February 20, 1942

Bataan HQ, MIS

 

President Quezon and family, Gen. Valdes, Vice-President Osmeña and Col. Nieto have left for Visayas. The General said “not to tell anyone.” Not even Leonie and Fred know but I shall tell Leonie to get his opinion.

The General disagrees with my report on Group in northern road. He thinks they give good messages. I told him I am convinced they are either guessing or bluffing. The general is hard headed. Anyway he will have group-leader recalled.

The General said I have a letter from Mrs. Quezon.

 

(later)

 

Accompanied General to Mariveles. Was present in his conference with Col. Roxas. Javallera also attended meeting.

Roxas although colonel was easily the dominant personality of the meeting. He is a fluent, interesting and brilliant speaker.

Roxas explained military situation in Bataan. He said the convoy cannot be expected these days. He pointed out that Jap Navy controls Pacific waters. He stated that very few planes can be placed in Mariveles and Cabcaben airfields, certainly not enough to gain aerial superiority. “And,” he pointed out, “we don’t have fuel here, no ground crews, no spare parts!”

Roxas said Bataan troops must hold out as long as possible to give America, time to recover from initial gains of Japs who will attack Australia after Bataan.

Roxas said that Corregidor questions a lot of our reports.

Roxas said that evacuees are a big problem. They are thousands and they must be fed and they are in a miserable pitiful condition. He is thinking of sending them to Mindoro by boat that wil bring food here from Visayas.

Roxas revealed that thousands of sacks of rice good for a couple of days were brought to Corregidor by Legaspi  from Cavite.


February 3, 1942

HQ, Intelligence

Bataan

 

Given mission to Manila. Will take the Corregidor-to-Cavite route. Will bring ten operatives with me including two signal corps men. Should be in Manila by the 8th. Am excited. Can’t tell anyone about it, though. Fred just asked: “Why are you fixing up that civilian outfit?” Pretended not to hear him.

Leonie down with Malaria. He also has dysentery. Two days ago it was Fred. Even the doctor is sick. I have a slight headache.

Right now Maj. Javallera is bawling out two privates who fell asleep during their guarding hours. I pity the men. They have very little food, they work in the morning and afternoon and they even have to be sentinels at night.

Japs are now putting pressure on eastern sector. First they bomb the lines; then they shell; finally they attack. All their thrusts have been met with withering infantry and artillery fire. Some of our artillery shells fell short and exploded on our lines. Several boys killed.

Raid. Plenty of planes.

 

(later)

 

Climbed cliff of Little Baguio to watch planes bomb Mariveles airfield and Naval depot. Had a good bird’s eye view.

One formation came from east… The other from the west. When they were approaching their targets, our AA units opened fire.

Saw white puffs of smoke following path of Jap bombers. It was a beautiful sight. Jap planes looked like silver bullets sailing in clouds. AA shell-burst like white wreaths being thrown at planes.

Watched bombs as they sailed to objectives. Could hear sharp shrill sound of falling bombs. First bomb missed target. Landed between two camouflaged warehouses. Earth shook up to my high vantage point. Saw dust rise like geyser where bomb dropped. More bombs. Target burst into flames. Could feel wind blowing against my face. AA fire intensified. More white puffs below planes. Jap plane dives. Nope, it is falling. Twirls to earth. Crashes in Bay. Fires in naval depot. Many died.

Good story: Lt. Palo accompanied Lt. Mondoñedo to airforce headquarters. While Mondoñedo was talking to officers of the air corps, Palo stayed outside and talked to an old American who was wearing an old shirt, while basking in the sun.

Said Palo to the American: “Say bud, what are you doing out there?”

Said the old fellow: “Oh, I’m whittling this piece of wood.”

Palo: “What’s that?”

Old fellow: “Carving a dame.”

Palo: “You are too old for that stuff.”

Old fellow didn’t answer.

Palo: “Say Bud, have you got a glass of water?”

Old fellow took some water for Palo. Palo complained. “Haven’t you got a cleaner glass?”

The old fellow said that he drinks out of that glass.

Then Palo said: “Do you mind if I lie down on this table. I am tired.”

“That’s o.k.,” said the old man. “I’m dressing up now. Leave you for a while, lt.”

After about an hour, Lt. Mondoñedo finished his business with the air corps officers. When Mondoñedo and Palo were walking out of the HQ, they saw the old man dressed in a General’s uniform, with stars on his shoulder straps.

Palo stood at attention. Nervously he said: “I’m sorry, sir.”

Gen. George said: “That’s o.k. lieutenant. But don’t you ever make the same mistake with a capt.”

Palo is now in bed.


February 2, 1942

HQ, Intelligence, Bataan

 

This place is getting to be a Post Office. Lorrie Tan wants a letter sent to his family. Manny Colayco wants his family contacted. “I left them with nothing,” he said, “I don’t even know where they are,” he wrote. Tony Perez has a letter for his sweetheart and one for his mother. All letters were censored. Received word from Fr. Hurley in Manila. He asks that news be given the Superior in America that “everything is o.k. with Jesuits.” Will refer this matter to Ortiz in Rock. Other men were here begging, pleading that we be kind enough to “send this little or just this two or three words to this and that person.” The General is very angry. He has ordered all agents and officers to stop bringing personal notes. He said: “This is an intelligence service not a Post Office.” Fred said the General has become very strict because he noticed that one of the letters which somebody wanted delivered was addressed to a German in the suspected list of the Philippine Army. We are having the American sergeant who wrote the suspicious note called to this HQ tomorrow.

Talked to Tony Perez this morning about penetration in Mt. Natib. He said they walked for two days and nights without stop, clambering cliffs, clinging to vines at times to keep their body steady, in a desperate effort to escape encirclement by the Japs. He said it was a pity some of the weak and wounded were left behind. There were men he said offering all their money to soldiers to “please carry me because I can no longer walk.” He said that he and a friend carried a fellow who had a bullet wound in the leg. “Some of the boys” he said “fell down the precipice because the path was very narrow, in some cases just enough for the toes.” He expressed the opinion that if Japs had followed their gains immediately and emplaced a machine gun near the cliff, they would all have been killed. “It was heart-breaking” he said. “There we were trying to run away from Japs and sometimes we had to stay in the same place for a long time because the cliffs were very irregular, at times flat, at times perpendicular.” He said that most of the men discarded their rifles and revolvers to reduce their load. Most of our artillery pieces were left, he stated. “We were happy,” he recounted, “when night came because it was dark and the Japs would have less chances of spotting us but then that made our climbing doubly difficult because it was hard to see where one was stepping especially when the moon hid behind the clouds.” He opined that the Japs probably never thought that one whole division would be able to escape through those precipices in the same way that we never thought that they would be able to pass through the steep cliffs of Mt. Natib. Fred said he will write a poem entitled “The Cliffs of Bagao” in honor of the Dunkirk-like retreat of the 1st regular division.

Leonie is also thinking of writing a book on Bataan. He says it will be fiction. It’s much easier that way, he stated.

Fred and Leonie keep on making notes of every incident and story they see and hear. Fred will write a non-fiction book.

I wish I could write a book myself but I don’t think I can. Maybe I’ll just write a couple of article for Free Press or Bulletin.

Received a letter from Baby Quezon. She wants to send a note to Miss Mary Angara. The General said we shall make an exception for the President’s daughter.

Life here is getting harder and harder. I noticed everybody is getting more and more irritable. Nerves, I think. Food is terribly short. Just two handfuls of rice in the morning and the same amount at night with a dash of sardines. Nine out of ten men have malaria. When you get the shivers, you geel like you have ice in your blood. Bombing has become more intensified and more frequent. The General is always hot-headed. Fred and Leonie are often arguing heatedly. Montserrat and Javallera are sore at each other. And I… well, I wanna go home.

 


January 29, 1942

HQ, MIS, Bataan

Japs have encircled the 1st regular. I wonder what will happen to the boys there. This is a great calamity.

Apparently, Japs crawled through precipices of Mt. Natib. After penetration, they made a flank maneuver and concentrated fire on rear of Segundo’s line.

Reports from radio indicate Japs are wild about their victory in Singapore. Jap planes have dropped copies of Tribune announcing Tojo’s independence promise and Tribune page carrying signatures of members of executive commission agreeing to Jap aims.

Ration reduced. Food supply fast decreasing. For brunch, we get two handfuls of rice.

The general said he might send me to Manila or Nueva Ecija one of these days.

Morale slightly on downgrade. Some skeptical about convoy.

Had a silly discussion on a silly subject with Fred and Leonie. “Are whores capable of true love?”

 

(later)

 

False alarm. Major Javallera came in shouting: “I have sighted the spearhead of convoy.”

Called up off shore patrol to check up. Officer in charge says: “Its just the gun-boats in Corregidor. They moved over to the other side.”

Men are weary. Some still full of hope. I have often seen men stand on high cliffs gazing out into the sea looking for the convoy.

Rumors that a Negro Army has arrived and landed in Batangas.

Rumor that the convoy has reached Visayas.

While going to HPD this afternoon a plan strafed truck before my car. I dove out of car and hid in clump of bushes on side of precipice. Bruised my knees.

(later)

Fred had a tiff with an American lt. who refused to obey Fred because he is “a Filipino captain”, Fred put the Yank in proper place. Congrats.


January 27, 1942

HQ, MIS, Bataan

Vic’s birthday. I wonder how he is celebrating it. Am very homesick.

Fred has a good story depicting state of unpreparedness of Philippines when war broke out. He said he asked a friend: “What is your family doing to prepare in case of war?” And his friend replied: “In our house we are always preparing but not for the war but for the next party!”

The General expressed the opinion that ROTC training was quite impractical. Too much emphasis he said on “Squad right, Squad left”. “Many weeks were spent,” he pointed out, “preparing for this or that parade”.

I told the general that in cadre I was taught how to plant and beautify the camp garden. But none of us ever fired a single rifle shot. I told him I told this to the President when I graduated from cadre training in Murphy. My group belonged to the first batch drafted, I pointed out.

The general said that this war has shown that more emphasis should be placed on jungle fighting: silent deployment, sudden concentration, timely retreat, camouflage, infiltration, ambuscade, sniping.

Bad news: Japs have penetrated Mt. Natib through center of line of 1st regular division. Boys of 1st regular are in wild retreat. Many of them are given up for lost.

If this penetration widens, entire USAFFE line must fall back on reserve lines –the Pilar-Bagac road. This is our darkest hour. I’m praying for the convoy. Come on America!

(later)

Heard several front-line boys will get citations: 2 Americans and 6 Filipinos. Will try to get complete dope about their deeds. One Scout recommended for Congressional Medal.


January 25, 1942

HQ, Intelligence Service, Bataan

 

Talked to some of the boys of the 21st at the front yesterday. Japs have tried to penetrate their lines during last few days but to no avail. Boys are complaining about very little food ration. Many were very anxious to get a smoke.

Japs have dropped a lot of “surrender” leaflets in front lines. Leaflets are about the size of the palm. Front sheet reads: “Ticket to Armistice”. Lower caption states: “You and any number of your friends can walk with these leaflets to our lines. We shall bring you back to your homes.” Back cover of “ticket to armistice” carries picture of some home in Manila or picture of Jap soldiers playing with Manila kids. Almost everybody in front line keeps these tickets as souvenir. There are no cases of desertion. The men know that this is a dirty Jap trick and that they will shoot any of us on sight.

Boys in 41st division are raring to attack Japs. Some of their patrols found the dead body of a young girl. She was evidently abused. Her hair was recently curled. Her dress was smeared with blood. Her finger nails still had manicure. She was a pretty Filipina. Her handkerchief was partly torn. On one side of the handkerchief was the name Erlinda. Troops under Lim have adopted as fighting motto: “Remember Erlinda!” Leonie is now writing a radio script for Voice of Freedom on Erlinda.

Corregidor censored part of our SYIM stuff for tomorrow. Fred had an article describing hard life in Rock, the damp air of tunnel as I described to him and the boxes of ammunition inside the main tunnel. Corregidor claims this gives out information to enemy. Fred explained to the General who in turn called up Corregidor that the intention of SYIM editors was to make boys in the front feel that men in Corregidor are sharing hardships with them; that SYIM editors merely want to paint Corregidor officers in better light, because boys in front think that fellows in Corregidor are having an easy life while boys in Bataan fight and starve. The article remains censored.

During broadcast this evening, I slipped into Montserrat’s tent and got some of Javallera’s canned goods. Now Javallera suspects Montserrat took it. The two majors have decided to separate tents. Major Javallera will put up another tent. He says “It’s better to be alone.” Major Montserrat feels the same way. The general is already aware of the canned stuff mystery. He told me he suspects it is Major Panopio taking the canned goods. Meanwhile Fred, Leonie and I are having the time of our lives laughing at the old fogies. Leonie suspects the doctor knows we three have something to do with the canned goods of Montserrat and Javallera because he has seen us eating in private and laughing to ourselves. Fred said “Let us plant the empty cans in the doctor’s tent.” Leonie suggested: “Let Philip put it under the general’s cot.” The plot thickens…

 

(later)

 

Heard that a certain Capt. Wermuth, an American, will be given a third or fourth decoration for distinguished service…


January 23, 1942

HQ, Bataan

(Noon)

 

Cabcaben docks bombed while our courier boat was unloading. Nobody hurt. Japs are squint-eyed.

Everybody in C.P. asking me questions about Corregidor. “How does the Rock look?” or “What do they say about the convoy?” or “They have a better life out there, don’t you think so?”

To pep boys up I told them that Romulo whispered (it’s better to say ‘whispered’ than said) that he had inside dope the convoy would be around in a week’s time, more or less.

This cheered officers up. Fred looked skeptical, though. He asked: “How does he know?” I said: “Ask him that. I just said what he said.”

Leonie told me that in Manila Japs have formed a civil administration. Vargas is head of Executive Commission. Yulo is chief justice. Aquino, interior head; Laurel, justice; Paredes, public works; Alas, finance; Recto, education. Japs have also promised independence to P.I. “as long as she collaborates with co-prosperity sphere.” Aquino and Vargas have urged full collaboration in radio broadcasts.

In staff meeting general revealed that Japs are bringing long-range artillery guns in Ternate, Cavite.

This provoked interesting discussion. Some officers opined Japs might try to take Corregidor by attacking from Cavite side. And then once they have taken Corregidor, they can turn Corregidor guns on Bataan and pulverize every inch of ground. “In that way, USAFFE troops in Bataan will be sandwiched,” it was maintained.

Other officers pointed out difficulty of this move due to Fort Frank which can shell any Jap concentrations in Cavite coast.

Discussion regarding motive behind Jap emplacement of artillery in Ternate still going on now.

Personally I think Japs merely want to ‘surprise’ Corregidor, ‘soften them up’ and incidentally “feel their defenses on Cavite side.”

I do not believe they intend to launch any “landing parties” from Cavite otherwise operatives would have reported concentration of troops in that area.

Ate Romulo’s tuna fish. Shared it with Fred and Leonie. We were careful not to show it to the other officers as there was not enough to divide among everybody. Charity begins at home.

The doctor I think noticed we were eating something privately and he said “How about it, boys?” I am sorry we did not share it with him because I am sure he really saw us eating something and he might have been hurt.

 

(night)

 

A lot of mysterious things have occurred during my stay in Rock. When I opened my bag, I saw several cans of sardines. When I started asking, “Who owns these sardines?” Fred and Leonie jumped and told me to keep quiet.

It seems the two fellows raided the tent of Major Montserrat. Leonie acted as look-out whilst Fred slipped in tent “under cover of darkness” while the major was listening to the Voice of Freedom. Fred claims the major is in combination with some of the sergeants of the QM dump and he has extra supply.

When the major noticed that his private supply was lacking, they hid the cans in my bag. Right now, the major is still trying to remember where he placed his sardine cans.

At this very moment, Major Montserrat is questioning his tent-mate, Major Javallera, chief of Manila’s secret service. Leonie says he thinks Major Montserrat suspects Major Javallera.

Food is really getting short here. The stuff we get twice a day is not enough and if things continue as they are, we will all lose at least thirty pounds each. I am now 135; pre-war I was 150.

Fred and Leonie think we should let a couple of days pass. The three of us always stick together because we are the lowest ranking officers in this outfit.

Raid again. Must go to dug-out.


January 20, 1942

HQ, Intelligence Service

Bataan

 

Can’t go to Corregidor. Too much bombing. Jap planes flying above all day. Spent morning and afternoon in dug-out. Missed ‘brunch’ due to strafing. Movement of cars and trucks paralyzed. Planes dive at any moving object. No cooking because Japs might spot HQ due to smoke.

Transmitters from operatives in enemy-territory confirm presence of many newly arrived planes to intensify and accelerate Bataan offensive.

Bad news: several agents crossing Bay with transmitters apprehended by Jap patrol boats. Other bancas not noticed by Japs. The General will ask our mosquito boats to escort agents in future.

More bad news: Corpses of our ‘spies’ who crossed Bay from Camachili left by Japs in our beach defense. Bodies badly mangled, wrists tied with rope, bayonet wounds on stomach. One of the operatives was wearing Fred’s blue shirt.

When the General heard this report, he was very gloomy. He said: “Ours is a hard job. Espionage is the science of foul play. We are the eyes and ears of USAFFE. Spies are the soldiers of darkness. We shall honor those dead in our hearts. But we cannot publicly honor them –yet.”

Guerrero suggested arming operatives with grenades. “They can carry it in their pockets,” he explained. “In case they feel they have been spotted, the can throw it at Japs,” he pointed out.

One half of our officers are sick either with malaria or dysentery. Those of us who can still walk around must now do double work.

Prayed a lot during bombing. Fred said: “There are no Atheists in fox-holes.” I think that is a very deep statement.

Raid again. Lookout says “Hundreds of planes…”


January 19, 1942

HQ, Intelligence Service

Bataan

 

Report of operatives on general trend of affairs in Manila: Japs have enforced martial law in City. Death penalty to be imposed on anyone who inflicts or attempts to inflict injury on any Jap. If assailant or attempted assailant cannot be found, ten influential persons who live near vicinity of crime will be held as hostages. Jap military notes are now in circulation but peso and even dollar is still recognized. Many persons have been seen tied to posts and made to face sun for violation of traffic rules. Everybody must bow before Jap sentries. Failure to do so means five or six slaps on face regardless of age or sex. Not many abuses committed against women in city but in provinces many cases of rape. Many cars commandeered by Japs and all car owners required to register names in Jap headquarters. Markets are open but prices of foodstuffs slightly increased. Japs have permitted religious freedom but have controlled radio and all newspapers and magazines. Americans and Britishers have been concentrated in Santo Tomas Camp. Mayor Jorge Vargas has been recognized by Jap High Command. Japs have agreed to recognize status and authority of peace-and-order officials; protect life and property; recognize existing laws and orders as well as customs and usages, excepting those incompatible with new situation. Curfew has been placed at 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. everyday. Japs reported laying plans for establishment of civil administration run by Filipinos under an executive commission. Meeting of Filipino officials regarding this matter held in Yulo residence. Filipino high officials inclined to cooperate with Japs “for welfare of Filipinos”. General attitude of political bigwigs is to “do business with Satan”, “make the best out of a pretty bad situation.” Jorge Vargas may be made head of Executive Commission.

Condition in provinces quite different from City. Japs have abused women. In Calumpit even women in family way were not spared. In Pampanga towns especially where some soldiers were killed, Japs retaliated by torturing farmhands, burning houses, abusing women. Sakdals are acting as informers for Japs but in many cases Sakdals point innocent people to merely satisfy personal grudges. Meanwhile, communists have taken opportunity to settle grievances with landlords in the absence of law enforcement agencies. Many landlords have been subjected to humiliations, others murdered. Looting abounds but this exists not merely in provinces but also in Manila. Transportation has become an acute problem. Trains are strictly for the military but lines in many parts are still under construction. Most bridges have already been repaired by Jap engineering corps. Japs have limited supply of gasoline and have ordered everybody to surrender their gasoline cans. Manila folks use calesas and carromatas as means of transportation. Street cars are functioning. Young people ride in bikes.

Fred Castro is now deciphering military reports. Jap Commander-in-Chief is Lt. Gen. Masaharu Homma. He is personally directing attack on Bataan. Only his representative confers with Filipino officials. Not even Mayor Jorge Vargas knows name of Commander-in-Chief. Japs keep it a big secret. Estimated number of Japs attacking Bataan over half a million. Japs landing troops in Lingayen and Aparri. Small port being built in Aparri. Operatives are presently trying to get pictures of Jap ‘zero’ fighter, reported one of the best in the world. This fighter is light and very maneuverable. Japs have sacrificed ‘armoring’ for ‘speed’ and ‘maneuverability’.

Japs are exerting every effort to bring life in Manila back to normalcy. They want stores opened and employees to return to office. All these, of course, under strict military surveillance. But attitude of Filipinos is one of “waiting”, “passive resistance”. They criticize “collaborators” praise those “who stay at home’. They expect USAFFE back “in a month’s time” when “the big, big convoy arrives”. Almost everybody listens to and believes Voice of Freedom. Some who were caught listening to Voice of Freedom have been shot. But many continue listening despite great risks. News is also spread thru little typewritten notes carrying USAFFE communiques or radio broadcasts from San Francisco. Japs have arrested many suspects but news dissemination continues. It is not an uncommon sight to see groups of men talking in whispers about what Radio San Francisco says. At night, roar of artillery in Bataan audible and people begin to think “perhaps they are already around Pampanga.”

In staff meeting this evening the general said that outposts of intelligence service have been organized in strategic provinces of Luzon. Transmitters have already been installed but these have to be moved from time to time because Japs have localizers. “It’s too bad,” he said, “we don’t have carrier pigeons.”

I will bring report on political and economic situation to Commonwealth Officials in Corregidor tomorrow.

All officers in HQ have asked me to buy them cigarettes in Rock. Some of the boys have started smoking ‘papaya’ leaves in lieu of Camels and Chesterfields. I’m glad I’m not a cigarette addict.

I can hear Gen. de Jesus shouting at the phone right now. He is talking to Bat 102, that’s Corregidor. Apparently, they are having a hard time hearing each other.

Leonie and Fred had a discussion after supper, regarding opening of prostitution houses in City. Leonie believes it is immoral. He maintained the strict Catholic attitude regarding prostitution. Fred considered it a bad necessity under present circumstances. Other officers joined in argument. The doc believes “prostitutes will save our wives and sisters”. Somebody stated “This will only make them ask for more and more.” Fred asked my opinion. I said: “Prostitution is never justified but I certainly wish, pray, none of our women become victims of abuses.”

Can hear a plane. It is flying low.

 

(later)

 

The latrine in this Command Post is now named “MUSICAL HALL” because most of the boys have diarrhea due to the salmon. Fred calls it “Perfume Dept.” Why not “Lizar branch”?