September 14, 1945, Friday

Visit of family. I saw Victor, my new grandson, son of Paddy and Lily, for the first time.

Since my arrival, I had been conferring with the detainees of Muntinglupa and getting impressions. All seem to be very disappointed. They do not understand how we could be traitors. Even old Don Miguel Unson was bitter. All agreed that we should get together to protect our rights and to vindicate ourselves.

We who came from Iwahig continued to meet and comment on the different events and news. We were somewhat depressed. We were beginning to have the impression that some of those assuring us of their support are not really working for us. We even suspect that for political or personal reasons they preferred and wished that we remain in jail for a longer time or that our cases be prolonged.

There were two events that disheartened us very much. One is the case of Representative Veloso. He was about to be released and he announced to us his intention to take his seat in the House immediately. We tried to persuade him not to do so. But he insisted. He said that he had already talked to the majority of the Representatives. Apparently, his friends had forsaken him. The house refused to seat him. They set the precedent that he must first be cleared by the C.I.C. What a shameful ruling! Each House is the sole judge of the right to seat of its member. Why should they make it depend upon the discretion of another entity, especially one which is non-Filipino? The House should not allow anybody to interfere in the exercise of its constitutional right. Veloso announced that he would publish the names of collaborators now sitting in Congress and that he would go to the United States to to fight his case. He will make things worse.

The other is the cablegram to Pres. Osmeña of Secretary Ickes of the U.S. Department of the Interior, in effect it warns that the rehabilitation aid would depend upon whether the “collaborators” would be vigorously prosecuted and convicted. Osmeña answered that his administration is taking proper action. He said that proper machinery to handle the matter is being organized. He added that he even disregarded the legal provision that nobody can be detained for over 6 hours. There is quite a speculation as to why Ickes sent such a cablegram. The concensus of opinion is that it was the result of the campaign of Confesor, Cabili, Kalaw and Romulo. Ickes cannot possibly take personal active interest in an affair which is small in so far as the American people are concerned. Ickes’ cablegram was followed by several editorials and publications in the United States against “collaborationists.” The suspicion about the activities of Confesor and others in this connection comes from the statement of Col. Peralta, the guerrilla hero who has just returned from the United States, to the effect that Confesor and others go from one newspaper office to another to give news against the “collaborationists”. These people are certainly doing a lot of harm to the Philippines. The truth is that there is practically no pro-Japanese element in the Philippines. The Japanese themselves found this out, although too late. And yet Confesor and others would make the American people believe that there are many Filipino pro-Japanese and among them are counted many of the outstanding Filipinos who in the past or during the American regime occupied the most responsible positions in the government. I believe Confesor and others at heart do not believe that we are traitors to our country and pro-Japanese or disloyal to America. Their only aim is to prejudice Roxas who is disputing the presidency with Osmeña. So that we are being made the football of politics. We are being the victim of political intrigue and machinations. This gives one an insight of the evil of politics. Because of it, the most rudimentary principles of justice and fairness are trampled upon.

The cablegram of Ickes was received with disappointment and disgust by free loving Filipinos. The “collaborationists” issue is a matter that should be left to the Philippine Government to handle without interference on the part of the United States government officials. This gives us an indication of what we may expect if we are not given complete and immediate independence. Furthermore, why should the rehabilitation aid to which our country became entitled because of loss of hundreds of thousands of lives and more than a billion worth of damages as our contribution to this war, be made to depend upon a handful of supposed “traitors”? Why should our country be punished for the guilt of a few, who some Americans consider as “renegades”?

The answer of Osmeña was equally disappointing. It was weak and subservient. He should have resented the uncalled for and untimely interference. He should defend the rights and prerogatives of his government as we did when we fought General Wood for undue interference in our powers. He should resent the insult to him when Ickes seemed to presume that his government would not do what is right. Some remarked that this is just as “puppet” a government as the Republic during the Japanese occupation. It was an opportunity for Osmeña to make a stand to show that he means to govern this country.

There is another event worth mentioning. Habeas corpus proceedings were started in the Supreme Court for the release of one of the detainees. The Court decided against the petition on the ground that the war is not yet over. There was a brilliant dissenting opinion by Justice Ozaeta. It was a great document. He was for the maintenance and preservation of man’s constitutional libertarian rights.

* * * * *

            Our release began the very day we arrived in Muntinglupa. Saturday, September 8th, Minister Alunan and Gen. Francisco were released after giving the required bail. The next day, Yulo followed. Two days afterwards, Sison and Sebastian were released. There were rumors that Recto and I were to be released next. We had been informed that our papers were ready in Solicitor General Tañada’s office. Everytime one leaves, those left behind felt very sad.

We, members of Congress, had various meetings, once with Roxas. There was a proposition to write a letter to the Senate stating that we would not assume our positions in the Senate until after proper investigation and requesting such an investigation. It was written upon the suggestion of Roxas. But we decided not to take our seats until after our complete exoneration. I think this is a wise decision. We cannot do anything anyhow as we will be tied up on account of our cases. Besides, it will be embarrassing for us when questions involving our case or our relationship with the United States or Japan come up.


June 27, 1945 Wednesday

A Colonel, Assistant Chief of the U.S. Military Police, came and inspected us today. He stopped in front of me and asked me two questions. “Are you comfortable here?”, he asked. I somewhat hesitated before answering, “Yes, under the circumstances.” What I really meant was that in view of the fact that we were prisoners, and because of the lack of facilities, the comfort that we have is all that could possibly be given. But we are not satisfied. Evidently, the Colonel understood me as he repeated “under the circumstances.” His next question was, “How is the food?” I answered, “It is sufficient in quantity, but it is not the kind of food we want. We prefer not to eat canned foods. What we want are fresh fish, meat and vegetables. We also would like to have rice. This is the kind of meal we eat as Filipinos.” He then turned to our Colonel Superintendent and asked him how they could be obtained. He even talked about fishing. Turning to me again, he said that rice is pretty hard to obtain; there is a scarcity of rice even in Manila and it costs very much. When he passed by Paredes and he was told that Paredes was our spokesman, he asked Paredes to see him. Jokingly he added, “not by motor car.” Paredes went to see him at 2 o’clock and returned after two hours. He immediately gathered us together to make a report.

Paredes said the Colonel talked to him about giving us better food, allowing us to bring food in, allowing us to have our laundry done outside the camp, etc. The Colonel said that he came precisely to investigate our living conditions and he will see what can be done. When asked about our petition to MacArthur, he said that it passed through him and he passed it on to the General Staff. Whether it reached MacArthur or not, he did not know.

Paredes then talked about our case. He explained that we had not been sentenced nor have we been informed of the charges against us. We believe that we have not done anything to deserve imprisonment. He mentioned some specific cases, like Bayan who is merely a technical man; that of Yulo, who supported two guerillas and gave information to the U.S. Army about what he saw in Manchoukuo which had been used by the U.S. Army to its advantage. Paredes asked that we be released; if that was not possible, that we be brought back to Manila and given limited freedom; and if this was still not acceptable, that our conditions here be improved. Here we are worse off than the criminals with long term sentences as they are allowed to go around the Colony, while we have to remain inside the stockade.

The Colonel said that he fully sympathized with us, but it was not within his power to grant our request. But he believes something will be done soon since Congress seems to be very interested in us. He reported that one day the House was discussing the matter of the collaborationists issue and the discussion became so heated that the public was excluded and the doors closed. The Colonel said that the C.I.C. was supposed to have investigated us, and after sentencing we were turned over to the Military Police. Paredes reiterated that none of us had been duly investigated and, consequently, we could not have been sentenced. The Colonel then said that probably the reason was that we were merely under protective custody to save us from persons who might want to kill us. Paredes said that he would be willing to bet that anyone of the officer class here could travel from one end of the Philippines to the other without being molested. Paredes said that they probably are not aware that in placing us under protective custody we are really being punished. When we are left “incommunicado”, we are punished; when we are separated from the family, we are punished; and when we are made to eat food that we are not used to eating, we are punished.

The Colonel said that the Military Police did not know anything about the merits of our cases; that MacArthur ordered that after action by the C.I.C, we be turned over to the Military Police; that they were given 48 hours by MacArthur within which to take us to Iwahig. This is probably the reason why we were shipped in a freighter where we were herded in a dark and hot hold like cattle. He added that the order is to hold us for the duration of the war.

Discussion ensued as to when the war with Japan, this being the war referred to by the Colonel, would last. The visiting Colonel asserted that it would take about eighteen months, whereas our Colonel here in the camp insists that the war would last only three months. Paredes said that with the way the American Army is fighting and with the bombing of Japan by super-fortresses, the war with Japan could not possibly last much longer.

Paredes and Gen. Francisco who also had a conference with the Colonel, got the impression that everything had been done in accordance with orders from Gen. MacArthur. In connection with our request for transfer to Manila, Paredes suggested that we could be confined in our respective homes, or in another place like the house or “hacienda” of Don Vicente Madrigal in Muntinglupa, or the house of Mr. Bayan in Quezon City. The Colonel took note of the suggestions of Paredes. Chief Yulo, after the report, again expressed his indignation and strongly criticized MacArthur.

A few days ago, all the members of the officer class were transferred to a part of one of the buildings. We are now separated from the enlisted class by a wall made of nipa. But we are in the same compound; we are now very crowded. However, there is no doubt that things have improved. The new administration seems to do everything for us. The Superintendent is Lt. Col. Gilfilan, while the assistant is Lt. Stanley F. Hogenberg, Jr. They are both very kind and considerate and take personal interest in us. The Lieutenant saw to it that we were provided with clothes and shoes. He gave us boxing gloves and other athletic equipment, and dominoes and other paraphernalia for our amusement. He provided instructions for the illiterate prisoners in the camp. Once he asked a young boy whether he went to church. He distributed Catholic books and sacred medals.

The enlisted class was required to work either in cleaning the premises or in preparing the new camp to which we will be transferred. This camp will not be finished until after three months. Sometimes men complain of the treatment accorded to them by the Captain in charge of the construction, compelling them to work even during a rain storm.

Don Vicente Madrigal receives newspapers which we read. Among the news is that Confesor was bitterly attacked in the floor of the House. Representative Borja of Iloilo said that if Confesor had not left for the mountains, he would have been killed for the many abuses he had committed, especially the taking of private property. Rep Rafols also hurled charges against Confesor. Both called him names. The language used must have been terrible as they were ordered stricken off the record. Confesor should resign or ask for an investigation. He should clear himself or leave the service. If the charges are true, his usefulness to the government is over since the people will lose their respect. A government with such officials will be crippled.

The other news is that there seems to be a strong movement to settle the dispute of Roxas and Osmeña for candidacy for President. It was reported that Osmeña may choose not to run if such sacrifice is necessary to effect unity. It is said that Osmeña had done it in the past and he will be willing to do it again. Roxas was expected to do the same. There was an editorial in which the withdrawal of either of them was advocated for the sake of unity. As a precedent, it cited the withdrawal of Rizal in favor of Del Pilar in Madrid; the elimination of Bonifacio and of General Luna; the conciliation of Quezon and Osmeña after the “Collectivitas-Unipersonalistas” fight and the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Bill fight. There was a suggestion for Osmeña to run for President and Roxas for Vice President. The fight seems to be inevitable, but efforts to settle matters should be continued to insure unity for the good of the country.

It is reported that Senators Sa Ramain and Rama had also been detained apparently for being collaborationists, but later released for the purpose of attaining a quorum during the Senate session. I do not know what Rama did; as regards sa Ramain, he had committed acts, such as signing the Constitution, for which others have been arrested and are now suffering imprisonment. Why the discrimination?

There are Senators-elect appointed during the Commonwealth Government who, under the Constitution, forfeited their right to a seat in the Senate for accepting other positions in the government. These are Domingo Imperial, who accepted the position of Justice, Court of Appeals; Roxas, who accepted the position of Colonel and afterwards became General in the Army; Sebastian, who accepted the position of Judge of the Court of First Instance; and Tirona, who accepted the position of Judge of the Court of Industrial Relations. If the four above are eliminated there can be no quorum in the present session of Congress. Already there are reports that the legality of the present Congress or the present session of Congress is being doubted. A lawyer has submitted a memorandum raising that question and Rep. Montejo of Leyte wants the question submitted for legal opinion. If the law is to be strictly adhered to, this question must be determined.

Rumor circulated that the Congress has passed a resolution requesting that we be turned over to the Commonwealth Government before July 15, 1945. An employee in the office of the Colonel happened to glance at a newspaper and he transmitted the news to a colonist, one Mr. Lopez, who came running to our quarters to tell us the news. We hope this will be confirmed. It means that our friends in Manila have not forsaken us. The general belief is that Congress must have some sort of understanding with Pres. Osmeña and Gen. MacArthur, and that after we have been turned over to the Commonwealth, we will be released. Discussion arose as to why the 15th of July was mentioned. One said that the purpose is to prevent us from sitting in the Senate since Congress adjourns on or about the, 15th of July. Another said that they want us to be out before the 15th to enable us precisely to attend the session. Chief Yulo doubts whether Gen. MacArthur would do anything. Furthermore, he opines we cannot be released during the duration of the war in view of the U.S. President’s order, and if MacArthur releases us or turns us over to the Commonwealth, it will have to be declared that a mistake in considering us collaborationist had been committed. MacArthur will not reverse himself or admit he was mistaken. Paredes thinks that the C.I.C. may declare us not guilty, in which case we can be released as we will not come under the presidential order.


June 23, 1945 Saturday

Stock prices receded today. It is said that the Colonel said what he said only to secure our wholehearted cooperation for the success of his administration. Some reported that similar assurance was given in other camps. I do not agree with them. I think the Colonel sincerely believes that we will soon be released, probably because he had studied our cases and he is convinced that there is no sufficient justification for our imprisonment, or because he knows of some facts upon which he has based his opinion.

Our stock is up again. A lieutenant (Filipino) of the Signal Corps, U.S. Army, came and told us that in Manila public opinion is very much in our favor. Gen. Francisco’s wife wrote him that we will soon be released. She did not say upon what she based her opinion.

In the international front, newspapers report that Okinawa has been conquered in its entirety. In the Philippines, it is reported that Aparri was taken, meaning that the Cagayan Valley has been overrun by the Americans. It is believed that the war will soon end.


May 24, 1945 Thursday

Last night, we received the memorandum order of May 15, 1945, providing for the classification of detainees. Therein we are called “limited assimilated prisoners of war”. The order is issued in accordance with the Geneva Convention. We were detained probably pursuant to (g) paragraph 76 of the Rules of Land Warfare adopted to Geneva. According to this provision, “Persons whose services are of particular use to the hostile army or its government, such as the higher civil officials x x x, may be made prisoners of war.” I doubt the applicability of this provision to us. The Philippine Republic during the Japanese occupation not being recognized by America, its declaration of the state of war was illegal and null and void. If so, the Philippines was not only not an enemy, but an ally. This was evidenced by the fact that Filipino soldiers fought side by side with the American soldiers.

The order classifies those in this community into two: those with “Officer Status” and those with “Enlisted Status”. Those belonging to the former are Emilio Abello, Rafael R. Alunan, Sergio L. Aquino, Sergio Bayan, Antonio de las Alas, Francisco C. de la Rama, Guillermo B. Francisco, Vicente Madrigal, Jose Paez, Quintin Paredes, Claro M. Recto, Pedro A. Sabido, Jose G. Sanvictores, Proceso E. Sebastian, Teofilo Sison, Jose Urquico, Jose Yulo and Francisco Zulueta. To the Enlisted Status belong all other detainees in this camp. I repeat that we did not ask for classification to foment class distinction and because we do not want to mix with the other people in the compound some of whom are very poor or very ignorant. We of course would prefer to be in quarters separate from the present compound for the sake of more comfort and sanitation. But if classification does not result in separate quarters, we would have preferred to let things stay as they are. Our companions have been true friends to us. I also admire their spirit of helpfulness. There are many of them who whenever they see us working insist on doing the work. Their attitude is very encouraging. It shows that complete union of the Filipinos can be realized.

One of the main differences between the two classes is that the officer class will not be required to work. The enlisted class may be so required.

I forgot to state that the officer class were former governors, chiefs of bureaus, cabinet members, as well as heads of the military establishment under the Japanese.

In the memoradum order, there is an expressed prohibition for an officer to have a personal servant, and those in the enlisted class are not permitted to act as personal servants to any other individuals confined in the camp. Undoubtedly, this prohibition has been purposely prescribed. We so-called big shots are being charged with using the others as servants or as orderlies. This is of course far from the truth. We have never required anybody to work for us, nor have we requested them to do so. Any service rendered by them has been entirely voluntary and upon their own initiative. They know that we are not used to doing manual labor, and following the Filipino custom and tradition, they insist on doing the work for us. In the provinces, if you have been good to your neighbors they would not allow you to do manual work. I believe this is also the case in the United States and everywhere else. The leaders are supposed to do the intellectual work, the manual labor being performed by those not prepared for the intellectual and technical work. Nevertheless, we insisted in doing manual work. Even Chief Justice Yulo and the millionaire Vicente Madrigal had to take a broom and sweep.

In accordance with the memorandum order, all detainess had to elect a spokesman. He is to act, not only as liaison officer, but as the representative of the detainees in presenting their grievances and complaints. We elected for the position Speaker Quintin Paredes, a very able and worthy man for the position. We virtually have constituted him the leader of the officer class.

The enlisted detainees also had to elect one group leader for every 250 men. For this position, they elected Dr. Hilario Camino Moncado. Both elections will have to be approved by the commanding officer of the camp. Unfortunately, the men belonging to the enlisted class have not been taking the matter very seriously. They joke a lot about it, and I am afraid this time they’ve gone too far. They held an election for assistant leader, although the memorandum order did not provide for such position. The joke was that they put up as candidate a man called Tony, who had been acting as a sort of leader or boss, to run against a man by the name of Cuaresma, who is mentally retarded and physically deformed. Tony had been a good and strict leader, but he lost to Cuaresma who obviously could not be a leader. Naturally, this action irked and angered Tony and now there are division quarrels among them and complete disorganization. Dr. Moncado could not control them; he has resigned.

* * * * *

I must preface the following discussion by stating that we have reached very definite opinions on certain points: that because of the improper, brutal and even uncivilized conduct of the Japanese in the Philippines, the Filipinos cannot be for the Japanese and will hate them for generations to come; that there is no comparison between the Americans and the Japanese, and if we had to choose between the two, we certainly would vote for the Americans 100%.

But although comparison is odious, we would like to compare the treatment accorded by the Japanese to government officials, and the treatment now being accorded us by the Americans. When the Japanese came they did not arrest nor even molest the Filipino officials. On the contrary, the Japanese offered them the government. The Filipinos were of course reluctant to even consider it. But when they saw that the people were suffering because of abuses on the part of the Japanese soldiers, they accepted believing that they would then be in a position to help and save their countrymen. They discovered later that they could do little.

Worthy of mention also in this connection is that, after a very short detention during which they were given what the Japanese called “rejuvenation course”, our officers and enlisted men in the USAFFE were released.

Whenever we compare this treatment with that being shown to us now, we cannot help but express indignation. We are very bitter. We have been arrested, deported and imprisoned. According to announcements it will be for the duration of the war. What makes it very painful is that we had all been staunch supporters of America before the war; that from the beginning we had prayed fervently for the return of the Americans and for the victory of the United Nations who, we were told, were fighting for individual liberty, for democracy and the right of small nations to continue their independent existence. Being a liberty loving people, the Filipinos wholeheartedly supported America to the extent of sacrificing the flower of our youth. (About 100,000 young men died in Bataan and other places).

What makes it very painful is that we did not have the least intention of serving the Japanese; our sole purpose was to serve our people. At the very first opportunity, we travelled over steep and almost impassable mountains, rivers and ravines to reach the American lines, and we had never experienced such happiness, forgetting our fatigue and sacrifices, as when for the first time in over three years we saw an American soldier. Now these same people that we have waited for so long have arrested and placed us in a penitentiary. What a disappointment! What a paradox!

Today, a Colonel from Manila came for inspection. He went through the premises and left apparently satisfied. But he said something in a very emphatic way which indicates the belief they entertain about us. He said that we must not attempt to communicate anything by any means, such as codes, marks, figures, etc. Their censors are experts and our attempt will be discovered. We are afraid they take as all for spies and traitors.

There was blackout tonight. But no enemy planes appeared. The blackout lasted for only a few minutes so it might have been just an air raid practice. Japanese planes have almost all been destroyed and it is just unthinkable that any of them could reach Palawan especially in view of the fact that they seem to need all their planes somewhere else.


May 17, 1945 Thursday

It is rumored that Gen. MacArthur is coming on the 20th. We do not know the purpose of the visit. But we shall see.

I had considered Minister Jose Paez as one of those absolutely content with his lot. Being a quiet man, he has never been heard to complain. In my conversation with him today, I found that he is resentful of the treatment accorded to us. He believes that there was deceit in that we were not told at all that we were going to be arrested, detained and deported. The Americans ignored the idiosyncracies and customs of the Filipinos; we were not given any opportunity to see our families or, as in his case, to see whether they had left Tubao for Manila, and if so, where they lived in Manila. The Americans do not know the attachment of a Filipino to his family.

Chief Justice Yulo has been sick during the last few days. He has not been going to the mess hall. We all believe that the only thing the matter with him is he worries too much and broods constantly. He just cannot understand why he should be detained and deported after his attitude of defiance against the Japanese which almost cost him is life and after he had served the cause of America.

I do not mean to make this a “Who’s Who”. But there are other personalities, characters and persons in this community of which special mention must be made.

The first is Don Vicente Madrigal, reputed to be the richest man in the Philippines. He was a schoolmate and one of the most intimate friends of Quezon and Osmeña. In fact, they used to confide in him their innermost secrets. From a humble beginning as a coal dealer, he became the coal king of the Philippines, controlling the greater portion of the coal business. He later expanded his business to almost every branch of business endeavor. He became a shipping magnate, a large scale merchant, a manufacturer (cement and sugar), an agriculturist, etc. His name was connected with almost all the big businesses in Manila. In recognition of his rise in the business world, he was elected president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce many times. He became a real tycoon. Pres. Quezon recognized his ability, and although he knew that Don Vicente loathed politics, he compelled him to be a candidate for Senator in 1941. He was elected, but the war came and he was not able to occupy his seat. During the Japanese regime, he was a member of the Organization Committee of the First Council of State, the preparatory committee for Philippine Independence which drafted the Constitution of the Philippine Republic and the Planning Board. Probably more will be heard of Don Vicente when the rehabilitation period comes. It will be a crime not to make full use of his experience and unquestioned ability.

There is another person of an entirely different type. He is a notorious character. He is Francisco C. de la Rama, alias Francisco Concepcion, alias Francisco Angeles, and now F.C. or Frank. His admirers call him “Don Paco”. I tried to avoid mentioning him as I do not care to talk about the bad side of anybody, especially those who, like De la Rama, are with us and who do their best to comfort and help us. But today he himself told us his whole story. He misappropriated funds belonging to Bachrach & Co. while he worked for them as a sales agent in the Bicol region. His picture was at one time posted throughout the Philippines for having been accused of “estafa” by the Gonzaga’s of Negros. A prize of ₱500 was offered for his arrest. He fled to Singapore and to other foreign countries. But he became homesick and returned to the Philippines. He was in hiding in Jolo, in La Union, and in the Ilocos region. Unfortunately for him, he was discovered and arrested everywhere he went. However, he always managed to keep out of jail by bribing the arresting officers. At one time, the very Constabulary officer who arrested him helped him escape to Baguio. It was then the time of the mining boom. He bought over 40 mining claims for ₱200 each and sold them at ₱5,000 each. With this large sum, he was able to settle all claims against him. He then assumed the surname of De la Rama pretending to be the nephew of the big millionaire, Don Esteban de la Rama of Iloilo. Because of his name, he was made Director of a mining company. He was later accused of “estafa” with more than 50 counts against him by the stockholders of the company. He was convicted only on one count and sentenced to one year and eight months, but as he was a recidivist he was given an additional sentence of 10 years. He probably was pardoned because when the Japanese came, he became the foremost “buy and sell” man. He made millions easily in his business with the Japanese Army and Navy. He also became one of the biggest men in the real estate business. His name was heard everywhere. He overshadowed famous names like Madrigal, De Leon and Fernandez. He especially became famous because of his published donations to charity of thousands of pesos. He gave money to the Government for scientific research. He donated a big sum to the “Timbolan” to feed the needy. He made large donations not only to institutions, but also to individuals. It is said that upon his arrest, a big demonstration of laborers was staged demanding his release. He is now with us. He has been very helpful to everybody. He seems to have been able, by his usual means, to elicit the good side of the guards and, for this reason, we are now able to receive things from the outside and to send out anything. He is still young and if hereafter he becomes careful with his conduct, he may still be a real power in the business world, being an intelligent and able man.

There is a real personality in our group. I am referring to Major Gen. Guillermo B. Francisco. This is the highest rank that has ever been attained by a Filipino in the U.S. Army. In 1908, he was one of the first graduates of the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio. He rose from the ranks. In each province where he was assigned, he left a record for efficiency and wise and impartial enforcement of the law. He could not be bribed nor influenced by politicians. For this reason, politicians in some provinces molested him by presenting unfounded and absurd complaints. He was Chief of Staff of the Constabulary for many years. In 1936, he received his just and well merited promotion to Brigadier General. From 1938 to 1941, he was Chief of the Philippine Constabulary. Just at the beginning of the war in Dec. 1941, he was promoted to Major General and continued as Chief of Constabulary, which afterwards became a division of the Philippine Army. Upon the induction of the Philippine Army into the U.S. Army, he naturally became a Major General in the U.S. Army. As such he also had to retreat to Bataan where he was placed in charge of a very important and strategic sector. He acquitted himself very creditably. While there he was ordered by Gen. Wainright to go to different places for pacification. Believing that it was for the interest of his country to maintain peace and order, he did his best to comply with the instruction of Gen. Wainright. When Bataan surrendered, the Japanese placed him in the concentration camp at Camp O’Donnell. He was later transferred to Camp Stotsenberg where he with hundreds of other captured USAFFE officers were required to finish a rejuvenation course prescribed by the Japanese. He was returned to Camp O’Donnell where the Japanese requested him to organize the Government Employees Training Institute for the rejuvenation of public employees. And so he was released.

His stint with the training institution was cut short by his appointment as Chief of Constabulary with the rank of Major General. But this too did not last long because the Japanese did not trust him. He was relieved as Chief of Constabulary. The Japanese were right as his sympathies were with the guerrillas; as a matter of fact, he did not take action against Constabulary men who deserted and joined the guerrillas. He had even formulated plans to convert all the Constabulary to guerrillas when the proper time came.

After his relief, Pres. Laurel made him Chairman of the Advisory Board for Peace and Order. The President in doing so only wanted to save the General as he knew that the Japanese would otherwise arrest him and kill him. Together with Generals Manuel Roxas and Capinpin, he was forced to go to Baguio and there subjected to a very close surveillance. They assigned a Japanese Military Police to watch him. He was very anxious to rejoin the U.S. Army so that at the very first opportunity, he escaped from Baguio to go to the territory occupied by the Americans and present himself to them. He reached the American lines in April. Almost immediately after his arrival he was taken to Manila and there detained. He was subjected to the humiliation of photographing and fingerprinting. He was so indignant that he wept. He was later deported to Iwahig Penal Colony and is still with us. He is terribly bitter. He said he cannot understand why when the Japanese got him, he was put in a concentration camp and now that the Americans are here he is also imprisoned. Gen. Francisco is only 60 years and much more will be heard of him.

There is another person I would like to mention. He is Mr. Esteban Marcelo, an old man probably in his seventies. He is the biggest fisherman or fish dealer in Tondo. He is a friend of many big and influential public officials, especially Minister Paredes. Before the war, he frequently inivited high officials for a fish dinner at his house. During the Japanese regime, Japanese Military Police were seen quite a number of times eating dinner at his house. Such an act is now being considered as cooperation and for this reason he is now with us.

We have one military governor of a district and that is Hon. Sergio Aquino. We have also one provincial governor, Mr. Jose Urquico. Aquino is the Military Governor for the Third District and Urquico the Governor and later the Deputy Military Governor of Tarlac. They were accompanied by a young man by the name of Rafael Aquino. Why were these Military Governor and Provincial Governor singled out when there were so many military and provincial governors? And why was Rafael detained since his arrival in the Philippines from Japan, when he is only a boy without any record of service to the Japanese? Probably, there are other governors who have cooperated more actively and effectively than Aquino and Urquico. The only explanation that could be found is that Sergio Aquino is a relative and brother-in-law of Benigno Aquino, Sr.; Jose Urquico is also a brother-in-law of Benigno. Benigno Aquino was Speaker of the National Assembly and as such he was the second man in the Philippine Government officialdom. He is known to be the most rabid pro-Japanese. He had made many virulent speeches against America and the Americans. He is considered even more Japanese than Pres. Laurel himself. He went to Japan with Pres. Laurel and we can now almost surmise what would have happened to him if he had stayed in the Philippines.


December 1, 1942

Quezon thinks Admiral Leahy arranged for the occupation of North Africa, but when he was “recalled” from Vichy he was really getting out before the Nazis could seize him and treat him as a spy.

I was invited to attend the Cabinet meeting yesterday to hear Bernstein explain his plan and program for the new office of “Special Service” (propaganda) which he is organizing for Quezon. It was a one man show. Quezon made a long and rather astute statement to let Bernstein understand that he had changed his mind as to the scope of the undertaking. Bernstein was told to read his plan of organization and was stopped after the opening paragraphs. It was a scheme for a Malay Federation to include the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, Siam and French Indo-China. Quezon explained that if such a scheme were ever proposed, it would have to come from the Javanese, or others of the countries concerned –otherwise it would look as if the Filipinos were reaching out after an empire. Quezon said he would not mind if Java were the seat of government, of such a federated state –but that it was no time to mix in such questions now! Such a move would only provoke ill feelings among allies. Elizalde says that Quezon watches the faces and studies the expressions of everybody in a group which he is addressing and added that Quezon must have noted the strained and worried countenances around him during this very interesting and, perhaps, momentous conversation.

Luncheon with the two United States Army captains, who escaped with extreme hardship from the Philippines in August and made their way to Australia. Splendid chaps: they are longing to get back to fight the Japanese and don’t wish to be sent anywhere else, even to North Africa! One had been in Batangas and one in Mindoro, and tho every Filipino in each of those provinces knew where they were, nobody gave them away to the Japanese. Instead, they sheltered and fed them and gave them the small boat in which they finally got away together. They reported that there are believed to be only 20,000 Japanese in the Philippines now. They stick to their garrisons, or to the big cities, or to the camino real. The Filipino protector of the captain who was in Batangas came and went to Manila whenever he wished. He repeated a conversation with a Japanese colonel who spoke Spanish well: this colonel confessed that the Japanese knew from the beginning that they could not win this war. The two officers agreed that there were many Americans –soldiers and civilians, at large and in hiding in the Philippines.  They said the Filipinos had remained perfectly loyal, but one of them added that he was not sure they would all continue so if the situation were prolonged indefinitely without relief.

Quezon was much gratified to have them say that the Filipinos were perfectly loyal to him, and had not blamed him for his escape from the islands –that they understood the necessity for this. He stated again that when MacArthur pressed him to go to Corregidor, he had resisted and then finally been persuaded. He had sent for General Francisco, who told him that with 1,500 of the Constabulary soldiers he could keep Quezon perfectly safe indefinitely in the mountains of Rizal; he knew every foot of those wild mountains; that if they gave him enough machine guns he could continue to harry the Japanese and inflict great damage on them. MacArthur vetoed this suggestion. Quezon said no Filipino would ever have given his hiding place away. I remarked that they did do so in the case of Aguinaldo and he replied that Aguinaldo had been guilty of great crimes and misdemeanors.

He also remarked that like Governor General Murphy, he had never allowed the death sentence to be inflicted –he hated the idea of putting a man to death in “cold blood”!


May 10,1942

I learned today that even if Gen. Jonathan Wainwright attempted to surrender only Corregidor and the surrounding Fortresses at Caballo, Carabao and El Fraile Island, (Forts Mills, Frank, Drum & James) he was forced by victorious Gen. Masaharu Homma to surrender USFIP all over the Phil.  Accordingly, the hapless vanquished commander issued surrender orders to key USFIP Commanders with the following officers directed to serve said “Surrender Orders,” Lt. Col. Kalakuka USA to Lt. Col. Guillermo Nakar ’32, Comdr. 14th Inf, in Cagayan Valley; Col. Jesse T. Trayvick, Jr. USA to Maj. Gen. W. F. Sharp, CG Vis-Min Forces; and Brig. Gen. Guillermo B. Francisco ’08 to Southern Luzon & Bicol Regions.  These representatives of Gen. Wainwright are accompanied by ranking Japanese officers and provided adequate land and air transportation.

Wainwright’s surrender orders became a favorite topic of private discussions among officers at Malolos POW Camp.  To the question, if you were Col. Nakar, and you received the written order, will you surrender?  I am happy to note that after heated private discussions, all Philippine Military Academy graduates were unanimous in disobeying the order.  Two reserve officers have strong reservations that if they disobey the “lawful order of their superior” they can be liable for court martial later.  It will be interesting to find out how those concerned actually reacted later.

As a lasting tribute to the courageous gunners who manned those big guns at Corregidor and also to immortalize the names of the twenty batteries that fought valiantly against the enemy for 26 continuous days and nights since the Fall of Bataan, here they are in alphabetical order:  Batteries Chenny; Crockett; Cushing; Geary; Gruggs; Hamilton; Hanna; Hearn; James; Kysor; Monja; Maxwell; Morrison;  Ramsay; Rock Point; Smith; Stockade; Sunset; Way; and Wheeler.  My everlasting Salute to both Comrade Gunners and Batteries!


April 10, 1942

Morning came, and we were ordered to stack our guns and disarm. The white flag was raised on top of the highest hill. All Filipino troops in Bataan were going to surrender together. It was already nine o’clock… but still there were no Japs. We knew we were completely surrounded, but they were taking their time.

Some of the boys were crying –Teddy Arvisu, for example. Others were happy. They were glad the fighting was over, no matter how it ended. But the boys were mistaken. It was not all over yet.

Some twenty Americans armed themselves with machine-guns and started firing at the disarmed troops of General Lim. “You dirty cowards!” hollered the Americans. There was a big commotion. Then the desperate group of Yanks machinegunned a Jap observation plane that flew very low to verify the white flag. The plane was almost hit. It came back with a squadron of bombers and they rained tons of death on the unarmed troops. Generals de Jesus and Lim gave me an order that I will never forget. “Buencamino,” said Gen. Lim, “go to the Japanese line… and inform them that there are two Filipino generals here… who are surrending their troops.” I was sore. They were making a trial goat out of me. After having lived through the whole war… I was not in a mood to take anymore chances. How was I to know the Japanese were going to respect the white flag? Besides some ignorant Jap… still furious… might take a pot shot at me. Anyway, orders were orders and I proceeded to comply with it. Oscar saw me… and he embraced me. “I’m going with you,” he said.

We went up the first hill… and there below us… we saw hundred of trucks and cars blocking the road. We had to turn around… to find another route. Just then… I saw Pepito Castillo and Nene Gallaga. They were pale… and panting. “What happened?” I inquired. “Gosh,” said Gallaga, “we were carrying white flags and several Jap patrols machine-gunned us.”

I returned to General Lim. I told him: “I cannot comply with your order. As an officer, I have the right to choose between surrender or not. I do not wish to surrender.” Then Gallaga told General Lim what had happened. Lim understood.

By about eleven o’clock… the Japanese troops arrived. We were informed by them that General King had surrendered. We were disarmed completely, and they told us to walk up to Manila. “You are free because you are Filipinos,” they said. I thought: this is too good to be true. There was a catch… and it didn’t take long before we found out.

We walked together: Ramon, Tony Nieva, Ernie, Willie Jacinto, Paeng Estrada, Fred Castro, Johnnie Fabella, and myself. We carried one can of Carnation milk each and two cans of pork beans. We were told that at Orani we would be given trucks to go to Manila… and we believed them… and thanked them. So we walked on… and on… and on.

The sun was very hot. But we didn’t care. We wanted to get home. Ramon walked with a sweater and blanket wrapped around him. I was sustaining him most of the time. He tried his best not to be a “drag.” Chalito was quite the contrary. He was always complaining of the heat. Every five kilometers we would halt. Ernie gave us pep talks. “Carry on,” he said. “In a few days, we will be with our families.”

The main body of the Japanese forces were walking past us. Their tanks, trucks, cannons, cars, horses, troops rumbled by us. We had to run out of the road, because they didn’t give a damn about running over us. Japanese soldiers started taking our watches and money and canned goods. Some boys were stripped of their shirts. We endured all forms of indignities. After all, they were the victors. A Jap came up to Ramon… and he took of his sweater. We didn’t complain. It was best to be discreet. “Endure everything,” counseled Ernie, “that is the fate of the vanquished.” “After all,” said Tony Nieva, “we are getting off pretty easy.”

We trudged on and on that first day for almost fifteen kilometers. We were very thirsty. “I can’t… anymore,” cried Willie… and he dropped on the ground. We stayed around him… gave him pep talks. “I want a drink of water… even just a drop,” he begged. But there was no water. I pitied Willie… as a he lay there on the ground. We rested for half an hour… and then I made him sling his arm over my shoulders… and we walked on…

More Japanese troops passed by us: haughty, mocking. Some of the soldiers belonging to the 41st div. were commandeered by them. Some were made their servants… slaves.

But our little gang was left alone, thank God. When night came, we slept on a hillside. We were hungry and so for dinner we drank our cans of milk. I was so exhaustedI couldn’t take the prok and beans that Ernie thrust into my mouth. “Take it,” he shouted, “don’t be a fool. You’ve got to eat.”

I slept like a dead man that night. I had no bed, no pillow… just a blanket which Ernie shared. Johnnie was complaining of diarrhea… Ramon said he was getting better… but Tony was shivering. We gave him quinine. Willie Jacinto was pooped out… and Chalito Zamora had cramps. Godo Reyes was the strongest among us.

At about midnight, Ernie woke me up. There were strange cries. There was the voice of a woman, crying, pleading. Then there were other cries –female voices, too– and all had the same “spare-me-please” tone. We couldn’t move. I was tense. Then there were hoarse cries… soldiers… then shots that pierced the night… and the dull thud of bodies.

We woke up very early in the morning -before sunrise. We decided to walk… while it was cool. We rolled our blankets… and we moved towards Little Baguio. “Wish we had ham and eggs!” said Ramon jokingly. Nobody answered. We kept on walking… walking… walking. Finally, we reached Little Baguio. There we had our breakfast: water. The brook in Little Baguio was nice as ever. We filled our canteens and we filled ourselves up. We had a short rest… and we walked again.

On the roadside, we saw a lot of dead bodies, unlucky fellows who died just a few days before the end. There was an awful smell. Some corpses showed signs of torture before death. The wrists and ankles were bound, and the mouth gagged. Others had ugly wounds in their bellies, which proved they had hand-to-hand fighting. Most of the bodies were rotting, and there was no one to even give them a decent grave.

The sun was scorchingly hot by now, and I was getting dizzy with the heat. Tony Nieva was trying hard to walk… despite his malaria. Godo Reyes was still going strong… but I noticed that Ernie was weakening.

Noontime came… but we had no lunch. We just sat under a tree… and stared at each other. I saw a 3-year old girl… sitting beside a bush… crying. Her face was dusty. Where was her mother? I looked around… and in a nearby bush… there was an awful smell. There lay a rigid body, and the torn clothes and the bayonet thrusts on the body told the story. I felt like bringing the child with me… she looked sick and so hungry… but I left the child… without help. I can’t forgive myself. I tried to ease my conscience by saying that thousands of soldiers passed that child also… that many more would see it. I tried to tell myself that the Japanese Red Cross (surely, they probably had a Red Cross) would help the kid. As I walked and walked and walked… the child haunted me. But on the way… there were more such children… some asleep from sheer exhaustion… but still breathing. I carried one out of the curve… because a truck might just rumble over her. Again I felt like bringing the child. I already had her in my arms. But I laid her down alone… under a tree.

We walked on and on till it was dark, and we had no more strength. We found out that hunger does not matter very much… after a while… because your stomach becomes tense. My feet were beginning to hurt me. Ernie had big blisters. Ramon, too. Godo’s feet were bleeding. That night… we slept by a beach.

Before sunrise… we walked again… with nothing but water for breakfast. I saw more suffering. I saw an old man whom we thought dead… trying to say something because his lips were moving. His body was partly covered with mud and flies. His bones were sticking out. There he lay… dying. But we didn’t bother anymore about him. There were too many of them. I also saw a fellow soldier bayoneted by an angry Japanese soldier.He dropped to the ground… and he lay there… looking at us.. begging with his eyes for help… but nobody dared even give him a look of sympathy. I cursed everybody for not helping him… but I should also have cursed myself. I too didn’t dare.

Everywhere victims of catastrophe filled the roadside. Mobs of pitiful figures pleaded for food, begged for water. As we walked on and on and on… I saw more and more desperate-looking faces… smoke-blackened faces… some had bandaged heads and limbs. Then Japanese soldiers would come and start kicking them and having fun at the expense of the wounded soldiers. They would offer water then drop it before them. One man was shot for stealing rice from a parked Jap truck. Thousands slept on the roadside… right in the open… using their little bundles of worldly goods for pillows, and rags and paper for bedding. In every lane, suffering humanity squatted, stood, or lay wherever space was. I thought why don’t Vargas and our leaders do something to help these soldiers? I could not understand. Where were our social workers?

I kept on praying while I walked. More and more of the Japanese troops passed by. We avoided them. More soldiers dropped down out of sheer exhaustion. Ernie and Ramon were going crazy. They had no more water. They kept on looking and looking and asking and asking for water, water, water. They were thirsty, very thirsty. Willie Jacinto was saying “water-water-water” at every step. The routine was breaking my nerves. I shouted at Willie… told him to “Shut up!” He did… and I cried. Then we saw a canal. Instinctively… we all dove into it. there was the dead body of a Negro floating in the stagnant water. But we drank it… and it was good. I took a precaution. I poured a little bit of iodine in my cup. Never did I like my drink more.

Afternoon came… and we rested under a tree. Here, three Americans joined us. One of them –a major– told Ramon: “Say you… move out of there… so I can get the shade.” Ramon didn’t like the way the American said it. The major forgot that the war was over for us at least… and that we were now equal. Ramon got sore, shouted: “I take no orders from American cowards.” The major reddened. “You talk of equality… but when I was in your country… despite my money… I couldn’t dance with your girls.” The American said: “That’s what you give us after fighting for you!” “Whattha hell!” said Tony. “Who’s fighting for whom?” “Why you mutts never even went near the front?”

We left after a few minutes. On the way… I saw Japs kicking Americans sitting on the roadside. The Japanese preferred to hit Americans rather than Filipinos. There were mestizos… who I guess in peace-time… wouldn’t associate with Filipinos… that came to our gang begging to join us… so that they would not be mistaken for Americans. I couldn’t help thinking: “Here were Filipinos, trying to save themselves by the drop of Filipino blood which they were ashamed of all their lives.”

We walked on. Hundreds of thoughts filled my mind. Before Lamao… the fields were full of craters. Hundreds of exposed corpses rotted in the fields. The Japs had concentrated total fire on this area. The fields were sown with unfired grenades, shells, bullets. Here and there were helmets… torn shrapnel… half buried by recent rains that kindly interred the heads to which they were strapped. I saw a Jap stealing the pocketbook of a dead trainee. I saw a Jap officer undress the corpse of an officer in the rain. Walking along, I saw here and there a clenched fist… an arm… a leg.

Lamao… I rested in a shack. Here we found a fellow called De Asis. He told me he was the brother of a friend of mine: Leocadio de Asis. He knew me, but I didn’t know him. He had a wound in his leg. He said he was hit by a grenade. Then we heard the whizzing of shells. More shells mingled with anti-aircraft fire. It was Corregidor. The Japs had started the offensive. “Let’s go,” said Ernie. “Let’s leave Bataan before the Rock shells this place.” So we all stood with one thought in our minds… walk and walk till we get out of Bataan. When we were all ready to start, I noticed De Asis still lying down. “What’s the matter?” I asked. “Never mind,” he said, “I can’t walk anymore. My feet are bleeding.”

It broke my heart to leave him. He tried to make it easy for us. “Go ahead,” he said, “if I were in your shoes… I’d leave you guys, too.” I looked back… when we were nearing the bend… and he was at the window… and he waved at us… and my tears just rolled down. It was every man for himself. What had war done to us?

We walked on and on. A Japanese officer met us. He was kind. He said: “Firipino, Manira; American, imprison.” We were happy. We would be free –at last. We walked on and on… with the thought that each step brought us nearer home.

Finally, we arrived in Orani. This is the neck of the peninsula of Bataan. Here there were many Japanese guards… and we were all concentrated. We were counted, searched. Then we were brought to Balanga –five kilometers away– in a hell of a concentration camp. We were not given food nor water. The men were doing their necessities all over the place. Johnnie laid his blanket on somebody’s manure. It was a hell of a place… but they told us once again: “You will go to Manila.” That was enough for me. I could and would endure anything as long as they brought me home where I can see mama and papa again. I think the same thought kept all of us alive. Maybe if I didn’t have a nice home… I wouldn’t have been able to walk on.

Morning came. Japanese guards woke us up with the butt of their rifles. I slept soundly. When you are tired, you can sleep anywhere, anyway… even in a mud-hole. Others who were too lazy to get up, never got up again. They were bayoneted to death. I have to give thanks that, up to then… not a single Jap ever laid hands on me. I was not robbed of a single cent, altho’ some of my companions were stripped of their watches, fountain pens and money.

We were told to walk again. Lubao was our next destination. Nobody talked of breakfast. It was better not to think of the things you couldn’t have. It only tortured you. Our sentry was kind. He allowed us to fill our canteens with water. We were fresh again. You can’t imagine the refreshing value of water. I felt like I could wak up to Manila. But after three or four kilometers… I was already tired. A few more minutes… and I was dragging my feet. My only consolation was that all my companions were also dragging their feet.

Car after car with Japanese passengers passed by us. Some of the cards belonged to my friends. Ernie shouted: “There’s my Buick!” I asked myself: “Is this Japan’s New Order?” I couldn’t help thinking: there we were –walking, crawling; there they were: riding, smoking. Is this what they called a co-prosperity sphere?

To the right and left of me… I could see fellow soldiers gradually losing strength. Now and then, older soldiers would drop down. Too exhausted. As we approached Pampanga… my heart skipped. At last, we were nearer Manila, nearer home. But that joy lasted only for a moment. I was thirsty… but I was not allowed to drink. A captain who drank anyway was killed. Was it a crime to drink?

We walked and walked… from sunrise to sunset and then till midnight… till dawn… without food, without water. Many dropped. Others dead. Some were killed. It was the survival of the fittest. Some sentries were kind. They would permit us ten minutes rest. Sometimes twenty. They realized that even an animal… a machine… has to rest. Then I would just lie down on the cement roads of Pampanga… and fall asleep because of sheer exhaustion.

Then finally I saw Bacolor. “My hometown,” said Ernie. But the houses were filled with naked men, bald-headed men… men in G-strings. They had even taken the houses. We passed by the church. It was full of boxes, of canned goods. It was transformed into a warehouse. Many men –Filipinos– walked with Japanese flags on their breasts. Houses were flying Jap flags. I thought: only yesterday, these men were waving the American and Filipino flags.

I noticed also that the people were afraid to even greet us…. as if we didn’t go through all this hell because we wanted to fight for them. But that is the irony of life. When you win, you are cheered. But when you are defeated…

But there were also some who dared cry. I do not like tears… but somehow I was happy to see eyes that were swollen and red. But then I hoped there would be no more tears. A woman was bayoneted for crying. But could she help it? Her son was among the group.

Then… in a nipa shack… we saw the family of Ernie. His mother was crying. They gave us bread and eggs. But I was too tired. I couldn’t eat it. The Jap sentry kicked Willie Gonzales out of the way… for handing us food. Ramon asked: is it a crime to eat?

We passed by the Pasudeco. The Japs also occupied it. Ernie said: “I own part of that central… but I can’t even eat a sugarcane.”

San Fernando was in ruins. The big church in the plaza was also converted into a bodega. What was left of the houses, were occupied by Japs. We were all dumped in San Fernando’s cockpit –about 6,000 of us– jammed in that “sabungan” with a capacity for 900. You can imagine how we slept. I was half-seated, half-standing. That’s how I stayed the whole night. Here –at last– I was able to get a glass of water, thanks to Marcial Lichauco. He came over to visit us. Jorge de Leon was with him. I asked Jorge to tell Papa that I was alive and kicking.

Then I succumbed to fever. My temperature was probably around 40… but I felt like I had 50. But I was determined to carry on. In cases like this, one must steel himself and muster his fighting spirit. I could remember Papa’s lecture when I was a high school swimmer in La Salle: “Never give up. Fight to the last lap.”

Early morning, we were told to get up with kicks and butt strokes. We were made to walk to the railway station. There we were dumped in baggage cars. Imagine about 80 dirty, sickly, sweating men… locked in one of those iron baggage cars. There we were… struggling and groping for air. Many fainted. Some were moaning. Others suffocated. Some were trying to break the floors. Others said they were dying. The train chugged on… and on… and on… Oh, why did it travel so slowly? There I was… with two mutts on my stomach… and my head cramped between Godo Reyes’ legs. But I didn’t mind… because there was a little hole… and I could get a whiff of air. I couldn’t help thinking: there are many wonderful things on earth -like the air we breathe- that we take for granted. That was the first time I realized its importance.

At last we arrived in Capas, Tarlac. The door of the baggage car was opened. You ought to have seen the boys breathing in the first whiff of fresh air. You would have thought that was the last time they would breathe!

We marched in fours… to O’Donnell… the concentration camp… where most of us were destined to die. There were thousands of Tarlaqueños at the station. They lined the roadside. They were crying… many of them… men, women, children. They threw bread, rice, sugar, panocha… and everything they could get a hold of. I couldn’t help crying. Every 200 meters they placed cans of water. Here was real Filipino patriotism and kindness. The Japs couldn’t stop them. They shouted: “Heroes! Mabuhay!” Some were looking for their brothers, sons, fathers. A woman asked: “Si Mr. Julian?” When they told her… they didn’t know.. she gave out the food she prepared for him. I couldn’t hold my tears anymore. I just let them roll down my cheeks. Our fight was, after all, not in vain, I thought. At least, here were people that appreciated it. But I tried to control my tears… Because I didn’t want my friends to see me crying. But when I dared look at them… I saw that they were also wiping their eyes. The Japanese guards then gave up the attempt to drive the people away. What they did was to help the civilians give us food. A Japanese guard handed a panocha to me… and he pointed at a pretty girl who took pity on me. For the first time, I realized the truth of Rizal’s words: “No hay verdugos donde no hay esclavos.”

We finally reached O’Donnell.

In a field… facing the headquarters of the American commander… we were made to stand at attention. I was dizzy standing there in the heat… with my fever. Many others were at the point of dropping down… we tried our best to stand straight. General Francisco stood before us… and explained: “the head of this camp will talk to you. Be sure to stay at attention, or you will be shot.”

The Japanese commander arrived. He stood on the platform with an air of arrogance. He said: “I am Capt. Shineyosi. I am head of this camp. If you have no behave, you will be killed. Why you fight Japan? She is your friend. She wants to free the suffering people of Asia. The Asiatics have long been oppressed by the Whites. Now the whiles will be made to suffer…” And at this point, he made a dramatic gesture and pointed at the American prisoners on the other side of the fence. There were the Americans, bent. They were carrying pails of water… fixing the road… building fences. They were being kicked, butt-struck, bayoneted. I saw an old American being carried by two young bearded aviators. I saw many falling down out of sheer exhaustion. I saw Japanese faces laughing at them… kicking and hitting them. I couldn’t help but pity them… although my heart was bitter at the way Americans discriminated racially against Filipinos. These men were not entirely to blame. They were brought up in a stupid atmosphere that made them believe they were superior to the brown man. But there they were –kicked, hit by brown men. It was a picture of racial vindication… but it was also a picture of the heartlessness of war. Why should these few men… be the ones to endure the stupidities of centuries?

I was assigned to Group II and made regimental adjutant in the concentration camp. Col. Abla was our group commander. He gave us a talk: “You have to behave. Only yesterday, three boys were shot for disrespectfulness towards Japanese soldiers.”

Life in the concentration camp was quite hard. Food was scarce. All we had was a ball of rice… as big as your fist, and salt. There was hardly any water. We had to get it from the river. One could take only two cups a day… and it was boiled mud water.

There was an average of about 400 deaths a day. Many soldiers were suffering from malaria, dysentery, and deficiency diseases. The Japs, however, prohibited the Red Cross from helping the sick. If you got appendicitis, for example, it was your tough luck.

There was a hospital, but only in name. It had –to begin with– no facilities: no cotton, no medicine… and not even water. I know because I have seen that many of those who became insane in that hospital could have been saved, if they could have been given just one glass of water. I never saw such a hospital in my life. It was really a morgue… a waiting room where all the sick are piled… there to die and then to be buried.

I got sicker still in camp. Not having had a bath… for almost three weeks… I walked around with a shirt. My shirt was hard with dried sweat and I couldn’t stand my own smell. One morning… when I woke up… I noticed that I had a fever, and I was coughing. Carlos Vergel de Dios, a fellow prisoner, took care of me. He gave me a sponge bath. My fever went down. There I was lying on the floor, with wood for a pillow. I missed mama and my soft bed.

Then the next day… my fever went down to 39 degrees.

Write on Japan and the Japanese… how gradually my mind has changed… asia for the asiatics… banzai!


February 5, 1942 — Thursday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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