The cavalry and their last charge, December 1941-January 1942

Caption in the Polish-American Journal: “Polish cavalry during maneuvers before World War II. In addition to the lances chosen by some of these mounted cavalrymen, all of them were issued sabers and carried rifles slung on their backs.”

One of the great romantic stories of World War II, is of Polish lancers bravely –and desperately– charging German tanks in the opening days of World War II. Shades of the famed charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava during the Crimean War, which led a French general, Pierre Bosquet, observing the brave but pointless charge, to remark, C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre: c’est de la folie (“It is magnificent, but it is not war: it is madness”).

Apparently, romantic as the tale was, the story wasn’t true: it was a myth created by the panzer commander Gen. Guderian, and spread by the famed war correspondent William J. Shirer; see the Polish-American Journal and The Guardian for details.

What is important about the story of the Polish lancers was that it represented the gallantry of a country and a people outgunned and doomed by the relentless assault of an invader. What is romantic, and true, however, is how Radio Poland played Chopin’s Polonaise in A major, Op. 40, No. 1 (“Militaire”) every day, from the start of the German invasion on September 1, 1939, until the city fell on September 27, when “The first eleven notes of Chopin’s (†89) Military Polonaise, the signature of Warsaw State Radio, are sounded for the last time.” Go listen to Arthur Rubinstein’s performance of it.

President Quezon broadcasts from the air raid shelter in his Marikina residence on December 20, 1941. With him are Executive Secretary Jorge B. Vargas and Joe Stevenot, head of PLDT.

Radio would play a role in the Philippine resistance, too: when the Commonwealth inaugural for the second term of the president and vice-president was held on December 30, 1941, it turned out there was no way to broadcast the proceedings to unoccupied areas. Radio equipment from Manila were retrieved and transferred to Corregidor, becoming part of the apparatus for the Voice of Freedom which broadcast until Corregidor fell on May May 6, 1942.

But even as radio played a role, it is the legend of the Polish cavalry that concerns us here –and a parallel story of heroism on horseback from the early months of the war in the Philippines.

To place things in context, here is an overview published in Corregidor Then and Now:

Delaying actions were fought to permit withdrawal to Bataan, the bloodiest of which was fought by the 11th and 21st Divisions on the Porac-Guagua line. The 26th Cavalry Regiment protected the west flank of the 21st Division. As the entire USAFFE struggled from south and north toward the Layac junction, the only approach to Bataan, the delaying forces held their line on open and unprepared ground. From 1 January to 5 January they stood fast against massive enemy aerial and artillery bombardment, concentrated tank attacks and banzai charges. Casualties on both sides were heavy. The first defensive in Bataan was the Hermosa-Dinalupihan line, where on 6 January 1942 the 71st Division, the American 31st Infantry Regiment and the 26th Cavalry Regiment fought off the pursuing enemy.

Official US Army photo, 26th Cavalry in Pozzo Rubio.
Official US Army photo, 26th Cavalry in Pozzorubio.

The aim of War Plan Orange-3 was to delay the invading enemy forces until the US Navy could gather together it’s Pacific Fleet and sail to the Philippines, on the way dealing with the Japanese Fleet. But there was no US Navy fleet to gather together, for it now rested on the bottom of Pearl Harbor.

The main battle position of the USAFFE, the Abucay-Morong line, was attacked along its eastern flank on 9 January, but the 5th Regimental Combat Team, reinforced by the 57th Infantry of the 21st Division repulsed the attack. On 14 January the Japanese attacked the boundary of the 41st and 51st Divisions. The 43rd Infantry, holding the left lank of the 41st Division, which was reinforced by the 23rd Infantry, 21st Division sharply refused its flank. The 51st Infantry, holding the right flank of the 51st Division, withdrew creating a gap through which the enemy advanced to the Salian River. But a patrol of the 21st division discovered the enemy, and elements of the Division rushed to the Salian River valley where after a savage fight, they repulsed the enemy. Farther to the west the enemy surprised and routed the 53rd Infantry. Penetrating deep behind the main battle position along the Abo-Abo River valley, the enemy advance was held up by combined elements of the 21st Division of the II reserve, the 31st and the 51st Division of the Bani-Guirol forest area.

The American 31st Infantry and the 45th Infantry, Philippine Scouts, succeeded in partially restoring the abandoned line of the 51st Division.

img_3158On 15 January the Morong sector, defended by the 1st Regular Division, reinforced, came under heavy bombardment. But the line held.

A few days later, the enemy penetrated through a huge gap in the Silangan-Natib area and established a roadblock on the Mauban ridge, thus cutting off the 1st Regular Division from the rear area. Gravely threatened, elements of the 71st and 91st Divisions and the 2nd Regiment repeatedly attacked the roadblock but failed to dislodge the enemy.

Although the II Corps Sector had prevented a similar envelopment in the Salian River battle, the I Corps position was now untenable. The Abucay-Morong tine was abandoned on 24 January. The Orion-Bagac line was established two days later. Again in a desperate attempt to outflank the I Corps, the enemy landed crack units on the west coast of southern Bataan. The aim was to outflank and to isolate the frontline units from headquarters and supplies.

There were three ferocious battles in the I.apiay-Longoskawayan Points area, fought from 23 to 29 January; in Quinawan-Aglaloma Points area, fought from 23 January to 8 February; and Silaiim-Anyasan Points, fought from 27 January to 13 February. Of the 2,000 enemy troops committed to these battles, only 34 wounded soldiers returned to their lines.

On 27 January enemy troops were discovered in the rear of the Orion-Bagac line, the Tuol River valley behind the 11th Regular Division and in the Gogo-Cotar River valley behind the 1st Regular Division. The series of engagements to eliminate these enemy salients became known as the Battle of the Pockets, fought from 27 January through 17 February. Of the 2,000 Japanese troops committed to this battle, only 377 were reported to have escaped.

After the battles of the points, pockets and Trail 2, which were brilliant triumphs of the USAFFE, the enemy withdrew to regroup their forces and to wait for reinforcements.

It’s in these encounters that the image of dashing, daring, but doomed cavalrymen seems to have captured the imagination of soldiers and civilians alike.

Captain John Wheeler leading the Machine Gun Troop of the 26th Cavalry Regiment(PS)(Horse) just prior to the Japanese invasion. From the cover of the March/April, 1943 issue of "The Cavalry Journal," published online in the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society website.
Captain John Wheeler leading the Machine Gun Troop of the 26th Cavalry Regiment(PS)(Horse) just prior to the Japanese invasion. From the cover of the March/April, 1943 issue of “The Cavalry Journal,” published online in the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society website.

On December 30, 1941, a young lieutenant in the intelligence unit of USAFFE, Felipe Buencamino III, wrote in his diary,

Heard the 26th cavalry was annihilated in Pozzorubio. They charged against tanks and artillery. An eye witness claims he saw “headless riders charging onward.” Another said that some members of said unit “jumped at tanks, pried open their turrets and hurled grenades.” MacArthur awarded DSC’s to members of this brave unit. Most decorations were posthumous.

Buencamino III at the time he wrote his diary entry was in Fort McKinley (today’s Fort Bonifacio) and not in touch with his family; he would soon join the USAFFE withdrawal to Bataan.

An American, Captain Dr. Albert Brown, wrote in his diary (the excerpt can be found in this interesting page in the Tragedy of Bataan site) on December 30, 1941:

December 30, 1941 23rd Day of War.
The 26th Cavalry of the Philippine Scouts really distinguished themselves. A Lieutenant made the mistake of lighting a cigarette early one morning. An ambushed machine gunner yelled that was the wrong thing to do and they were riddled by the Japanese, losing about 500 hundred mounts, eight officers, and many unlisted men. They were covering the flank. The Philippine Army retreated and left them cut off. They had to take to the mountains around Lingayen and get reorganized.

News, apparently, traveled fast if Buencamino III and Brown in the field, and Felipe Buencamino III’s father, Victor Buencamino,in already-Japanese-occuppied Manila, also heard the story. writing in his diary on January 9, 1942, something similar:

Talked to an officer whose troops were cut off from the main body of the USAFFE retreating to Bataan. He said the MacArthur strategy in the north was to delay the Japanese advance as much as possible. He recounted the charge of the 26th cavalry. “I saw those Filipino scouts charging armored units, riding on, on, on, matching flesh with tanks. I saw headless riders. . .” I did not make him go on.

The pressure on Filipino and American troops proved to be tremendous. There is January 16, 1942 when, in the vicinity of Morong, 27 members of G Troop of the U.S. Army’s 26th Cavalry Regiment (Philippine Scouts) surprised and charged a Japanese infantry unit– the last cavalry charge of the US Army.

You can detect in the official and personal accounts of the military above, that there was resentment on the part of the Americans towards the Filipinos. Filipinos for their part, were aware of this and both puzzled and indignant about what seemed to be a slur on national valor.

img_3156

There is a story told by General Basilio Valdes to Francis Burton Harrison on June 12, 1942, about this battle in Morong, Bataan:

Valdes: “After the battle of Morong (in Bataan), General Segundo said, we had to withdraw and with us were cavalry from Stotsenburg who had lost their horses in the battle. The next day we retook Morong; so we searched the forest for those horses. We met a man in Filipino uniform who spoke perfect English; he said he knew where the horses were and led us up a trail. But he led our two officers, a major and a lieutenant up to a machine gun nest–thereupon the guide (Jap) threw himself on the ground. Our lieut. was killed, the officer in command of the machine gun, and the others fled. Then the major killed the false guide. The Japanese were always after Filipino uniforms.”

Those feelings are more fully described in the entry The debate on taking the Philippines out of the war: January 28 to February 12, 1942 on developments at the front, particularly the Japanese offensive in late January, 1942, and how Filipino officers and leaders felt about what was taking place.

But there remains this postscript to the last engagements and charge of the cavalry. Old, decimated, units were recombined, as Ramon Alcaraz reports in his diary on February 21, 1942:

Finally, a composite unit from the PC, 26th Cavalry, 71st Div, PAAC and even Ateneo ROTC Volunteers annihilated the remaining enemy forces at Silaim-Anyasan Pts. thus ending the so-called Battle of the Points in West Bataan two days ago. And so, Alas and Alackay, I can now say “All’s Quiet in All Bataan Fronts.” Have not seen any enemy plane whole day.

And as for the cavalry’s horses, on March 10, 1942, Felipe Buencamino III would write in his diary,

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

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

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

Still, the fight would go on. Even after General Wainwright, under duress, ordered the surrender of all USFIP forces in the Philippines, there were officers and men, Filipinos and Americans alike, who continued to resist.

Writing on May 15, 1942, Ramon Alcaraz mentions Ramsey:

Ramsey, in a photo from his official website, visiting the memorial marker to the 26th Cavalry in Clark Field, Pampanga.
Ramsey, in a photo from his official website, visiting the memorial marker to the 26th Cavalry in Clark Field, Pampanga.

I remember the Commando Unit smuggled into Zambales on the night of March 11, by Q-113 of Lt. Santiago C. Nuval with instructions from USAFFE HQ to start guerrilla organization and operation that early. When I told this to the Judge, he said that is perhaps the guerrilla unit under a certain Col. Thorpe operating from Mt. Pinatubo and some of his officers are former Cavalry Officers from Ft. Stotsenberg that managed to escape from Bataan Death March such as Lts. Ed Ramsey and Joe Barker. They were joined by Filipino volunteers from Zambales willing to continue fighting the Japanese.

But the era of the cavalry had come to an end. A simple marker stands as its monument.


June 4, 1945 Monday

Again rumors are circulating about the coming of Osmeña and MacArthur. We refuse to believe in order not to suffer another disappointment. We concede, however, the possibility of the coming of MacArthur. It has been reported that military and naval bases have been granted by the Philippines to America for a period of 20 years. We have no definite information, nor do we know the details. It is reported that the agreement was signed by Pres. Quezon. It is difficult for us to believe this as this was precisely one of the main objections to the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Law which provoked the greatest political crisis in the Philippines in 1933-1935. It was argued that independence with such bases could not be real—the proper status would be more that of a protectorate. Before a definite long term agreement is entered into it will be good to consult the Filipino people’s reaction. The Filipino people’s attitude then had the concurrence of the Americans at that time. When the appropriation for bases and fortifications was submitted to Congress, it was voted down in the House of Representatives. Of course now I do not know the American people’s attitude. I have been informed that it has suffered a radical change.

The above has nothing to do with the present situation. America is now using the whole Philippines as military, naval and air bases. I am sure there is no objection to that on the part of any Filipino. They know the necessity for it. They believe that such an arrangement is beneficial, not only to America, but to the Philippines as well. The Filipinos know that this war involved the problem of the Filipinos and the territorial integrity of the country. I am sure then that there will be absolutely no objection to the present arrangement. But let no formal arrangement be entered into yet. At present, it is not possible to consider the merits of the different phases of the question. There is no hurry since the Americans are using our territory anyhow, and during the next 20 or maybe 100 years, no menace of any kind may be expected.

Marshal MacArthur, with naval and air ranking officers, may come to investigate the possibility of using part of Palawan as military, naval and air bases. Some persons claiming to know, assure me that Palawan is strategically located and consequently has to be seriously considered. It is wishful thinking to believe that his coming has anything to do with us. He is engaged in a work that concerns world affairs and our affair is too insignificant to merit attention. But it is possible that in his spare moments, he may inquire about us, as he has some very intimate friends among us. In my case, I was in charge of preparing the appropriation for the Philippine Army which he planned and organized, with the aid of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and Col. Ord.

Marshal MacArthur is really the father of the Philippine Army. He got everything he wanted from me because his explanations were so clear and convincing that I felt it an honor, no matter how insignificant, to have a role in his plan. My connection with MacArthur was a result of the positions I successively held: Chairman, Appropriations Committee of the House which at that time was also the Ways and Means Committee, Speaker Protempore, Secretary of Public Works and Communications, and Secretary of Finance. I have the highest respect for Marshall MacArthur. As a friend, he is always true; as an orator and literary man, he is not behind many known men in that field; as an organizer, he is superb; and as a military man, he richly deserves the reputation he gained of being among the greatest. Certainly he is a most worthy son of his great father to whom the Philippines is also deeply indebted. The Philippines, through our greatest hero, Pres. Quezon, conferred upon him the rank of Marshal. I have attended all public and official functions in Manila since 1919 and I have never been as thrilled as in the ceremony conferring the rank of Marshal on MacArthur. Everybody was thrilled. We gave him one of the biggest banquets in Malacañan. He delivered a speech which was a masterpiece in substance as well as in literary style. His oratory was perfect. That was not the first time he was thus honored by the Filipinos. One occasion was when he became the Commanding General of the Philippine Department of the U.S. Army. I am not certain, but I believe it was after his tour of duty ended and he was to return to the United States that we tendered a banquet in his honor at the Manila Hotel. He delivered a speech for which he received a standing ovation. The speech won for the Marshal, in addition to being an orator and literary man, a reputation as a statesman and profound thinker. The banquet was attended by all the high officials of the government, prominent persons, and people from all classes ans walks of life. As I remember it now, Gen. Manuel Roxas was one of the orators on that occasion.

Marshal MacArthur is not without enemies. He has many enemies—almost all of them his countrymen. He has very bitter enemies in Washington. It was rather a paradox that I, a Filipino, was defending him to the Americans who were conspicuously assailing him, calling him a coward, a false friend, disloyal, ignorant, ambitious and a propagandist of the first order. They say that his reputation has been built on propaganda which was generally self-serving. They will tell you that the Filipinos hate him, but a few—a very few only—carefully planned the building up of the reputation that he was admired by the Filipinos. They told me that all he did in America was to charge, on horseback with bayonet drawn, on a crowd who had travelled thousands of miles to present in petition of grievances to the Washington officials. They said that when MacArthur left Corregidor, this was desertion. They put Gen. Wainright far above Gen. MacArthur.

Such accusations do not detract anything from the Marshal, as far as Filipinos are concerned; it probably made him greater. No one can be great if along the way there were no thorns to tread.

I do not mean to defend the Marshal. He can take care of himself. He also has many loyal friends behind him. I will touch on some incidents that endeared him to us which I happened to have witnessed personally. Is he really loved by the Filipinos? I answer yes, not as a result of propaganda, but because he richly deserved it.

Since the American occupation up to as recent as 1918, the relationship between the U.S. Army and the Filipinos was anything but cordial. I remember conflicts with the Rizal provincial officials because the American officers at Fort McKinley considered the reservation as an independent nation where no Filipino could enter without the required passport. The Filipinos, including even the Philippine Scouts, were considered foreigners in their own country. At Ft. McKinley, Ft. Santiago and Sta. Lucia, the American officers of all ranks were very anti-Filipino. They showed their disdain for us by refusing to sit with the Filipino officials during official functions. We Filipinos did likewise; we showed our disdain and hatred of them just as clearly as they showed their hatred towards us. The cleavage went so deep that there were many incidents.

When MacArthur came, one of his first acts was to pay his respects to Pres. Quezon and other Filipino officials. The President immediately returned the courtesy, paying a call to Gen. MacArthur accompanied by about 20 high Filipino officials. I was one of them. Right then and there MacArthur invited us to a review of the troops which would be staged in our honor. During the review, the General was there with his Staff. The officers looked fiercely at us when the General was not looking. We also made it rather painful for the officers; we talked directly to the General with our backs turned on them.

After the first year of MacArthur’s arrival, we began to mix with the Americans, and in that way we came to know one another better. The review in honor of the Philippine Legislature (then only the legislative branch was in our hands) became an annual feature and continued to be staged even after the departure of the General. At one time, the program in our honor included equestrian feats performed by the Philippine Scouts. They performed acrobatic stunts on galloping horses. Another number was a race (I do not remember what they call it) of the best Army horses, over walls, hedges, ditches and other obstacles. One of the participants was a Filipino who later became Colonel, a brother of Justice Moran. It is reported that he was one of those killed by the Japanese. Thereafter, there were U.S. Army and Navy high officials in all Filipino public functions. The officers of the lower ranks also became very chummy with us. So were their ladies. They invited us to play bowling with them and we organized a men’s and a ladies’ bowling team. After each game, they would invite us for refreshments in their club. For the first time Filipinos were seen eating and drinking in that club. Even the exclusive Army and Navy Club opened its doors to Filipinos.

General MacArthur left, but he returned on his second tour and this time his office or residence was in the western part of the historic walls surrounding Intramuros. I think they call it Sta. Lucia. We went to see him in his quarters to pay our respects. We intended to stay just a few minutes but he and Mrs. MacArthur insisted on our staying longer. We stayed for over two hours enjoying the hospitality of General and Mrs. MacArthur. This was also the first time that Filipino officials were honored in the military barracks. I believe it was at this time that he did another act which convinced us that he had reposed upon us his full confidence.

The well known Island of Corregidor then was as foreign to us as the famous Island of Sta. Catalina on the beautiful California coast. Filipinos were not allowed to roam around that portion of their country, with the exception of the landing. The only other portion of the Island ever treaded by a Filipino official was the cave where our Treasury deposited and kept its funds, especially the silver coins. We were thrilled when Gen. MacArthur invited us to inspect the Island. Was it possible? Will we be allowed to see that portion of our own country where America had built at an enormous cost fortifications containing all their military secrets? We thought that they would probably just take us to the Island for lunch at their military club there, and then return to Manila.

But early the next morning, the Commanding General at Corregidor himself, I think his name is General Hutch (I lost all my personal memoirs when my house was burned by the Japanese upon the entry of the Americans), received us at the Admiral Landing where we boarded a good-sized Army launch. At the pier on the landing place in Corregidor, we were received by the high officers at Corregidor. We were immediately given a complete tour of the Island. We saw every section of it. We saw cannons in deep trenches and we wondered how they could be fired to hit the target. They explained to us how it could be done. We saw the gun implacements. But the most interesting part of the tour was a large hall deep in the interior of a big tunnel where we saw all kinds of apparatus to find the ranges and give orders to the different emplacements. Afterwards we were treated to a sumptuous luncheon at their club located at a summit in the middle of a golf course. The Filipino waiters who were allowed only in the club, gaped at us with their mouths wide open since it was the first time that Filipino civilians accompanied by the General himself were served by them.

The General returned to the United States, I understand to occupy the highest position within the realm of a military man in the U.S.—Chief of Staff. We expressed real joy as it was the triumph of a friend. After his term of office he retired.

But the Philippines needed him. Dark clouds were already hovering over the Orient. Everyone knew that there was going to be war with Japan, but nobody thought it would come so soon. In the meanwhile full military preparation in the Philippines was being made. It was no surprise that the U.S. immediately thought of Gen. MacArthur. He came back to the Philippines. He lost no time in organizing the Philippine Army which was later made a part of the United States Army. When the war broke out, it was logical that General MacArthur became the Commander-in-Chief in the Southern Pacific.

He is now one of the four or five Five-Star full fledged Generals. There is talk of his appointment as the first American Ambassador to the coming Philippine Republic. I believe such an appointment will be received with approval by the Filipino people.

I want this portion of my memoirs kept strictly confidential, at least for the present. It may be misinterpreted in view of my present status. I purposely do not want anybody to intervene in my case. My relationship with Pres. Osmeña was close and very intimate. But I do not want to make use of that relationship. I need no influence; I want no favor. This writing may be misunderstood as an effort to win the goodwill of Gen. MacArthur. I have absolute confidence in the justice of my case.

I am charged with being a collaborationist. If it means that I am anti-American, and I favor Japan, I emphatically deny this. How can I be anti-American and pro-Japanese? I saw an American for the first time at age 11 in about 1901, while hiding from the American invading forces in the barrio of Cubamba, Taal. I still remember that my sister, Consolacion, and my cousin, Carmen Castillo, painted their faces with charcoal because it was rumored that Americans capture pretty Filipino girls. The soldiers passed by and saw us, but they merely smiled. Our impression of Americans changed immediately.

We went out of hiding into town and were horrified to see that our house had burned down. It was because the Philippine revolutionary army took refuge in the town and when they departed, the Americans burned a good portion of the town.

I studied in the barrio under cousin Ramon Castillo, and in town after our arrival under Maestrong Goyo (Gregorio Castillo) and later under Mr. Juan Medina. Later, I enrolled in the public school, established by the Americans, under Mr. H. H. Buck, Mr. Kempthorne and Mr. Dennis. How good they were! Mr. Buck treated us just like his own children. He remained in the Philippines and married a Filipina girl. I studied in the public school of Taal from 1903 until 1905, finishing grade school in three years. I was one of top students in class. The only one who could beat me was Mr. Agapito Gaa (during the Japanese occupation, he received my protection). I was good in debating and was captain of the spelling team that competed with other schools. The year after finishing grade school, I was appointed teacher in the barrio school of Mojon. That same year, after a few weeks of teaching, Mr. Trace, the American District Supervisor of Schools, came to the school to tell me that I must quit teaching. I thought it was because I was not making good so I went home very disappointed. I was receiving ₱15.00 a month, and I was happy since I was able to give almost all of it to my parents. They bought a “calesa” (horse rig) and a horse for my use in going to school in the barrio of Mojon about 7 kilometers from the town. Mr. Trace told me that I was young, bright and with a good future and he wanted me to continue my studies. I answered, “How can I? You know my family is poor. My brother, Vicente is studying medicine in Manila, and my parents can hardly support him.” Mr. Trace said that he would take care of the matter. He said that an examination for government pensionados to the United States was going to be held soon in Batangas and he would like me to take it.

I protested, “You know that I am not prepared for it. I only finished grade school and there are subjects that I had not studied.” He promised to prepare me for the examination. For three months he instructed me day and night. He was sure I would make it. His only fear was that I was too thin and that I was not strong enough to pass the physical examination.

The examination for government pensionados was given by examiners under my former grade school teacher, Mr. Buck, who was then Superintendent of Schools. Knowing that I had no high school education, he was surprised that I got an average of about 84%.

While waiting for the result of the examination, I enrolled in the first year class of the High School of Batangas then located just behind the municipal building. My teachers were Americans also. (The high school was later transferred to a new site near the market. When I was Speaker Protempore, one of the buildings burned down. I secured a large appropriation for a new school building.)

Accompanied by my father, I went to Manila for my physical examination. I failed. I remember the examiner was Dr. del Rosario, I asked for reconsideration through Dr. Gervasio Ocampo. The examination was reconsidered and this time I passed.

While waiting for the boat to take the government pensionados to the United States, we noticed big parties being held. We found out that they were parties in honor of William H. Taft, then Governor General of the Philippines. One of the parties was held in the old premises of the Army and Navy Club in Intramuros, located just in front of the house where I lived in Cabildo St. One day, we were taken to the Philippine Normal School on Padre Faura St. (later made a part of Philippine General Hospital grounds) to hear the speech of Mr. Taft. It was in that occasion where Mr. Taft said the famous words which made him popular among the Filipinos: “The Philippines for the Filipinos.”

My companions and I left Manila on August 15, 1905 in a boat called “Toan”, only about 4,000 tons. We were about 40, accompanied by Prof. Townsend of the University of the Philippines, a very kindly old man. We suffered terribly in the trip to Hongkong because the weather was rough and our boat was small. I was able to stand the trip better than the others. In Hongkong, we transferred to the S. S. Manchuria, a four-masted 28,000 ton American steamer. It was then the second largest boat on the Pacific, the first being the Mongolia of about 32,000 tons. We proceeded to San Francisco passing through Japan.

After a full month, we finally reached San Francisco. We had a very nice time across the Pacific, playing games on board. Upon our arrival, we were impressed with the greatness of America. We were met by the Superintendent of Filipino Students in America, Mr. Sutherland. He certainly was a father to us. He gave us advice on what we should study, suggesting teaching, medicine, engineering or agriculture. He insinuated that law was discouraged. I chose law and insisted on it. Why I did is not quite clear in my mind. I was probably influenced by the belief prevailing during the Spanish regime that the most honorable professions are law and medicine, and that farming or any work that may require physical efforts is shameful. Because I selected law, I was sent to Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.

In San Francisco, we lived in the Palace Hotel which was later destroyed by the great earthquake. We bought new clothes in a store called the Emporium. I got acquainted with a girl from Iowa. While at the hotel, a near tragedy occurred. Two of my companions, instead of turning the key to put out the gas lamp, blew out the light. Gas came out and almost asphixiated them. A timely discovery prevented a tragedy.

It took us 6 days to reach Indiana, staying a few hours in Chicago. We were also delayed in the Rocky Mountains because of snow. We got off the train and had a good look at the Rockies. I found Bloomington a very nice place. It is a town of only about 10,000 inhabitants. The people were very nice to us. We lived with American families who treated us like real members of the family. We would never forget the Reeds and the Thompsons. The university itself was small, having only 3,000 students, but a very good one. For undergraduates, it is advisable to enter small universities like Indiana. The dean of the law school was Dr. Rainhard and I had many outstanding professors like Dr. Hepburn. The Filipino students were Francisco Delgado, Jorge Bocobo, Mariano H. de Joya, Proceso Sanchez, Pedro Sandico and myself.

A problem arose as to how I could be admitted. I was only in the first year of high school when I left for the U.S. However, being a government student, a special arrangement was entered into. I would be admitted in the first year but had to get a good grade in the first examination. Only then could I be considered a regular student. I received one of the highest grades in the first examination. I took as much academic courses as I could possibly study—philosophy, economics, history, literature, etc. College life was certainly a very enjoyable one. The American students, especially the girls, were very good to us. I also took oratory under Professor Clapp. I do not know why but I seem to have a penchant towards oratory.

Our pension was very small, about $25.00 a month, exclusive of books and clothing. We paid $5 for room and $4 for board a week. We had very little money for extra expenses, especially since we never neglected our Sunday mass contribution. To make extra money, I worked as an ordinary laborer in one of the stone quarries which abound around Bloomington. As I remember, I was given about 15 cents an hour. I walked to the quarry which was about 6 miles away, and for luncheon I took a can of pork and beans with a piece or two of bread with butter. It was sufficient for me. All the other laborers were American whites. They were honest and hardworking. The work did not only provide me with some money to make up the deficiency in my pensions, but it also built up my body and gave me a correct appreciation of labor which in my public life influenced me to favor all legislation and measures calculated to better the conditions of the laboring class.

I got acquainted with many girls there, among whom were Agnes and Marie Peale, Edith Skinner, May Berry and Helen Burnett. We spent our time dancing and playing tennis. We also joined a debating club to practice oratory. I received my Ll.B. degree in June of 1909. Among those in the platform when we graduated were Gov. Folk of Missouri and poet Reilly. Pres. William Lowe Bryan of the University spoke. I was one of the highest in class.

I went to New Haven, Connecticut, to take post graduate courses in Yale University. I arrived there in September of 1909.

Yale is located right in the heart of the City of New Haven which had about 200,000 people then. The city itself had the old look but it counts with modern, beautiful parks. The only thing noteworthy then in the city was the University of Yale. It had some of the very best professors in the United States. It could afford the best because it was amply provided with donations. For President, it had Dr. Twidling Hadley; Dean of Law School, Mr. Rogers who afterwards became a Federal Judge. I enrolled in the post graduate school for my Ll. M. degree. In June, I finished with the honor of Cum Laude. There was no higher honor conferred.

* * * * *

My reminiscences of my boyhood days are not very clear. All that I remember was that my father had to hide many times because the Spanish “guardia civil”, noted for cruelties and brutalities, were looking for him. At one time, he had to jump through the back window of the kitchen into a deep precipice behind our house to elude them. I also recollect that our house was at one time occupied by Spanish officers. One of the sights which impressed me very much and which I shall never forget was when I saw from our window three “careton” loads of dead bodies—persons killed by the Civil Guards. Because of the persecutions and injustices committed by the Spaniards, the revolution was embraced by all the Filipinos and spread like wild fire all over the Philippines.

During this period, I already had enough discretion to remember events distinctly. Preparations for the war against Spain went on feverishly right under the very noses of the Spaniards. All the brave sons of our town enlisted in the Army. I remember Gen. Diokno, Col. Martin Cabrera, Col. Filomeno Encarnacion, and Col. Tacio Marasigan. I am sorry I do not remember the names of many others. They immediately proceeded to take the town. But the Spaniards were not willing to fight in the town of Taal. They decided to proceed to Batangas, Batangas. As soon as the Spaniards left Taal, the Filipino revolutionary army entered the town. There were thousands of them, most of them carrying only “bolos.” They lined up in the spacious town plaza where they were welcomed cordially by the townspeople. I was one of the many boys who took part in the wild celebration. In the midst of the celebration, the people began to run in all directions. The soldiers promptly assumed battle positions planting themselves in strategic locations. Nobody knew what was going on. Finally, we heard an officer remark, “The Spaniards are coming back!”

My brother Vicente and I ran home to the house of our aunt, Felipa de las Alas, married to Aguado Orlina. After the death of our mother and when our father Cornelio married again, our aunt took care of us in her house located near the town plaza. We immediately packed essential clothing and started for the house of Mamay Ukay, located at the extreme western end of our street where we had a good view of Balayan Bay. I still remember that on the way, one of our maid servants stepped on a big snake. We did not sleep that night, expecting to hear plenty of shooting. We heard no shots and the next day we learned that the news about the return of the Spaniards was false. This must have been around 1898, when I was nine years of age.

The next several months were very peaceful and quiet. Everybody was happy as there was no longer the threat of civil guards; the intrigue, injustices and mismanagement of the government by the friars (at that time the friars were really the ones governing the towns; they selected the “capitanes”), and the stupidity and haughtiness of the Spaniards. Many Spaniards were captured and they were distributed in the different towns where they served as servants to prominent Filipinos. There were many social functions, the most notable one was held in the palatial house of Capitan Flaviano Agoncillo, father of Don Gregorio Agoncillo. The guest of honor was the famous Filipino General, Miguel Malvar, the last to surrender to the Americans. He was accompanied by almost all the prominent people of Batangas, including the ladies from Lipa all brought in by “carruajes” pulled by the finest Batangas horses. As boys, we maneuvered for the best position to see everything. What impressed me most was the beautiful well-dressed young ladies from Lipa who were adorned with sparkling diamonds of unimaginable sizes all over their bodies, including their shoe tops. This was the period of the bonanza in Lipa brought about by the famous coffee of Lipa.

War between the United States and the Philippines started and feverish preparations were made. Enlistments were started. A military organization was formed call the “Guardias de Honor” (Guards of Honor). What I recall about this organization is that there were as many officers as there were privates. In appearance, it was as good as any military organization—martial discipline was one of its characteristics. The town was also prepared. Trenches were dug, some bridges destroyed. At the bottom of the destroyed spans were well camouflaged bamboo spears projecting from the ground. A machinegun was placed in the church roof. Cannons were placed just behind the house of Ka Ukay where the approach from Lemery, through the only bridge spanning the Pansipit River and connecting the towns of Taal and Lemery, could be well defended.

One day Filipino soldiers, all well equipped, entered the town. They immediately occupied the Church of Caysasay at Labak on the northern portion of the town near the bank of the Pansipit River. They made the town authorities believe that they were soldiers of Aguinaldo sent to reinforce the defense of Batangas. They turned out to be Macabebe soldiers (from Macabebe, Pampanga) sent by the Americans. The discovery came too late as they had already spread and occupied strategic places in Taal and Lemery. Before the Filipino Army could prepare to oust the impostors, the Americans came. The Filipino Army withdrew to the mountains to engage in guerrilla warfare. In this, they were not totally unsuccessful. At one time, they were able to attack the town of Taal, but had to withdraw because of American reinforcements. The Americans burned the town.

The guerrilla warfare of Gen. Malvar worried the Americans very much. They took drastic action and adopted what was called “zoning” (zona). The people were ordered to move to a certain place, generally the “poblacion” of a town, with all their food and belongings. They were warned that anybody stepping outside the boundary would be shot or dealt with as an enemy. The zonification order was made by Gen. Bell and executed by Col. Baker. The people suffered very much because of this concentration. The backbone of the resistance was broken; Gen. Aguinaldo was captured; and resistance all over the Philippines ceased. Gen. Malvar and his men surrendered.

While we were fighting the Spaniards and Americans, the spirit of Rizal was invoked. His teachings had spread all over the Philippines. There were all kinds of legends and stories built around Rizal. One was that he was riding on the moon to watch over us. The other was that, like Christ, he would rise again from his grave to lead us in our fight for liberty and independence.

After the surrender of Malvar and as late as 1905, there were remnants of the revolutionary army roaming around Batangas under Montalan, Sakay and Igat (Jose Solis). They were, however, regarded as bandits and hunted down by the government. In 1903, they entered the town of Taal and ransacked the municipal building. Thousands of Mexican silver pesos were taken. My brother Vicente and I were out that night. We saw Solis’ men enter the building. I was then visiting a girl near the municipal building. I left her house and hid in the house of Dr. Hermenegildo Castillo. It was on this occasion when almost all the prominent people of Taal were arrested and lodged in the municipal jail suspected of conniving with the bandits. My father, who was Municipal Treasurer, expected to be arrested. The Provincial Treasurer, Mr. Blanchard, had a very high regard for him and he was not molested. Don Vicente Ilustre, one of our most prominent lawyers who had been educated in Europe, tried to see the prisoners. Lt. McLean refused. Don Vicente brushed the Lieutenant aside and went inside. Luckily, the Lieutenant did not take action. The prisoners were being forced to confess their connection with the bandits. They refused. Later that night, they were all taken out of jail and shoved into a hold of a boat. For days they saw nothing. They did not know where they were; all they knew was that the boat was moving. They feared that they would be taken to Guam where Mabini was exiled. After a few days the boat returned. Most of the prisoners were released. This reminded me of what happened to us—placed in a hold of a freighter, not knowing our destination. It was when we were approaching Palawan after a few days at sea that we discovered that we were headed for Iwahig Penal Colony.

Later I shall continue my biography in so far as America and the Americans are concerned. I shall also prove that my connection with the Japanese regime was motivated solely by my love for my country, my desire to serve my people.


December 16, 1944

I went biking yesterday to see the effect of the bombing yesterday and to hear the comments of the people.

Streets were empty. Traffic was paralyzed. Army trucks and cars moved around with camouflage nets. Many sentries posted in street corners.

42 civilians were wounded in Parañaque. Saw them in corridors of the P.G. Hospital. Most of them were hit by Jap A.A. shells which fell short.

Raid yesterday was non-stop –from morning to afternoon. I saw fires burning in the direction of Grace Park and Nichols and Murphy and McKinley.

People from San Juan say that a low-flying plane strafed a Jap truck crossing the bridge killing 4 persons. Consensus of opinion is that much damage was done to military installation.

Last night, conversation was on probability of landings. Some believe Americans have landed already somewhere in Luzon.

Heard three big explosions last night –one at 2 o’clock also.

Raid again.

N.B.

Vic and Neneng wounded. A Jap shell landed near the house. Yesterday 3 exploded but no one was injured.


August 28, 1942

Quezon gave a luncheon in his rooms for “Chick” Parsons, the first person to leave the Philippines and return to the United States whom we have seen since the Quezon party arrived here in May. What confidential messages he brought to Quezon have not yet been told me.

All Quezon’s family and staff were clustered around Parsons, each one anxious for news of home and friends. General Kilbourne, Superintendent of V.M.I., who long ago used to command on Corregidor, was also present.

Parsons gave his news succinctly and had a ready response to all questions.

The general impression he gives is that Japanese rule in the Philippines is fairly lenient. All American men and women over military age are free from internment and living in their own homes. The chief difficulty is in lack of money, due to freezing of American and foreign banks. Jake Rosenthal is busy getting checks from Americans and selling them (without commission) for what they will bring–80% or even 50%. This, Parsons thought to be very kind because the checks are on the frozen banks “which will probably never be opened again.”

Americans of military age are interned in the new buildings of Santo Tomas University in Manila.

72,000 soldiers are interned, the Filipinos (including Scouts) at Stotsenburg, and the Americans at Fort McKinley.

Those Filipinos, such as Manuel Roxas, and Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos, who accompanied Quezon to Corregidor have been shot. (Quezon told me this in an aside–“not executed but shot”). Parsons said that there have been others “executed.” (N.B. Most fortunately, the news of the shooting of Manuel Roxas was false).

I asked Quezon what part Aguinaldo was playing, and he said “I don’t really care to talk about that.”

Bennet of the Bulletin and Dick of the Free Press are in prison in the dungeons of Fort Santiago.

The Quezon girls asked Parsons how the people felt about their leaving for Corregidor, and he replied that all were in favour of it because otherwise they would have been used as hostages to exert pressure on their father.

General Vicente Lim has not been released, as reported, and is not likely to be.

Quezon questioned Parsons as to the loyalty of the Filipinos–he replied that Quezon never had the people so united behind him as at present.

He next asked about Major Speth, the Vice Mayor of Baguio, an American of German descent and one of his closest friends. Parsons said “he is practically governor of the (Mountain) Province now.” Then Quezon told the experiences of Speth during the invasion. He was having coffee with Quezon when Camp John Hay was bombed. On leaving that night for the south, Quezon took Speth with him, but sent him back to see the Commander of the Japanese troops in the north, to ask that Baguio not be damaged, since it was undefended. This Speth tried to do but was arrested by the American general in command there and thrown into prison as a fifth columnist. On learning of this Quezon telephoned the general asking that Speth be released, but the general replied: “He talked himself into this, let him talk himself out.” So Quezon telephoned MacArthur, saying that Speth had merely done for Baguio what MacArthur had done for Manila, in declaring it an open city–so Speth was released.

I asked Parsons if any Filipino troops were still resisting, and he replied: “I hope not.”

Cebu has been burned as far up as tho church by the Filipinos.

Inter-island traffic is by vinta; there are no steamers.

The Calumpit bridge has not yet been repaired; the Manila Railroad Co. is still being run by Paez.

Imported food is no longer available; plenty of native food.

Japanese are keen about iron mines; are not interested in gold mines, of which only the lower levels have been flooded; the mills are intact. They want chromium, but the mine at Acoje cannot be used because the wharf has been destroyed.

Quezon was thrilled to learn that his radio addresses are heard in the Philippines. Parsons says the Japanese did not seize radios–only took antennae–so the Filipinos have installed new antennae buried in the ground.

Public schools are open, but the use of English is abolished; teaching is in Tagalog; at least one year of Japanese is required. Universities are closed.

Parsons told us no atrocity stories at luncheon; I had no means of seeing him alone.


July 3, 1942

Met Lt. Col. Carlos Romulo, editor of Quezon’s paper the Herald in Manila–noted orator–a.d.c. to MacArthur, i.e., “press agent”–still very shaky, said he was wounded once on Bataan (?). He corrected the newspaper interview ascribed to him on landing at San Francisco. He did not correct the statements to the effect that he was in the United States “on a mission for General MacArthur,” nor that he was the “last man to escape from Bataan”; but did give a correct rendering of the Domei agency announcement concerning the burning of Cebu–that it was to show the Filipinos that all further resistance should cease–not that it was punishment for sniping, in which even women were said to have taken part from upper windows of houses when the army of occupation entered Cebu.

“Further resistance” probably refers to the guerrilla bands, or remnants of the army still active in the high mountains of Cebu, and perhaps also in Luzon and Mindanao.

Quezon tells me that a “high official” of the Red Cross reported to him that the Japanese are treating their prisoners in the Philippines well.

Reports come from Australia that the danger from the Japanese has not lessened–only that their present interest is turned elsewhere. Some think the enemy could take Australia and New Zealand whenever they wished.

“Nonong” (Manuel Quezon, Jr.) celebrates his sixteenth birthday. He tells me that “Calle F. B. Harrison” in Pasay has had its name changed by the Japanese.

Chat with Osmeña. He says that there were 5,000 troops in Negros; 5,000 in Cebu; 5,000 in Panay and 30,000 in Mindanao–all units of the Philippine Army, with high officers who were all Americans. Believes General Sharp, tho unwilling to surrender, probably did so when Lieutenant General Wainwright expressed his desire that he should do so.

Osmeña has always been interested in pushing the settlement of Mindanao by Christian Filipinos, but believes that in all these years they have only persuaded some 50,000 of them to go down there.

Osmeña was the founder of the Nacionalista party and its first president. Since 1907 they were permitted by the American Governors General to agitate for independence.

At the convention of Governors of Provinces in 1906, Osmeña, from Cebu, Quezon from Tayabas, Veyra from Leyte, Luna from La Union, and Gabaldon from Nueva Ecija were the only Nacionalistas, but ran the convention in spite of the fact that all the rest were Progresistas. Governor General Smith was in charge during these years. The principales of Negros proposed establishing a “Republic of Negros,” and Smith did not object so long as they stayed under the American flag. Tells the story of Smith’s first attempt to speak Spanish. It was at this banquet in Negros, and after the customary large number of courses, a lady beside him asked: “Quiere Su Excelencia tomar una siesta ahora?” He replied: “Si Señora, con usted,” thinking the siesta was a name for ice cream.

Quezon on the subject of protocol: “I have never been much interested in it. I prefer the theory of Don Quixote, who when he appointed Sancho Panza Governor of Baratari, was given a dinner by the latter. Sancho invited him to sit at the head of the table, but Don Quixote replied: ‘Wherever I sit will be the head of the table. “‘

The subject, however, is of great importance to Osmeña. Taft has fixed Osmena’s status as Speaker of the Assembly when opening the first Philippine Assembly, by declaring that, after the Governor General, the Speaker of the Assembly was the second man in the Philippines.

Leonard Wood, when Department Commander in the Army had raised the question with Governor General Forbes–Wood was unwilling to allow precedence over the Department to a Filipino. Osmeña cabled Quezon then the Resident Commissioner in Washington and Quezon went to see the Secretary of War adding that “Tho I considered my mission a silly one, yet the duty was imposed on me by my leaders.” He reported to the Secretary of War that Osmeña believed Wood was trying to undo the fiat of Taft, and that he (Osmeña) would consider such action a humiliation to him and to his people. “Personally,” said Quezon, “I never consider it important where they place me.” The War Department ducked the issue, ruling that when the Speaker was invited, the Commanding General should not be present and vice versa. This was in 1910-11. Quezon added: “Wood could not stand the idea of a Filipino being put ahead of him. I never regard such matters as important unless done with the purpose of humiliating me or my race.”

Quezon continued: “When McNutt was first sent in 1936 [sic] as High Commissioner to the Philippines, I was in Europe. The Japanese Consul gave a fiesta at which he toasted the President of the Philippines before proposing a toast to the High Commissioner (McNutt).” This Quezon considered as of no importance, and it was certainly not an official attempt of the Japanese to play politics in the Philippines. “The Americans in Manila had been pushing McNutt to assert himself, and got him crazy.” So, he sent circulars to all the Consuls in the Philippines calling their attention to the correct order of precedence, and instructing them to route all official correspondence with the Commonwealth Government through his office.

“In Washington, they had a Cabinet meeting to discuss the press furore over this matter, for they feared it would give trouble. Vice President Garner said: ‘I’m afraid we’ve sent a trouble maker there.’ President Roosevelt replied: ‘I wouldn’t say that, but he seems to be indiscreet.’

“I was in Paris at this time, but refused to be quoted as being mixed up in this damned nonsense. When I arrived in New York all the newspaper men were on to me on this question. I told them: ‘Gentlemen, all I wish to tell you is this: if there is a toast, and I am given the opportunity of drinking it, all I care about is that there should be enough to drink.’

“The President was relieved when he learned of this reply. But I feared that with McNutt I might have another Wood-Quezon fight on my hands in Manila. Before arriving home, I carefully wrote out my speech. The banquet of welcome, attended by some 1,500-2,000 people was dramatic enough for we had an earthquake during it. I told them: ‘In order that there may be no misunderstanding among the people, I consider it important on this occasion to state what I consider to be the rights of the President of the Commonwealth in relation to those of the American High Commissioner. The latter, as the representative of the President, occupies the highest place. But all the power and responsibility of this government, except in the matter of foreign affairs, rests in the President of the Philippines. In these matters, I am the boss. I will welcome any suggestions from the High Commissioner and no doubt his suggestions will exercise great influence on our decisions.” (Wm. H. Anderson’s book contains 20-30 pp. on this.)

Quezon next described his first lesson as a young member of the first Philippine Assembly in 1908 on how to act when attacked by the press. A local newspaper in Manila had attacked him in its morning issue and a friend rushed into his bedroom and awakened him with the article. He leapt out of bed, rushed through his dressing and ran to the office of the paper, asking to see Salazar, the editor. He shoved the paper before him and asked him if he had written it. “Yes,” so he pushed it into Salazar’s mouth who went over backward with his chair. Alemany rushed in to protest, and Quezon raging, asked him if he had anything to do with it, so Alemany fled. Then Salazar challenged Quezon to a duel and Quezon replied: “To hell with you and your duel.” He then went into the composing and printing room and told the workmen in Tagalog that they ought to quit working for such scoundrels.

The next morning, all the press attacked Quezon. He began to be ashamed and to think that after all he was disgraced. He went down to attend the session of the Assembly in the marble hall of the Ayuntamiento, and at the door met Governor General Smith, who “was himself a fighting Irishman”–Smith said to him: “Well, young man, you had quite a good time yesterday. Let me offer you a piece of advice–there is nothing worse than being ignored by the press; if they won’t praise you, pay them to attack you.” Osmeña said nothing to Quezon about the incident.

Visit to President Coolidge. Former Governor General Forbes told Quezon that in due time, Coolidge would be recognized as the greatest President next to Lincoln. Quezon remarked to me that he thought he was the worst “not even except Harding.” He described a visit with Osmeña to Coolidge in the White House. It was Osmeña’s first President; he bought a suit for the occasion and bowed low when entering the presence. Quezon continued: “After 10 minutes I saw that Sergio was beginning to revise his estimate. This was not one of Coolidge’s best days. He drawled and gulped and nobody could make sense out of anything he said. When we left the White House, Sergio said ‘Chico! Caramba! so that’s a President of the United States.'”

Quezon’s revision of Hare-Hawes-Cutting Bill: The provision of the indefinite retention of the American Army in the Philippines after independence was granted seemed to Quezon to make “independence” (a) futile–for had not the Army “betrayed” an American Governor General? What would they do when a Filipino became the head of state? “Suppose Don Sergio for example were the first President of an independent Philippines, what would happen? Directly after his inauguration he would perhaps wish to rest after the ceremonies and take a drive. He would go to Fort McKinley, outside Manila, and perhaps be halted by a sentry and turned back.”

The provision was moreover (b) dangerous--and would be liable to create incidents between the United States and the Philippines. Moreover, though at the time they naturally did not make this statement, there was the challenge to Japan in the continued presence of the U.S. Army in the Philippines. He thinks this requirement was a product of American imperialism.

So, he wired Osmeña and Roxas in Washington to await his arrival there and added that if they could convince him that the bill was wise, he would support it. This they failed to do. Senator Harry Hawes, one of the joint authors of the act, gave a luncheon for the Philippine delegation at which Joe Robinson, the floor leader of the Senate was present. Having listened to the discussion at the table, Robinson finally said with some show of anger–and he was a man of sudden anger and violence: “I’ve had enough of all this–you can take the law as it is, or leave it.” Quezon rose and said: “Then I’m through, we won’t accept the law.” He left and returned at once to the Philippines. Before Robinson’s death, a little later, the senator paid a handsome tribute to Quezon.

Upon his return to Manila, Quezon got the legislature to reject the law by more than a two-thirds’ vote. He told the caucus that they would have to “get rid” of Osmeña (the Vice President) as head of the senate (sic) and of Roxas as Speaker. There was much hesitation among them since the people were so anxious for independence that there was general support for the law. So Quezon told them: “You leave it to me–the popular support here for Osmeña and Roxas will not last thirty days.” Then Quezon offered his own resignation as President of Senate, which was refused by a large majority. Roxas, that evening, did not wait for the vote; he resigned as Speaker of the House of his own accord. He was “chaired” by the students at the University and said later that “he had fallen from the speakership into the arms of the people.” Quezon commented publicly that when Roxas had fallen into the arms of the students, he had picked out those of a pretty girl in the crowd–Quezon added that he wouldn’t mind that kind of a fall, himself. During the controversy, Quezon made no personal attacks nor reflections on either Osmeña or Roxas. The Hare-Hawes-Cutting law was overwhelmingly rejected by the legislature.

Religious Instruction in the Public Schools: Taft as the first Civil Governor had passed a law permitting this, but it was very ambiguous in its terms, and never put into effect. (N.B. this, and Taft’s visit to the Vatican, plus the “Friar Land Purchases” had a great deal to do with the re-election of Theodore Roosevelt in 1904. I was campaigning on the state ticket in New York in that election and knew of the immense activity–undercover–of the Catholic priests against our ticket headed by Alton B. Parker. F.B.H.)

Quezon says that when Laurel, Roxas and Recto were framing the constitution of the Philippine Commonwealth, Taft’s “religious instruction” proposition was inserted in the articles. The first session of the National Assembly, in the early winter of 1935-6, passed by 90 votes a law to this effect. Quezon vetoed the act on the ground that it was unconstitutional. Chief Justice Avanceña, whose advice he took privately, backed him up, but the act was never re-passed over Quezon’s veto, so never came before the courts. Avanceña went down to his home province of Iloilo to explain this matter to his sisters, who had brought him up and educated him. They had kept a school there since Spanish days, and were intensely religious. Avanceña did not broach the subject to his sisters but went to the priests who were those who “confessed” them, and explained to them the constitutional point. Then, after satisfying them, he arranged with them to come to dinner and to have one of them raise the question quite casually at the table.

Quezon was dictating to Canceran the chapter of his book on his birth and childhood. Great was my surprise at the primitive conditions at Baler 60 years ago: no market–everybody raised, or shot or caught their own food or exchanged their crops for venison and pork. Few shotguns; most of the people were armed only with spears or bow and arrows, etc. He replied: “Inferiority complex of the Filipinos never has permitted them to tell the truth about their primitive conditions in Spanish days. I shall be the first.” (Vivid contrast here with the profusion, extravagance and disregard of expenditure in which he has lived during the Commonwealth; instead of resenting this, the Filipino are probably proud of all this reckless display–I’ve never heard him express the view that anything he wanted was too expensive. F.B.H.)


June 13, 1942

At Waldorf-Astoria.

Story of Lt. Colonel Andres Soriano:

Soriano said that it did a great injustice to Aguinaldo to call him a fifth columnist. The General was perfectly loyal.

Bombing of air fields:

“The bombing of Baguio was at 7:30 a.m. on December 8th; these enemy planes then turned northwards and bombed the Cagayan valley–Aparri, Tuguegarao and Iligan.

“At about the same hour, Davao was bombed.

“Next they came over Clark Field–not a fighter up to oppose them. Many of the officers were at luncheon when the Japanese struck. They said: ‘We don’t know how it happened.’ At that time, 17 B-40s were destroyed on the ground at Clark Field. Explanation: the wires to detectors had been cut by enemy agents.”

Soriano, when I asked about the American planes which, according to Quezon had taken the air when news came of the bombing of Baguio at 7:30, said they were probably some planes which were en route for Mindanao at that time, and were recalled.

By the 10th & 11th of December, almost all our planes (80%) were destroyed–“it was worse than Pearl Harbor.”

“Three-quarters of an hour after they struck at Clark Field they were over Iba Field–all the officers were having luncheon.

“MacArthur took command of all the armies on July 20 (?). He did not have five months in which to pull them together. General Lewis Brereton arrived early in November, a very amiable man–he found a Brigadier General in command of the air force, an officer of the old laissez faire school. They put him in command of the fighter planes, when they should have shipped him off home.” Those fighter planes were ready to start for Formosa, and actually started, “I don’t know why they were recalled to the ground–some of them may have been included in the squadron which started for Davao that morning and had been recalled.

“After December 10th or 11th, the Japanese were entirely masters of the air, unopposed. I understand that the Americans had 38 four engine bombers, and about 170 other planes in the Philippines before the invasion.

“Supplies for besieged armies on Corregidor & Bataan: An officer told me: ‘All through the battle of Bataan we expected relief and reinforcements, though we knew the American Pacific Squadron had been temporarily put out of action at Pearl Harbor. On my first trip back from the front at Bataan to see General Sutherland on Corregidor the boys in the trenches had asked me to bring them food, tobacco and whiskey. This was on February 3rd; on February 18th I was again sent from the front on an errand to Corregidor, and this time all that the boys asked me to bring back was only “good news”–i.e., of relief coming. We all expected help until we heard President Roosevelt’s address on February 22nd. The truth about the sending of supplies is as follows: three convoys started from Australia. The first was diverted to Singapore; the second to the Dutch East Indies, and the third, consisting of three cargo boats started at last for the Philippines. Two of the vessels turned back and went to the West coast of Australia–to Brisbane. One boat, the Moro vessel Doñañate (?) got through to Cebu; it carried 1,000 tons of sugar and 1,000 tons of rice, both commodities we already had in the Visayas, so it was like carrying coals to Newcastle. Very little of this got through to Corregidor and Bataan, because of the blockade. Another vessel went aground near Leyte but the cargo was salvaged. We understood that after Pearl Harbor, the American Navy could not convoy supplies to us. Nor, of course, could they strike directly at the Japanese Navy as had always been the plan.’

“On Dec. 1st, Quezon sent for Admiral Hart, and questioned him. Hart seemed very confident. He thought that if the Japanese ever cut the communications between the mainland (U.S.) and the Philippines, it would, at the most, be 18 days before it was re-established.

“Of the airplanes sent from the United States via Australia in the months just preceding Pearl Harbor, the bombers, which could fly all the way, got through to the Philippines. A shipment of 200 fighters intended for the Philippines, had inexperienced young boys as pilots and crews, and they smashed up 180 of these 200 planes in Australia. ”

Soriano’s account of important visitors to the Philippines just before, based on which, Quezon had believed that there was a well prepared plan worked out for the defense of the Far East. Quezon was not really consulted, or informed in detail, but he had every reason to think that the defenses of the Philippines were.

“Quezon saw Duff Cooper and was not at all impressed by him. General Sir Brooke Popham was in Manila several times from the end of 1940 to April 1941. He conferred only with Sayre, Grunert and Hart.

The Dutch Chief of Staff who after visiting the United States from Batavia, became Commander-in-Chief for the Netherlands East Indies when his chief was killed in an air accident. He visited the Philippines.

“Litvinoff came to Manila about November 1st or a little later. Quezon was ill, and Litvinoff was only there for two days, but the President saw him and was very much impressed by him.”

Then Kurusu, whom they all knew in Manila because he had been Consul General there in my time, came through on his mission to the United States about the middle of November.

In October 1941, the Secretary of the Colonies and the Secretary of Finance of the Netherlands East Indies made a trip across the Philippines.

Soriano had had reservations for the September Clipper from the United States to the Philippines but became so uneasy over international relations that he left America on July 29th instead.

After MacArthur had been given Supreme Command there was real co-operation established with the American Army, which had been rather sore theretofore with General MacArthur because he had accepted service with the Filipinos. Soriano thinks, however, that MacArthur was glad to take Filipino Command, otherwise he would lose rank as Lieutenant General at the end of his extended term (five years) as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, and would have had to step down and become a young Major General. (As a matter of fact, he became the Field Marshal of the Philippine Army.) General Grunert was coming to the end of his term as Department Commander of the Philippines; he had been offish with MacArthur because he worked with the Filipinos, and the Department Commander had been an “ally” of Sayre. Now Grunert is very friendly with Quezon.

The Americans in Manila, after Soriano arrived back there were still “asleep at the switch”; only a small percentage of them were awake to the seriousness of the situation. Right up to the 1st of December many people thought that nothing was going to happen. Quezon was one of the few who seemed aware of the danger, tho he was not informed as to the real strength of Japan. He kept cool-headed. He realized the situation after Secretary Knox’s ballon d’essai statement of November 11th and Secretary Hull’s comprehensive and sweeping statement of November 26th to the two Japanese Ambassadors in Washington.

In Manila during those last weeks some of the Americans feared that the Filipinos would not support them–these were the “Old Timers” who had always looked down on the Filipinos. In Soriano’s opinion there was absolutely no justification for this fear among the “Old Timers.” He did feel some uncertainty as to the real though concealed sentiments of some of the members of the Legislature. Possibly some of the Filipino lawyers who had as clients the more important Japanese financial interests in the Philippines were luke-warm, or followed the line of least resistance. He also suspected the real feelings of some of the professional Filipinos who had taken their degrees in Japan. The only pro-Japanese Filipinos of whose sentiments he was sure were two Filipino businessmen he named.

“In September, military supplies from the United States began to trickle in; there was a very noticeable increase of them by November, when bomber squadrons arrived. Nearly everybody thought that the crisis would not come before Spring and this would have given MacArthur a real chance of success. Even with the small air force we had there at the moment of invasion we could have gone far to stop the Japanese landings at Lingayen Bay and Guman Bay (e. coast Bicols), if we had learned the lesson of the battle of Crete. We might also, with our limited air force intact, have been able to keep the Asiatic fleet in our waters and thus impede the invasion. This would have served to stop the Japanese on their way to Singapore.

“We could have preserved the bulk of our air force if we had dug shelters for them in the hills around the air fields. There was a perfect opportunity for this at Stotsenburg, for example. This was what MacArthur did with the few rickety planes he had left, on the air fields he constructed on Mariveles Bay during the siege of Bataan. With the immense amount of mining machinery we already had in the Philippines we could easily have dug out shelters of our air defenses and airplanes.”

I asked Soriano whether the Spaniards in the Philippines had to be watched. He replied: “Perhaps I am partial, but in my opinion the great bulk of the Spaniards then in the Philippines were entirely loyal. They are, of course, extremely influential in the Islands.”

About the disastrous campaign on Malaya, Soriano said that the acid criticisms of the Australian General Gordon Bennet were probably correct. Soriano, who was educated in England, said that the Englishmen of the colonies are probably of a somewhat lower social stratum–it was their arrogance and that of their women which led to disaster. The especial harshness of the Japanese towards the English was due to championship of the Asiatic races. They humiliated the English because of their political and personal bossiness towards Asiatics. They are leading a race movement for their fellow Asiatics. (N.B. “Old Timers” and the policy of “Prestige in the Philippines.” F.B.H.)

“The Filipino Scouts were the back-bone of our armies–I consider them the equals of any crack regiment in any army in the world.

“The Philippine Army were mostly draftees–some divisions were fairly trained–most of them were just barely trained. The young Filipino officers, the first class to graduate from their Military Academy at Baguio, were excellent; many of them were killed.

“When I was commissioned, I reported to General Jones at Fort McKinley; he was the commander of the Southern Luzon forces. An officer of the Philippine forces was not considered the equal of an American officer. We managed to secure the same pay for the Filipinos.

“On Bataan, relations became excellent between American and Filipino officers; no distinction was made; promotions and citations were equal.

“Vicente Lim, and Generals Capinpin and Francisco, in the front line were really fine soldiers. General Segundo, tho he had been at the best military schools in the U.S., was always uncertain–he should not have fallen back at the first day’s battle at Morong. Quezon had previously disciplined him by sending him for a year to Mindanao, and then called him up to command the Military Academy at Baguio. He lost all his batteries and equipment at Morong. Lim, Capinpin and Francisco are all three prisoners of the Japanese now. Homma’s Chief of Staff really did commit hara-kiri.

“Colonel Juan Moran, a brother of the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, who was Chief of Staff of the 11th Division, did an excellent job.

“The 26th Cavalry, the 45th and 57th Infantry and 24th Field Artillery were Scouts.

“A Philippine division contains only 7,500 men.

“We could have licked the Japs at the beginning, if we had been properly equipped. After the battle of Malaya, no. If we had had an adequate air force, we would have thrown out the Japanese, they cannot stand up against air attack–not even the Manchurian veterans. What enabled us to stand so long on Bataan against such odds, was our artillery. The Japanese simply will not stand artillery fire.

“The Japanese soldier with his bushido and fanaticism is individually better than the German; the Jap is more of a savage, while the German is, in comparison, more civilized.

“The technique and minute preparation of the German and Japanese armies are about equal.”

The Americans in Manila behaved with dignity, and the civilian population conducted themselves well, noticeably so when, after the first two or three days, the enemy had complete control of the air.

In the battles in the Philippines the draftees had to be steadied by the Scouts when infiltration occurred–almost all troops are shaken when fired on from the flanks and from the rear, and think themselves cut off from their base. (Soriano suggests we do not praise the draftees too highly since that they might provoke answers from Americans.)

“A French-American pigeon keeper or trainer (Soriano called him pigeonnier) at Fort McKinley, whom they called ‘Frenchy,’ (named Saulnier), made so good on Bataan, calling out the range for the soldiers that he was finally put in command of a battalion–much to the surprise of the commanding officer, who, however, acquiesced when told what this boy had done.

“The Filipinos had shown great ability in jungle fighting when they were drawn from the frontier type, but not so much so the ilustrados or “white collar” men. Once on the Tuol River in W. Bataan about 3 kilometers from Bagao, a Filipino 2d Lieut, (later Captain), in command of a company, found that they were surrounded by a larger force of Japanese. He had only two platoons, and recognized his inferiority in numbers and equipment. He lay in ambush for 24 hours without food. Knowing the Japanese tactics of reopening their attack just after sunset, he took the initiative and succeeded in making contact on both flanks. They killed a great part of the Japanese platoons around them; 25 or 30 Japanese corpses were found, and he lost only 6. (n.b.) This happened on the 8-9th of February.

“Negritos–(they often saw them); Negritos have learned to speak Tagalog. Used them sometimes as guides, but found them so unrealiable that we quit. They served the Japanese just as willingly. Many of them were killed. We came across a former constabulary soldier from the lowlands named Mariano Daiit, who was living among the Negritos–he had a patch of camotes and some papaya trees. He was a very loyal guide for my commanding officer, General Jones. Once when General Jones and I and two young officers, with only 67 men were surrounded, Mariano, as always, found a way out for us. When we withdrew to Matic, we were no longer able to find Mariano and fear he fell into the hands of the Japanese and suffered the fate they often meted out to civilian assistants.

“When the Japanese High Command got behind in their program, their army became much more brutal. They changed their propaganda by leaflets, and began to call on the Filipino troops to kill the ‘real enemy,’ their American officers. They also changed their treatment of their Filipino prisoners–at first they used to strip off their uniforms, kicked them in the ass and told them to ‘get out.’ Many of them came back to us. As a rule they treated their military captives well, tho they perpetrated savagery upon civilians caught with the troops. When their program fell behind, they changed noticeably; they still took the uniforms, but used the soldiers as cargadores; sometimes they bayoneted their military captives, acting with complete savagery.

“We took very few prisoners, for two principal but very different reasons. First, many of them killed themselves rather than become prisoners. Second, our men often found that a Japanese offer of surrender was only a ruse, or bait, to lead us up to machine gun nests. After several of those experiences, we could not control our boys.”

At one time, the Japanese effected a landing at three places on the S.W. coast of Bataan peninsula, but they were driven off or destroyed.

By the end of the war, the town of Mariveles had been completely destroyed. A vast “all-weather” airport had been established at Mariveles; this was finished just before the surrender of Bataan. It had caves into which the planes could be pushed.

Soriano further suggested that, for the purposes of Quezon’s book the question of stressing atrocities by the Japanese be carefully considered. Will the American public demand the gruesome? He mentioned the weight of other considerations in this matter. He, personally, saw corpses of Filipino men and women mutilated by the Japanese and thrown by them into the Abo-Abo River in Bataan. He told also how one Vicente Logarta (?), a newspaper man from Cebu, left Manila on February 25th and went to the province of Bulacan, where he found that out of 176 cases of rape of girls aged from eleven to sixteen years, 110 had died. There was, as yet, very little information as to what took place in the provinces; it is not believed, however, that such savagery had been shown there as took place in Hong Kong. (Query: had the abundant supply of liquor in Hong Kong something to do with that?)


December 9, 1941

Some boys came to school, not knowing that classes had been suspended. The Fathers and the workers went to the seashore in the school bus to get sand with which to barricade the vestibule entrance with sandbags. A van came from Calamba with sacks and more sand from Pasay. It will take us more than a week to cover the windows and doors with about a thousand sacks of sand. We took off our habits and started to work. We were helped by some students and cadets.

 

By midmorning, we were taken aback by American soldiers installing a big anti-aircraft in front of Letran College. Two of the soldiers, soiled and emaciated, with their rifles hanging, approached me asking for confession. I invited them to the chapel. They knelt without putting down their rifles.

After hearing their confession and giving them communion, I asked them to take a cup of coffee. They said they came from Clark Air Base. The night before and early in the morning, the Japanese raid had caused enormous destruction. They could not tell how many American planes were burned or how many pilots, mechanics and officers were killed. Casualties were heavy on their side. They were scared, but they left Letran physically and spiritually relieved.

Other camps in the outskirts of Manila—Nichols, Murphy, McKinley—have suffered similar destructions. Fires can be seen from all over the city. From our roof, they look imposing. Witnesses inform us that many houses are burning in Baclaran.

In the afternoon, the anti-aircraft gun in front of Letran College was removed, to our great relief. The same thing is happening in other places where pieces of artillery had been installed. The military placed them, removed them. There seems to be widespread confusion in the military organization. Cars, trucks and buses ply about with a seeming lack of direction. The military have begun commandeering vehicles for the transport of military personnel. They pay well for their use or purchase.

The infernal barking of guns continued throughout the night. One could not tell whether they were firing at the planes, at people, at the lights, or at ghosts.

Heaps of bamboo poles were being burned during the night. They were arranged like fans and inverted cones. As they burned, they presented a pictureque and beautiful sight, if one was in the mood to enjoy the spectacle.

We were told that the youth would be called to active duty, especially those who had already been trained in college and those who had complied with military training in cadres. Many want to be reactivated, and they have volunteered. Most of them were told to wait. The country is in danger and the youth are anxious to defend her, but their services are not accepted. Here is an enigmatic irregularity that is hard to explain.


September 3, 1941

Our Q-Boat depth charge firing exercises against submarine targets will continue during the week to finally complete the training program. Then, I understand the selection Board headed by C,OSP Capt. Andrada will announce the permanently  designated officers and crew of Q-111 Luzon; Q-112 Abra; and Q-113 Agusan. There are only six slots for Os to come from fifteen prospective candidate that are undergoing this rigid training.  I am keeping my fingers crossed. For EMs, there will be only 17 coveted slots.

Aside from the FA, CAC, and PAAC Training Schools activated two days ago, the following Training Schools are activated today to train the hundreds Os being mobilized:

  • Medical School at Ft. McKinley under Maj. Joseph U. Weaver MC USA
  • Medical School at Camp Murphy under Maj. Jack W. Schwartz MC USA
  • QM & Motor Trpt. School at Port Area, Manila under Maj. Michael Quinn QMS
  • US Signal School at Ft. McKinley under Capt. Lassiter Mason SigC USA
  •  Engineers School at Ft. McKinley under Lt. Antonio C. Chanco CE PA USAFFE
  • Infantry Schools at every Mobilization Centers in all Military Districts.

Manila News today say Nazi forces overran Smolensk after three weeks fighting Stalin’s Army and is now about 200 miles from Moscow.  Meanwhile, British and Russian forces invaded Iran announcing their intention is only to get rid of German Agents and Technicians residing in Iran. They said their forces will withdraw as soon as the threat of German invasion or 5th Column Operation is nullified.


June 28, 1941

Today’s Manila News says Finland declared War on USSR.  And Louis Chevrolet, builder of my favorite car, died at age 63, but I am still very much in love with that Chevy Apple Green Coupie.  Let me continue to pay tribute by mentioning those early military pioneers.  The PC being the core of our new PA, PCA Alumni are the primary source and its roster from 1907 to 1935 only totals 508 which means there were only about 400 to select from.  Maj Porfirio Zablan and Lt Pelagio Cruz of the PAAC came from this pool.  Other sources are the Phil Scouts (PS) and US Army’s Phil Depmt (USA) at Ft McKinley.  My friend, Lt Luis Villareal, former Jr Aide to the Pres, informed me that Quezon was personally involved in the selection of these pioneers.  He first selected Gen Vicente Lim USMA ’14 to be the G-1 of C/S Paulino Santos.

Early PS recruits were Cols Fidel Segundo for UP; Pastor Martelino, Capts Rufo Romero and Emmanuel Cepeda for PMA.  These PS Os were promoted one rank higher which was termed assimilated ranks.  Maj. Paciano Tangco who had an aptitude for radio communication was picked by Quezon to pioneer the Signal Corps. He was assisted by Capt Lasseter Mason USA SigC. Then came the UP group headed by Lt Francisco Licuanan & Manuel Quiogue; thence by Manuel Syquio, Amos Francia and Jose Rodriguez from PMA. They built a great Branch of Service.

I remember Miss Rosky Santos, beautiful daughter of C/S Gen Santos who used to attend our Yearling summer hops as a drag of Cav Pedro Francisco.  I wonder where she is now.