Air raid alert went at 5:58 a.m. At 7:20 a.m. our planes came over and started bombing before alarm went. Saw eight planes come out of the clouds. Dropped heavy bombs. Air raid over at 9:10 a.m. Air raid alarm again at 10:15 a.m. Bombing around Cavite. No planes over Manila. Raid off at 10:50 a.m.
The worries, distress and school problems, aggravated by lack of food, have drained my strength, and I had to go to Laguna to recover some vigor from the fresh breeze and nourishment offered by this province. These towns northeast of Makiling are the most peaceful in the archipelago. The guerrillas had already taken refuge in the mountains several months ago, or had returned to their homes, reconciled but not appeased, waiting for further developments. The more zealous groups have settled in the mountains at the opposite coast of Makiling, from where they descend and prey upon the lowland towns, though infrequently, ambushing trucks and destroying army trains.
The bandits of Cavite are the only ones showing signs of happenings all throughout the country. They steal domestic animals, crops, farm equipment, rails and rail ties, electric wires, laundry clothes and even the clothes on persons’ backs.
The Commander of the Constabulary of Calamba called up the El Real Plantation where I was vacationing asking for a truck to transport a contingent to the nearby town of Santa Rosa where the bandits were attacking an outpost. When the driver returned, he was pale and frightened, recounting the fierce battle he witnessed. We did not know what happened and what the casualties were.
I have noted two things in the south. First, that laborers do not want to work in the fields or in factories. They say that their wages would not suffice even if it were doubled, what with rice costing ₱12.00 a ganta and sugar about that much per kilo. Unless they are given these commodities, they will not work.
The Army was expecting this year’s sugar cane yield to be high, but the harvest did not reach even a tenth of the past year’s harvests. After a serious dissappoinment in the failure of the cotton experiment, the military authorities launched a feverish campaign in favor of sugar cane as they are fast running short of alcohol for fuel. The Sugar Association which was commissioned by the military to produce and distribute sugar announced that it would pay ₱16.00 a picul of actual harvests, and that the planters could buy their sugar equivalent to 10% of their production from the Association at ₱35.00 a picul at the black market. How would you expect them to be interested in the Association’s offer?
Another noteworthy development is the intensity of preparations for defense which the Japanese are making around Manila. From Muntinlupa to Caloocan are being constructed a chain of airfields and a small Maginot line from north to south through the towns surrounding the city. It is evident that they are taking the invasion threat very seriously.
The so-called guerrillas in this pacified region of Luzon are growing in number and militancy. They have formed a semi-secret organization which, in addition to its active members, is enlisting many young Filipinos who are under instructions to be prepared for active duty. They do not interfere either with the Japanese or the general public, but they are liquidating collaborators both in Manila and the suburbs. In some cases, some well-known active and talkative collaborators have been kidnapped and later released after strong admonitions. Others were sent letters warning them to be careful in what they do or say. These threats are usually effective.
In Cavite, an upsurge of robberies in bands is victimizing defenseless barrios, extending such activities to nearby provinces and causing panic among the helpless townspeople. A band of some seventy bandits armed with rifles swooped down on a barrio in Calamba a couple of days ago, divesting its inhabitants of their clothings, money, work animals, etc. One of the gang leaders was seen the other day hanging dead on a pole, killed by guerrillas who did not want to be held responsible for the despoliation.
I was told today about an incident which revealed that Japan has prepared well to occupy these islands. The incident was recounted by a Spanish priest, the parish priest of Cavite, who, a few days after the entry of the Japanese in the neighboring city, was notified that he was to report to the new Commander at the plaza. He appeared personally at the office of the Commander who, at that time, was occupied and whose head was inclined forward. The priest could only see the face partially, but he knew that it was a familiar face. As the priest entered the Japanese lieutenant colonel raised his head and on seeing the parish priest, said in perfect Spanish, “Hello, Fr. Pedro, how are you? You don’t know me anymore?” He was the priest’s former barber for several years and was likewise the barber of many American officers. Shortly before the war he disappeared.
It was clear that the barber was not promoted to colonel overnight as the Reds had done in Spain, but that he disguised himself as a barber to study and to spy on the naval base. It was an open secret that the Japanese maintained an army of spies in the Philippines. We have heard of cases of Japanese officers going about in the Islands working as drivers, mechanics, agents of commercial firms, and even as tailors and carpenters. They knew every geographical detail of the country better than the American officers did, and possessed complete maps, not only of the details of the terrain and coasts, but also of all fortifications, and they were posted on the movement of troops and armaments, their number and quality. They even knew the plans of the American High Command. All Japanese officers came provided with maps marked in Japanese with all details, streets and houses, roads, rivers, bridges, barrios, hills, factories, etc. well marked. When they came to a place, they could immediately identify it through their maps.
Two raids about noon, hit Cavite. Don’t think much damage done. Getting tired of this doing nothing.
Yesterday, American High Commissioner Francis B. Sayre radioed a message to his homeland. It sounded like a drowning man’s desperate call for help. It was worded thus:
The message which I send you, people of the United States, is this: We in the frontline are fighting to death because we have a firm faith in our cause and our leader. We know that you, at home, will send us help, and that you will not allow differences of opinion or the dispute between labor and capital, or red tape, or any other matter hinder you from obtaining the effective help for us before it is too late. The war forces us to action, action, action. Time is essential. Onward Americans! (El Debate, December 31, 1941).
Cavite has been burning these last few days. The naval base where the big Trans-Pacific clippers were sheltered and which constituted the greater part of the town is destroyed, causing the death of several hundred, if not thousands of people. Eye-witnesses who escaped from the scene of the catastrophe recount horrible experiences. What would it be with Manila and its unprotected populace, without anti-aircraft defenses, lacking in all kinds of shelters, and mostly built with flammable materials?
The Press is very sparing in details about the fighting inside and outside the Philippines. The officials of the High Command are very laconic, so that if one reads between the lines, he would still get nothing clear. Everybody is waiting for the promised reinforcements. On the other hand, the cause is given up as hopeless.
When I got to the field, Sgt. King, the line chief, told me that all his crew had left the field. He could not get them to stay to do maintenance work. It wasn’t my job to take charge of maintenance but but it wasn’t being done, and it had to be done if the planes were to fly, so I spent most of the morning rounding up the crews and getting them back to work. I found that to keep them at work and get something done, I had to be right there with them. They were scared, and I was, too, because we knew Nichols was in for a big raid, but we stayed there all morning trying to get all the ships into flying condition. A litle after noon I decided to go to the bank and draw some money. I rode into Manila with some other officers who were going to lunch. From the bank I went home to eat lunch and just after I finished, I heard the drone of airplanes. “It’s our bombers,” I told Dorothy, as we walked out to watch them.
“No, they don’t sound like ours,” Dorothy said. When we got out where we could see them, I changed my mind. There they were, fifty-four of them. Two engine bombers were flying at 20,000 feet. The anti-aircraft in Manila began to shoot at them, but their range was so bad that the shells burst only about half as high as the planes were flying. They flew over Nichols several times and dropped bombs each time; then they flew west and dropped the rest of their bombs on Cavite. The dive bombers then came and strafed the field. A few of our P-40s were up, but they were greatly out numbered. They and the dive bombers were so low that I couldn’t see any of the fights. Dorothy and I had been huddled up against a concrete wall all during the raid, but as soon as it was over and traffic started on the streets, I went on out to Nichols. A gasoline truck had been set on fire, several planes had been destroyed, and a few men had been killed or wounded but from all appearances, no large amount of damage had been done. Then some bad news came in. Lt. Hobrecht had been shot down, and when he jumped, his parachute didn’t open. Lt. Phillips had been after a Jap dive bomber over Cavite and had shot him down but then was show down by our anti-aircraft who were shooting at the Japs. He jumped and got out all right. Both were 17th pilots.
I went on to the Nichols Headquarters, which had been moved to a concrete dugout just off the field. There I heard some other developments of the war. Del Carmen had also been bombed and strafed that day. No heavy damage was the report. Then I heard a report that made me wonder what the Jap Army meant to do. The report was that warships and transports had come to Aparri and Vigan on the north tip of Luzon and that troops were landing there. They couldn’t start a ground offensive from there because they would have to come over miles and miles of mountains before they could reach the part of Luzon that they would want. We found out later that they only wanted the use of the airfields located at these points. A few of our bombers had gone up to bomb their ships and several flights of pursuit ships had gone up to strafe the ships, but what could a pursuit plane do against a battle ship? We just didn’t have enough bombers left to do anything. One destroyer was sunk and the ammunition ship was blown up. Everybody was still cheerful though. We all thought we could hold the Nips for one or two weeks, and then our Navy would reach us, reinforcements from the States would start pouring in, and we would have done our job. That was the plan, we all thought, and we didn’t even dream otherwise.
I went home about dark that night. After supper Dorothy and I spent the next two or three hours trying to get a few things straightened out and my personal affairs in order. I made a will and a list of things for Dorothy to do or check on in case something should happen to me. I didn’t like to this because it seemed like I was saying, “I will probably get killed and I want you to do these things after I am dead,” but it was something that needed to be done, so I got it off my mind.
I have always said I am not the least bit superstitious, but I think I am. In flying school I started flying in a certain pair of shoes and from then on through primary I would never fly in any others. Subconsciously I was afraid I would wash-out or something bad would happen if I changed. I still have those shoes, an old pair of perforated brown oxfords, and I guess I will always keep them. I started flying the first day of the war with certain things in my pockets and ever since I always carry the same things. I seem to think something might happen if U get rid of these old safety pins, coins, key chain, and medals, so I make it a point to keep them. Yes, I guess I am superstitious.
Dorothy and I were both cheerful and optimistic that night. In a few weeks we would have Japan on the run and begging for mercy. What did we have to worry abou except maybe a few weeks separation at the most?
Visit to office of the usual series of men wanting me to get them jobs. Great relief when Rafferty arrived–he has forced his partners in the Manganese Mine, to “do him right.” Told me Sy Cip’s brother took a Chinese “dumb head” to the United States to campaign against our attempt to make the Chinese keep their books in English, Spanish or Tagalog so that the Government could collect taxes. The Chinese won.
We discussed the “customary law” of the Philippines which underlies the laws imposed by the Spanish and by ourselves. This explains many apparently incomprehensible events here. I told of the magnificent lands in the Cavite foot hills which were unoccupied because of the bandidos. He said he was the first of the Americans in Cebu to move out to a section on the outskirts of the City–no Filipinos would then live there because of the Pulijanes. Said Osmeña told him apropos of the recent surrender of Encallado, that this was the customary method of putting an end to brigandage: inviting the leader to one’s house and treating with him. “I was afraid” said Osmeña “when the criticism was running so high here over the princely way Encallado was treated by Quezon, that the papers would recall that this was the method I used myself when Provincial Governor to put an end to the Pulijan movement in Cebu.”
Long talk with Rafferty about Pershing and the “Moro question”; he was collector of customs in Cebu and Zamboanga at the time General Pershing was military governor there. Rafferty believes there was no Moro question there; only a “question” created by the United States Army! Said the reason why Pershing did not oppose my plan to remove the Army from Moroland and install Civil Government under Carpenter was that Pershing wished the credit, for having made this possible. (As a matter of fact we would never have had peace down there unless we had withdrawn the United States Army!) Rafferty says Pershing was utterly selfish and extremely unpopular in Zamboanga. His “illness” when he left for home as the last military governor of Mindanao was only an excuse.
Golf in p.m. at McKinley with Doria.
Memo: Beyer said yesterday that Governor General Murphy had been so afraid of provoking “labor” hostility in the United States that he had declined to take action against two or three labour leaders here when they deserved it. (That seems to have seen his fault as an administrator: every question to be decided here was considered with one eye on his political future at home.)
Quezon is making speeches in the Cagayan valley denouncing people who will not pay their (cedula) taxes, and those governments in the provinces which fail to collect it. (Perhaps the land tax is involved.) It seems probable that the situation is due both to “hard times” and to a general relaxation of government in recent years.
Quezon has announced that the June drawing in the Charity Sweepstakes will be the last; no doubt the affair has given rise to some scandal but I think it wiser for an aministration to regularize and make use of gambling rather than vainly trying to eliminate it.
All day drive with Doria and Professor H. Otley Beyer through Laguna, Batangas and Cavite provinces. At Ft. Mckinley we turned down to the river and took the new road thru Pateros and Taguig to Alabang. Pateros is, of course, the centre of the duck raising industry and Beyer says the people there spread the story of how their men hatched their ducks–the fact was they had a primitive (and perhaps very ancient) incubator of layers of sand on bamboo slats; the top is covered, and the men sit on that and talk and smoke, hence this lurid tale!
The new road to Alabang passes Alcalde Posada’s hacienda--hence the road, according to Beyer! The shores of Lake Laguna are occasionally almost uninhabitable because of the smell of decaying algae, which sometimes even invade Manila via the Pasig River. Beyer said the decaying masses are due to the blackade created by water lilies–that A. D. Williams had installed a fine wire mesh at the outlet into the Pasig River which seems to cure that; there are so few boats on the Pasig River nowadays that this is possible.
We discussed the possibility of help for the Philippines health service from the Rockefeller Institute now that Dr. Victor Heiser was separated from that institution. I told how Quezon had recently thought of bringing Heiser out as Adviser on Health, so that if any epidemic broke out here, the Filipinos would not get all the blame–i.e., to make Heiser the goat. Heiser, who is a shrewd intriguer, “ducked.”
Passed one of Beyer’s archaeological sites on a ridge beyond Taguig.
Beyer mentioned how busy he is nowadays with Dr Geo. Pinkley of the American Museum of Natural History and his companions. Mnbien of Peking, Chinese archaeologist. They had spent 4 months together in Peking, studying the “Peking man”–they had a theory that the “drift” of continents had separated the Philippines and Celebes from the mainland, and that these islands had been the original “rim” of the continent; so that, perhaps the skulls or teeth of the “original” man could be found in the Philippines which they believed to have been formerly the seashore. He had persuaded these two scientists to stay on here to examine with him the brokel lime-stone areas near to and north of Montalban gorge–to search for “filled caves.”
I asked Beyer why the Filipinos used the reverse gestures in beckoning to come, and in nodding (also in using the saw); he said these matters were much disputed, but he believed they came from very early times; said there was a Basque village near Santander where the people also gestured in the reverse way.
He went on Speaking of the mountain people of Luzon, stating that the solution of the problem was their absorption by the Cristianos; said this would improve the Filipino stock and quoted Rizal to sustain his theory. Cited Paredes and Villamor as examples. The former half Tinguian and half Indonesian; the latter pure Tinguian.
Entering the province of Batangas, he said the residents were the most sturdy and independent race of Luzon, and were great fighters. Their horses and cattle are also the best in the Philippines. Their food is maize, dry rice, and poi. All the slopes of Mount Makalut (chief volcano)–5000 feet high, near Lake Taal, were densely inhabited in the neolithic age–a large proportion of his archaeological finds came from there. But there is a gap in their history of nearly 1000 years–positively no iron age relics. He supposes that an eruption of the Taal volcanoes drove out or destroyed all those early settlements–perhaps the survivors migrated to the site of the present Rizal Province. In 1911, the year of the last explosion, Father Algue of the Weather Bureau three days before the eruption came, had begged the Philippine Government to remove all people on the island of Taal. Some 2600 people who were there, and in the surrounding neighborhood, were killed in that explosion. The name of the mountain: Makalut, means “curly-headed” since it was inhabited until within 200 years of now by Negritos. Taal Lake is the crater of the great volcano of former times. Now only four or five small craters are left above the water, and also Mount Makalut of which the whole gigantic cliff to the west is the remaining wall. Thu volcanic ash makes wonderful soil when decayed–hence the better specimens of man and beast. The lake was connected with the sea by a river navigable to former ships, until the 1911 explosion which blocked the former outlet and raised the level of the lake. The water of Lake Taal is still brackish, and the fish are of marine types. The soil cuttings hereabouts show various levels of volcanic ash, marking the periodic eruptions.
Passed thru a barrio which had voted against de las Alas four years ago, so to punish them, he would not complete the 1½ kilometers of road connecting their barrio with the main road for three years!
Visited the town of Taal on the sea–it was moved from the original site on Lake Taal 200 years ago, after being twice destroyed by the volcano. Nice old church, and another well-known church and stairway constructed by Christian Chinese after a massacre of their people by Filipinos. In answer to my question why the Filipinos periodically massacred the Chinese–he replied “various reasons”–the massacre of 1603 was permitted by the Spanish because they thought the Chinese were getting too rich; the attempted massacre of 1922 was due to the arrogance of the Chinese after their own revolution in China.
Mabini came from Batangas–his brother still lives there; so do Conrado and Francisco Benitez, Teodoro and Maximo Kalaw (note how shrewd they are in keeping out of high political office)–Galicano Apacible, de las Alas and the Tironas, and the Lopez family. The Zobel and Roxas families have large haciendas in the southwest of this province.
I asked Beyer why in his “ancestral chart” of Filipinos, he did not mention the Japanese; he replied that the Japanese had only lately begun to settle in the Philippines. The similarity of appearance of many Filipinos to the Japanese is due to Malay ancestry which is in nearly half the Filipinos and in most of the Japanese. Those Malays now here invaded from Java and Celebes, and partly from the mainland. Those Malays who went to Japan, entered partly from the mainland, and others, during the Stone Age, from islands east of Java, via Guam, Marianas, Marshall and Bonin Islands–not via Celebes and the Philippines. This is proved by the oval stone axes of a type found in Japan and in the Pacific Islands mentioned, but never found in Celebes, Borneo, nor the Philippines. (Note: the Japanese are just becoming aware of this kinsmanship and are modifying their former arrogant attitude towards the “Southern Barbarians.”)
Today’s newspapers give an account of a military revolt in Japan led by the army, and the murder of five leading statesmen by the soldiers. Beyer said this is in the Japanese tradition. The samurai were so arrogant and such bullies that the Japanese 80 years ago got rid of them and re-instated their Emperor. In his opinion, the domination of the military caste today in Japan is dangerous, but the Japanese will eventually throw them out as they did the samurai.
Other remarks of Beyer were:
Searchers are finding the teeth of elephant and rhinoceros in the Philippines, but none of the tiger, as yet. Plenty of tamarao teeth, all other Luzon. This central region has been agricultural for so long that the dangerous animals were killed off in prehistoric times.
He is not sure the carabao is not indigenous here; the appearance of the Ifugao cimarron is quite different from the domestic type. I could corroborate that statement.
Chinese carp had been introduced here by the Bureau of Science in the fine fish lake in Camarines. Result: the newcomers had devoured the superior type of fish already there, and the people would not eat the carp. So the Bureau of Science is now trying to eliminate the Chinese carp by some disease fungus.
Coming from Butangas through the western part of Cavite towards Tagaytay ridge, Beyer said this country was not settled as is the adjacent southern Batangas, because it was and always had been a paradise for gangsters, now operating as cattle thieves. Some of them were rich men who were playing cattle rustler where formerly they would have been pirates–for sport. They had “fixed” the municipal officers and the Constabulary. I commented on the great decline in morale of the Constabulary under the amiable General (Dr.) Valdes. He said part of it was due to the building of so many roads–the Constabulary had given up “hiking” patrols, and now seldom got out of their motors. He added that my execution of General Noriel–public enemy N° 1 in Cavite, had put a stop to the gangster business in that province for nearly 20 years. Now it was springing up again.
Beyer said that as a geologist, he believed the gold reef in the Philippines extended straight along the Cordilleras. That the Benguet Igorrotes were “gold conscious” and knew all the surface gold places in their provinces; that he did not believe there would be any new gold “strikes” there except at deep levels; that the Bontocs were opposed to gold prospecting, and that the country to the east–Ifugao–was not geologically suitable. That Abra and Kalinga offered a good field for prospecting, especially since Abra, like Benguet, was not heavily wooded.
He expressed worry over the change of the governorship of the Mt. Province now that Colonel Dosser has resigned. Said Bontocs and Ifugaos were resistant to changes in their social and economic system. They were large, organized and proud nations. But, he added, the Filipino officials generally started with great enthusiasm for “reform” in the Mt. Province and then cautiously let the people alone and went in for personal petty graft. Said the Ifugaos were afraid of Cristianos getting all the public offices in their country and taxing, and changing their customs. Said during Governor General Murphy’s vacation in United States, Vice Governor Hayden had appointed some twenty of the Ifugaos as minor officials in their own country.
I asked him what had become of the lgorrote girls educated in Mrs Kelly’s school–he said some of they had married Americans–some lived with them without marriage–most of them had gone back to their filthy ancestral huts and had become lgorrote wives, forgetting their education.
He said the Kalingas, the handsomest and most warlike of the northern nations, had nevertheless proved less resistant to modern “progress” than any of the others.
When in the barrio of Makalut, town of Cuenca, we visited the home of the local cacique, Caves. I asked Beyer to explain his odd face; Beyer said it was mostly Moro–the Moro pirates governed here when the Spanish first came here 350 years ago.
Later that evening we gave a dinner to Consul General Blunt and Mrs. Blunt, Carr, Sinclair, Mrs. Swift and Miss Masters–the latter was half an hour late, for which there was no excuse, for she is hardly a “mere chit of a thing.” Manners in post-war times are certainly “shot to hell.”