I arrived in Calatagan private airfield of EZ after 2 hrs. and 45 min. flight on single engine private plane hired by Tony Escaño Garcia. Met by Governor Joey Laurel –helicopter to Manila– landed on helipad of Intercon. Met there by JSL. Proceeded to Camp Aguinaldo.
Cory and I met at the house of my son, David in our Mandaluyong compound. She announced that she had changed her mind. She was now willing to run under UNIDO! She reiterated her previous offer that I would be her Prime Minister, that she would step down in two years, that I would name 30 percent of the Cabinet, that she would appoint the remaining 70 percent after close consultations with me. I said I would have to think it over and decide before the deadline that night.
At eight o’clock that evening I made up my mind. I called Cory to meet me at the house of Maur Aquino-Lichauco. My two brothers, former Speaker Jose B. Laurel Jr. and former Ambassador Jose S. Laurel III, came with me. I wanted them and Doña Aurora to witness what I would tell Cory. At about ten o’clock, I told her I was giving way to her. She was overwhelmed. When I extended my hand to congratulate her, she held it in both her hands and said, “Thank you, Doy. I’ll never forget this.”
Cory turned to my two brothers and said “I-formalize na ninyo ang ating pinagkasunduan.” But Kuya Pito said, “Hindi na kailangan I-formalize pa iyan. Lalong masakit lamang kung hindi tinupad.”
“Let’s go,” I said, “We have to beat the COMELEC deadline!”
At 6:55 a.m. the convoy came to a halt. After resting for an hour I went with a Kempeitai to cook rice and boil water for lunch. We found a flowing stream about kilometer and a half away. We cooked rice and filled up all the containers with boiling water. I went back alone carrying all the heavy stuff. The path was uphill which made the distance seem like five kilometers! I reached the tend on the hill at 1:25 p.m. dead tired!
We got ready at 7:00 p.m. Reaching a narrow trail, we were told only the cars could pass. Papa, Ambassador Murata, Mama, Dodjie and Maning rode the car, which left at 7:35 p.m. The car was to take them to Kayapa six kilometers away. And then return for Speaker Aquino, Minister and Mrs. Osias, Betty and the two children and my three sisters.
When the car did not return by 9:15 p.m. we all decided to walk. We walked for three hours and covered four kilometers uphill with out heavy load until we finally saw the car. Speaker Aquino and party rode the car while Kuya Pito, Kuya Pepe, General Capinpin and I, together with some of the Japanese soldiers walked to Kayapa two and a half kilometers away.
At 7:25 a.m., the Japanese escort commander signaled us all to stop. The trucks were made to park under the trees and camouflaged with leafy branches. Our resting place was to be on the slope of the hill. Kuya Pito and I had to carry Maning on a stretcher because he had high fever.
Kuya Pito and I cooked rice. We placed too little water at first and had to keep adding water. We added too much water! The rice became lugaw!
We were told we are to travel at night because during the day we might be spotted by the American planes and by the guerrilla. We were to rest during the day. But, then, we had to boil water, cook and do so many things and I am not used to sleeping during daytime. Too bright.
At about 7:00 p.m. the soldiers removed the camouflage branches on the truck. We were on our way. After two hours, the road stated to get narrower. At one point the outer wheel of our truck was dangling over the precipice! A loose stone could mean the end! The soldiers got out and started digging to widen the road as we inched our way forward! Below us was a very steep and deep ravine. I could hear my heartbeat and heavy breathing as we slowly moved on -a meter a minute. After five hours we came upon a high stretch of the mountain trail. It was already daylight.
It is 6:30 p.m. We are ready for the journey. Everyone is tearful. It is very touching. The people we are leaving would have stayed with us to the very end. Now we are leaving them. We may never see them again.
We left exactly 9:25 that evening. We used three cars and four trucks. Papa, Mama, my three sisters and Dodjie used the first car. Speaker Benigno Aquino, Betty and her two boys, Minister and Mrs. Camilo Osias took the second car, Ambassador Murata and his secretary Mr. Masaki, rode in the third. Kuya Pito, Kuya Pepe, Maning and I boarded the third Army truck which also carried our luggage. 40 Japanese soldiers, with their supplies and equipment, used the three other trucks.
How beautiful Baguio was only three months ago -and how badly battered it is now! I asked myself, “Where are we going?” I really don’t know. All I know is that we are heading north, that we are still in the mountain trails of Benguet, and that with all my thick clothes I am shivering from the cold.
Singapore falls. This is bad news. Singapore Naval base was very necessary for refueling of convoy. They will be very depressed in Bataan.
Japs have executed four men for violation of military law. Condemned men are first made to dig graves in Cementerio del Norte and then they are shot in the back.
“Domingo Diesto and two others” according to Tribune “were shot for inflicting physical injuries on person of Jap soldier.”
Pepe Laurel III married Betty Castillo. I wonder what his troops in Bataan will say when they hear this.
Japs in Manila celebrating Singapore’s fall. Saw many drunks, soldiers singing in streets. They have reason to rejoice.
Shows in town opened. Bing Crosby showing in Capitol. Sun Valley Serenade in Avenue. Texas Cowboy in Life.
Saw dad in small car driving to Naric. He looked thin. I feel like crying. Homesick. Very tempted to sneak into the house.
Did not go to high official I was supposed to interview. Nobody could assure me of his inside feeling. Did not want to take a chance. Will tell this to general.
Carrier pigeons of Alabang stockfarm not there anymore. Nobody knows where they are.
105 gave interesting reports on Gen. Maeda of Jap Military Administration. She’s cold-blooded, flirtatious skirt. She called me “Highhat.”
Somehow I don’t trust her. She knows it.
Impressed at the calm indifference of Manilans to Jap Occupation. This is due to their confidence that the USAFFE will soon return and kick out the Japs.