February 5, 1942 — Thursday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


December 24, 1941 – Wednesday

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At 8 a.m. I attended the meeting of the Cabinet at Marikina. It was discussed that the situation was becoming serious. The enemy had landed at Atimonan and Mauban. The President advised us that General MacArthur had told him to prepare to leave for Corregidor at 2 hours notice.

At 9 a.m. I left for my office. At 10 a.m. General De Jesus and I were called rush to USAFFE Headquarters for an urgent conference. General Sutherland told me that I was to be at Malacañan, at 1 p.m. ready to leave with the President. At 1 p.m. sharp I was at Malacañan. There was an air-raid. When the “all-clear” signal was sounded, we left Malacañan for the Presidential landing, boarded the launch Baler, and boarded the SS Mayon which was anchored off the coast of Malabon. At 2:30 p.m. another raid alarm was sounded. The departure was delayed because the Chief Engineer of the Mayon had not arrived and could not be located. Finally we left at 4 p.m. without the Chief Engineer. This delay constituted a blessing in disguise as Japanese planes had raided Corregidor and Mariveles at 4 p.m. sinking one boat and setting on fire a French ship the Marechal Foch.

We landed at Corregidor at 5:30 p.m. The U.S. High Commissioner, Mrs. Sayre and son and office assistants were on the same boat. We were assigned beds in two of the Hospital tunnels. The men in tunnel 11 and the women in tunnel 10. We are fairly comfortable but I fear that living in the tunnel for a prolonged period is not healthy. The President is accompanied by his family and various servants. (Officially he is accompanied by the Vice-President (Osmeña) who has in addition been appointed Secretary of Public Instruction & Secretary of Health, by Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos who in addition has been appointed Acting Sec. of Justice & Acting sec. of Finance, and myself who in addition to being Chief of Staff Philippine Army I have been appointed Secretary of National Defense, Secretary of Public Works and Communications and Secretary of Labor.)

In addition the President is accompanied by 3 M.D.’s (Dr. E. C. Cruz, Dr. B. Diño & Dr. A. Trepp) all of whom were commissioned captains Medical Corps Reserves.