were advised that Camp Clark, the most important Japanese air base, was being attacked. We got off to run for shelter. I selected a ditch. We saw two American planes overhead. We certainly were scared. Evidently the planes did not see our cars as they continued on their way.

We proceeded on our way. San Fernando was intact, but when we reached Angeles we saw that the town was almost completely wiped out. It is said that it was burned by Communist elements. We reached a place from where we could see Camp Clark; a few places were still burning. We learned that many Japanese planes were either shot down or destroyed on the ground. There were also some American planes hit. We learned that Pres. Laurel and his family, who were in the first group, were very near the scene of the air battle and bombing. They also had to alight and hide.

When passing Tarlac we saw many planes coming. At first we thought they were American planes, but they were flying low. Evidently, a big transport carrying some high Japanese officers, was being escorted. The rest of the way we did not stop. We tried to go as fast as possible when approaching or passing airports and other military objectives. We did not encounter any more planes.

Alcohol fuel is really far from being as good as gasoline. All along the road cars belonging to different groups stalled. Many had to be pushed or’ repaired. Some cars had to be abandoned on the roadside, the occupants transferred to the military trucks with the Japanese and Philippine Constabulary soldiers. After a few hours, the motorcade broke up as most of the cars had stopped. The cars still running went ahead. All along the way the trucks loaded with Japanese soldiers never left us. When our car stalled, they also stopped and helped push our car. No car was able to arrive in Baguio before dusk. Some arrived before midnight of the 21st and some in the early morning of the 22nd. Some even arrived on the 23rd. Many cars were left behind. The occupants of cars that broken down in Kennon Road walked all the way to Baguio.

My family and I had the most sensational experience. My car ran smoothly until we entered Pangasinan when it stopped. It had to be pushed by Army trucks quite a long way before it would start again. This had to be repeated many times. At one point, the machine would not function anymore. A Japanese mechanic alighted from a truck and repaired the machine. He must have been a good mechanic as the machine started and we continued on our trip. After about 20 kilometers we stopped again. A truck tried to pull us with the intention of doing so up to Baguio. But my car was very big and heavy and it could not be pulled up the mountain road. The mechanic was able to make it function again. After stopping in Pozorrubio for fuel, at about six o’clock in the evening, we started the sleep climb to Baguio. Before reaching Camp one, the car stopped again. It had to be pushed for kilometers by Min. Recto’s car. In places, the roads were so narrow after a landslide; the fender skirts caught a high ground and the car got stuck. We removed the fender skirts but were convinced, however, that we could not continue the trip that way. Meanwhile, many cars had accumulated behind us and the occupants were becoming impatient. I heard them hooting. I was annoyed; I thought they ought to be more helpful. I told the chauffeur to stop the car, park it on the side of the road, and allow all the cars, including the one pushing us to pass. I was determined that we would sleep right there on the road. It was certainly difficult for my mother-in-law, my wife and my children. I could see that they were suffering, especially as it was already very cold. I was not sorry to stay; I was afraid to continue. My chauffeur had been rejected by the government insurance company for poor eyesight. He was also color blind. I should not have allowed him to drive, especially on narrow and dangerous roads like the Kennon Road. But the chauffeur continued to work on the car. Finally, to our amazement, it started to function.

By this time we were the only car on Kennon Road. We went quite fast. We could not slow down because everytime the car slowed down it would stop. We continued our way in quite a fast clip. We passed all the cars that hours before had left us. We reached Baguio several hours ahead of them. My chauffeur had never been to Baguio. So I had to direct him. We intended to go straight to the house reserved for us in Cabinet Hill. The road to Cabinet Hill was closed. We went ahead to the Pines Hotel. There we learned that the houses on Cabinet Hill were not ready since the present occupants had been given only a few days to vacate the houses — accommodations in Baguio were then very difficult. But the Pines Hotel was ready for us.

My chauffeur, who had never been to Pines Hotel, did not know the correct entrance. He entered through the exit. Since the driveway was very narrow which made it difficult for a car to back out, I walked to the hotel lobby where I got permission for us to approach the front entrance passing through the wrong way. From the entrance, I hailed my chauffeur to start the automobile and proceed. The road was steep and the car began to roll down, I was right in front of it. I hardly had time to jump out of the way. It was a narrow escape.

We went into the hotel. There was no food prepared for us so we passed the night hungry. We were given two small rooms where we had to sleep four to a bed. We suffered terribly.

I relate all these facts to show that we did not want to leave Manila voluntarily and that we were carried by threat and by force to Baguio.

I would also like to relate here the circumstances connected with the ₱15,000,000 of military notes and ₱1,000,000 of Commonwealth notes that we brought to Baguio.

Sometime on December 19, 1944, the Japanese adviser of the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Haraguti, accompanied by three Japanese officers, came to see me at my office. I was surprised at the sudden arrival of my visitors for I had not been informed of their coming. Haraguti, in the name and on behalf of the Japanese Army, demanded that all Philippine and American currency deposited and in the possession of the different Filipino banks be turned over to the Southern Development Bank, a bank owned and controlled by the Japanese government. As Minister of Finance, I had the sole discretion of affecting such a transfer with the final approval of the President. The Japanese did not go to Laurel directly because, in many previous occasions, Laurel told them that where money matters were involved he executes whatever his Minister of Finance recommends.

I protested vehemently. Haraguti cited a precedent — what the American High Commissioner did with reference to bank funds upon the commencement of the Pacific war. He said that the High Commissioner took possession of all the Philippine currency belonging to the different banks. I answered that the present case is different inasmuch as the Philippine Commonwealth was really under the American government, whereas at present the Philippines is an independent Republic formally recognized by the Japanese government. Haraguti insisted and I could see that the Japanese were determined to use force if necessary. I then asked him why they wanted to get the money. He answered that the purpose was to prevent their circulation. I then proposed that the Republic get the money for safekeeping. I added, however, that I would consult Pres. Laurel before making a definite decision. I thought they had accepted my proposition as they left without saying anything further.

I immediately went to see Pres. Laurel. I told Laurel that I was convinced that the Japanese were hell bent on confiscating the money and that we had no other recourse but to do all the means necessary to save the money. Pres. Laurel and I decided to meet with the managers of the banks concerned. Whatever is agreed upon by the managers and myself, would be considered as approved and ordered by the President.

The following day, I called the bank managers concerned and met with them in the office of the President of the Philippine National Bank on the Escolta. As I recall, the only banks then having Philippine or American currency were the Philippine National Bank, the Philippine Bank of Commerce, and the Bank of the Philippine Islands. The PNB was represented by Mr. Vicente Carmona, as bank President, while PBC and BPI were represented by their respective Vice President and General Manager, Miguel Cuaderno and Rafael Moreno. Felix de la Costa, director of the Bureau of Credits and Investment, was also present.

During the meeting I gave them an account of what happened. I told them that the only possible satisfactory solution would be for them to turn over the money to the Philippine government for safekeeping. I added that the money would be returned to them as soon as conditions become normal. They all readily agreed. With respect to the Philippine National Bank, no action was necessary as we were leaving all the money with the bank. I issued corresponding receipts to the banks for the amounts received as follows: Philippine National Bank, ₱490,529.00; Philippine Bank of Commerce, ₱425.200.00; and Bank of the Philippine Islands, ₱969.00. The total amount taken by my office was left and deposited with the Philippine National Bank. After leaving the bank, I went directly to Pres. Laurel to give my report. He approved all that had been done.

About a week prior to the above-mentioned events, Malacañan had advised all the Ministers that the Japanese were ordering all of us to go with them to Baguio. On December 20, 1944, an arrangement was made with the Philippine National Bank to load all the currency in the bank’s armored car which would go with us to Baguio. The person in charge of the armored car was Mr. Amado Lagdameo, the manager of the Baguio branch of PNB. Upon arrival in Baguio, the money was taken directly to and deposited in the Philippine National Bank branch.

In the evening of January 8, 1945, I received a letter from Manager Lagdameo reporting that Maj. I. Moritani accompanied by the Managers of the Bank of Taiwan and the Nampo Kaihatsu Kinko, forced him to hand over to them all the notes deposited in trust with the branch. Also taken were all the cash in the vault. He also wrote that he was not allowed to communicate with me by phone nor see me personally.

I immediately reported the matter to Pres. Laurel. I told him that what the Japanese had done was clearly illegal and improper. I recommended that Laurel make representations to the proper Japanese authorities immediately for the return of the currency seized as it was being held in trust by the Philippine Republic for the banks. Laurel protested strongly to the Japanese Ambassador and the Japanese military authorities demanding the return of the money. Up to the time when I escaped from Baguio on April 12, 1945, the money had not yet been returned. All that we were able to get was a receipt for the money from Col. Utsonomiya. All the original documents are in my possession.