At 5 o’clock in the afternoon the honorable president received a verbal report from two officers coming from Mount Tila, to the effect that the Americans had taken all our trenches in Tila; that General Pilar had been killed by being shot through the head; that other soldiers had also been killed; and they, the officers, were sure the Americans must be in Angaqui at this very hour. According to the statement of the officers, General Pilar died at 10 o’clock a.m.
At 8 p.m. the honorable president, his retinue, and the remaining troops marched out of Cervantes and started for the Cayan settlement, reaching there at 12 o’clock midnight, and immediately going on toward Tadian. At this last-mentioned place we took a direction toward Bagnen.
At every step we found the mountains getting higher and the cold more chilling. It was 3 o’clock in the morning. A strong wind was blowing. The cold becoming more and more intense was penetrating almost to our bones. Our skins had become dead to feeling and our lips drawn and purple from cold. We traveled on over the precipices, which each moment seemed to get deeper because we were getting higher and higher. The first rays of the sun shone dimly in the east and night bade us farewell; but the intensity of the cold was the same.
We never halted in our journey. At 6 o’clock in the morning we could make out the settlement of Bagnen, and one hour later we arrived there.
The General has given me a Platoon of available men and has ordered me to defend this pass. I am aware what a difficult task has been given to me. Nevertheless, I feel that this is the most glorious moment of my life. I am doing everything for my beloved country. There is no greater sacrifice.
I have a terrible premonition that the enemy will vanquish me and my valiant men; but I die happy fighting for my beloved country.
At 6 o’clock this morning General Pilar requested the honorable president to let him visit the trenches located on Mount Tila. The general immediately mounted his horse and started for the mountain, 1,300 meters high. At 10 o’clock that night he sent the honorable president a report, informing him that from Mount Tila he saw the enemy as they were entering Conception.
When Aguinaldo confirmed my fears that something serious could happen to the campaign because it was not known under what plans we were going, the President reassured me by saying that Del Pilar had planned everything and had provided for any eventuality, and that it was Del Pilar who was responsible for said campaign. Rifle shots rent the air. Colonel Sityar informed Aguinaldo and Del Pilar about this, but Del Pilar, laughing, told him, “Colonel, you confuse rifle shots with noise produced pounding rice.” This remark somewhat troubled Colonel Sityar who told me within earshot, “If only the General were accustomed to hearing rifle shots.”
On the following day, I inquired whether or not the officers of my brigade had been presented to the President, and Del Pilar, with signs of satisfaction, led me to one of the rooms and said to me: “There they are –they are being held incommunicado as a result of an investigation which I am conducting on orders of the Captain General.”
As soon as everybody was in front of my headquarters, General Del Pilar separated from us and ordered his men to surround my headquarters. He posted four sentry guards each in front of all the offices. He changed my guards with members of the Presidential Guard and then presented himself to Aguinaldo inviting him to go upstairs with him. Once upstairs, Aguinaldo and Del Pilar held a secret conference. I was later subjected by Aguinaldo to an interrogation about an alleged conspiracy which he said had been planned against him.
The cutter McCollouch arrives in Manila from Hongkong, bringing aboard Emilio Aguinaldo with other [revolutionary] heads who sailed for that place last December. Aguinaldo’s story, as reported in the Daily Press of Hongkong is as follows. Hoping to take advantage of the Spanish-American war, Aguinaldo went to Saigon to confer with some of his associates, and on 21 April he proceeded to Singapore to seek the counsel of an Englishman named Award [sic for Howard] W. Bray who had been in the Philippines for ﬁfteen years, Aguinaldo revealed his plan for an independent Philippines, offering to rally his countrymen against Spain if the United States
promised to recognize her independence. His justification was Spain’s failure to carry out the conditions under which the peace treaty between the Spanish government and the revolutionary leaders had been signed
last 14 December. According to Aguinaldo, these conditions were: (1) expulsion or secularization of the friars or religious orders and their inhibition in matters of civil administration, (2) general amnesty for all the rebels with guarantees for their personal safety against the vengeance of the Spaniards on returning to their towns. (3) radical reforms to extirpate abuses in the civil and military administration, (4) freedom of the press to be able to denounce corruption among the officials, (5) representation in the Cortes, and (6) abolition of the iniquitous system of secret judgments of exile for suspected political crimes. These conditions, according to Aguinaldo, formed the base of the peace treaty of last 14 December. But someone who saw and copied the treaty certiﬁed there were no such conditions, except a note which read: “The government shall attend to the just grievances of the natives without prejudice to the country’s progress.” Bray and Mr. Pratt, the American consul in Singapore received with joy Aguinaldo’s suggestions, and on 24 April the three had a meeting, in the presence of Leyva, Aguinaldo’s secretary, Gregorio Hilario del Pilar, and Marcelino Santos. Various telegrams were exchanged between Mr. Pratt, Commodore Dewey who then was in HongKong, and the Washington government. When that government accepted Aguinaldo’s proposition, the latter with his companions left for Hongkong on 26 April. When he arrived in Hongkong, the American squadron was already in the waters of Manila. Aguinaldo regrouped all his companions, except two, and in the first trip there of the cutter McCollouch, he boarded it with them and today he arrived in Cavite. Some Hongkong dailies of the 13th of this month carry a proclamation by Aguinaldo whose principal points are the following: (1) the interior affairs of the independent Philippines have to be settled at a conference of Europeans and Americans; (2) this foreign intervention in the Philippine government must not be confused with the protectorate under the United States exercised temporarily on the same bases as those intended for Cuba; (3) the judiciary shall be composed of Europeans; and (4) complete freedom of worship.
We proceeded to the caves of Montalban, making our way over enormous white rocks bathed with crystalline waters coming from a spring which sang along its way. We saw small fishes playing on the river. We entered the cave carrying torches. We failed to reach the farthest end of the cave because of its distance. It is said that an Englishman went around the cave for four days without having reached its farthest end. We planned to go through the Pasig River, but we feared that the enemy might discover us. Thus, we preferred to wait for the weapons which were expected from Imus. We decided to return to Makabod passing through Santo Cristo and spending the night in Pala-pala. From Pala-pala we went to Garay. We separated in Banaban. Our group then proceeded to Matiktik, and from Matiktik to Kakaron, from Kakaron to Pitpitan, and from Pitpitan to Paombong.
A lamentable accident. Our respected leader Dimabungo (Eusebio Roque) was betrayed by his own men. For that reason, we immediately returned to our hometown. Our conscience did not permit us to still remain in that place among those so-called brothers. On the 13th we stayed at the riverbank, near Pitpitan, to recover our strength. We received word that Dimabungo, his body tied, was brought to Bulacan. The three of us (i.e., Del Pilar’s brother, brother-in-law and himself) were tempted to rescue him from the enemy, but this was impossible; three hundred men guarded him. May our leader forgive us; but we shall avenge him while a breath of life remains in us.
We arrived in Binakod on January 18. We proceeded to Paombong on the 19th, where we found the family of my friend Clemente V. On the 22nd we had a minor skirmish with the enemy in Binakod. On the 24th and the 25th the enemy still threatened our batteries. On the 26th, we started our march towards Imus, passing through Pintong Saplungan, Banaban (Angat), and Lawang (Garay). We spent the evening of the 28th in Pintong Pala-pala (Garay). On the 31st, we resumed our march crossing the mountains and plains of San Jose, until we arrived at Makabod, where we spent the night.