March 4, 1942

HQ, MIS, Bataan

 

Back from patrol. Reconnoitered in Balanga. Met  several Jap patrols. Japs not there in force.

We were very careful. Kept away from beach. Balanga church was destroyed by our artillery. Did not enter church. There might have been Japs inside.

General refuses to believe there are no Japs in Balanga. I told him there are only Jap patrols, nothing more. He shook his head. Felt like telling him: “If you don’t believe me, why the hell don’t you go there yourself.”

Encountered a squad of Japs who were lying near a nipa shack when we were returning to our lines. It was late afternoon and we had not yet eaten the whole day and we were going to eat in the nipa shack.

Sgt. Sinculan noticed that they were aiming at us. We fired first. They had rifles only. We had a Browning automatic. We were better armed but they outnumbered us.

I emplaced my men behind a fallen log with a thick trunk. I could hear the officer shouting loudly and the soldiers were also shouting. We remained silent.

Suddenly, they all shouted and advanced. Told men not to fire until they passed the other fallen tree before the log where we were emplaced. When they climbed over it, Sgt. Sinculan opened up with the Browning. Two fell. The others kept firing. Meanwhile six crept to our flank. I noticed it and I moved three men to our left. Sgt. Sinculan said that we had better retreat because they were more than thirty and we were only ten. Besides one of our privates was being attacked by malaria, making our effectives only nine.

I told the men to retreat slowly to the cogon but I shouted loudly to mislead the Japs “Attack men!” and everybody shouted with me and we fired and retreated. Then I felt something warm pierce my thigh but I did not feel much pain. Sinculan and I were wounded.

When we retreated, the Japs left us alone. Thought I would be nervous face-t0-face with Japs but now I know one has no time to be nervous during combat.

Will write about this patrol work someday.

 

(later)

 

Major Javallera opined the Japs will probably put their main effort on the western sector. He also could not believe that there were hardly any Japs in Balanga. “Japs are probably up to something,” he opined.

“Are you sure of what you are reporting?” he asked again.

“We walked through the plaza and the school house and then near the broken bridge and we entered the town and there were no Japs in force, only occasional patrols,” I said emphatically.

He said “You can have a week’s rest, even if your wound is very small.” He gave me three cans of guava jelly, hooray. He is quite a good guy.

Will visit my Pampangueña friend. Fred and Leonie were not allowed to go out during last few days because there was too much work.

The general said I am careless that is why I was hit. He always scolds me, but I know he likes me inside.

All in all, he is also O.K.


March 1, 1942

Bataan, MIS, HQ

Col. Torralba said the general stated that my resignation is not accepted and that I’d better attend to his papers more diligently.

Raids morning and afternoon. One incendiary bomb dropped a few feet away from the doctor’s tent. Nobody injured.

Sergeant Buenaventura and Sergeant Sulao quarreled with each other. I thought they were good friends. I guess friendship ends where a can of Carnation begins.

The doctor wants to shoot Major Javallera. He claims the major spoke ill about him before Lts. Palo and Maceda.

The boys are rather gloomy. Tired of waiting for the convoy. I still have hopes but everybody’s nerves are jumpy.

Will go on patrol duty in front tomorrow. Will find out if there are Japs in Balanga. Conflicting reports.

Went to evacuee camp near Hospital II with Major Javallera. The major wanted to introduce me to two nice girls. Only one was there and she was very shapely. Made me feel like whistling. Surely a sight for sore eyes. She was wearing khaki shorts, woo, woo.

We sat in their nipa shack on the floor. She showed me some of her pictures. She is from Pampanga. Pampangueñas have nice skin.

We played an old record in an old phonograph. I think the name of the piece was “On the telephone” or “All alone”.

She had a nice accent when speaking Tagalog. I told her how to teaxh me to say “I think you are beautiful” in Pampango.

I also asked her to translate: “Will you please hold hands with a tired soldier.”

She asked me to button the back of her shirt. The Major saw me and he said jokingly “Mabilis ka naman”. I was embarrassed but she was more embarrassed. I tried to explain that she asked me to button the back of her shirt because she could not reach it. But the major insisted on joking. Then he said: “Never mind, enjoy yourself. Anyway tomorrow you are going to No Man’s Land.”

When she heard this she became nicer to me but I lost all my interest because I was worried about tomorrow’s assignment.

Fred and Leonie will visit her tomorrow.

Will talk to men that will go to front with me. I am happy that Sgt. Sinculan will go too because he is a sharp shooter.

Javallera told me not to worry because my mission is reconnaissance, not combat. I told him “Who’s worried anyway?”

Told Leonie and Fred that the Pampangueña is very beautiful, like Dorothy Lamour. They can’t wait for tomorrow. I said her shorts were very short. Fred started to yell. Leonie said: “Shut up, this is not the U.P. campus.” Fred got sore. “I’m the ranking officer around here.” We all kept quiet. He was angry.

Forgot to ask the Pampangueña her name.


February 28, 1942

Bataan, HQ, MIS

Non-stop bombing. Spent day going in and out of dug-out. If they bomb some more, I will not go to dug-out anymore.

Hungry. A handful of lugao is not enough. We are fed like chickens and we live like rats –underground.

Quarreled with Fred over the use of my towel. Silly thing. Guess we are all somewhat nervous. Nerves all on edge.

Mass will be said in our CP tomorrow morning. It’s about time. What we can’t get with guns, we might have through prayers. I will pray for cheese.

Intense fighting in eastern front. Jap thrusts in Capinpin’s sector stopped.

Checked up instructions to operations going to Nueva Ecija and Lingayen.

Bawled out by General. He claims I didn’t keep all his papers in order. “What kind of an aide are you?” he asked.

Wrote him letter of resignation. Asked for assignment to front. Fred tried to stop me. So did Leonie. They are good friends. I don’t give a damn what the general does about my resignation. He makes me sick.

Finished the rest of brandy with Fred and Leonie. Fred started talking of old days with coeds in U.P. He revealed a lot of ‘green’ incidents in U.P. campus. Nothing like co-education. Leonie started singing “We are in the Army Now.” Drinking orgy stopped by arrival of some civilians for questioning, heck.

I’ve finished questioning the fellow given to me. Leonie is still in the dug-out questioning the old man who was wearing a red shirt. He is typing with a candle on one hand. Wottalife!

(later)

Henceforth, supper will be called the “salmon-hour”, according to Lt. Tatco, mess officer. To hell with Salmon!


February 27, 1942

Corregidor

Went to one of the coast batteries. Men were cleaning their guns. The officer in charge said the Japs would not try a frontal attack on the Rock. He also said that Corregidor could stand a six-month siege, as long as the water-tank is not destroyed.

Our conversation was interrupted by an air-raid.

Jap convoy in Subic Bay was bombed by 2 of our P-40’s. Hooray!

Corregidor

(later)

Drank half a bottle of brandy. Will bring other half to Bataan for Leonie and Fred. It’s no good drinking alone. Misery and drinking loves company.

Saw Vic. He said he had a tiff with an American officer. Some of them have race-prejudice, hell.


February 24, 1942

HQ, Bataan

 

Bert Misa and Saturn Velasco were here a few minutes ago. Touching sight. They looked like lost souls: thin, haggard, dirty, hungry, sunburnt. They joined as buck privates and they have to swallow everything their sergeant tells them. A private’s life is a dog’s life. Their sector is Limay beach. The poor fellows are being subjected to bombing and strafing every morning and afternoon and they only rest at night. They said: “We live underground most of the time.”

They said that Torre and Gregg are with them. Both fellows are also from Ateneo. Bert asked for a “little bit of sugar.” They complained that their daily food is nothing but salmon and lugao.

The other day Saturn found an egg. Everybody was happy but it was not enough for all of them. So they decided nobody was going to eat it.

Bert said that they pray the rosary every night. They gather all the fellows from school and those that care to join and then they pray the rosary. Gives them strength.

“After a bombardment,” Saturn said, “each one calls out for the name of the others, just to see if all are still alive.”

School-mates become more attached to each other here.

 

(later)

 

In staff meeting after dinner, the General said Japs are attempting to break through eastern sector. He stated that Japs emplaced cannons on barges pulled by motor boats and started shelling eastern shore.

Four raids this morning and three raids this afternoon. Right now there are planes flying but no bombs have been dropped yet. Our AA guns are still silent. Maybe waiting for them to fly lower.

Fred and Leonie are discussing about race prejudice. Some Americans here are too damned cocky.

 

(later)

 

Am officer of the night. Must post the sentinels.

Tried to write an article on Bataan. Couldn’t even get started.

Norman now speaking over Voice of Freedom. He reads the pep talk.

Leonie writing a radio drama. Romulo wants Vero Perfecto, Leoni, Norman and I to take part in a script depicting Bataan life in front.

Will write a script for Voice of Freedom. Will ask Leonie to fix it up.

Feeling hungry. Will pay P1,000 for a tenderloin steak. I don’t know why but I always think of steaks. Would love a cheese sandwich too.

Fred is calling Leonie and I. He says he was able to swipe a can of Condensed Milk from Major Panopio’s private supply. This will be a party, hooray.


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 31, 1942

HQ, MIS, Bataan

Good news. Troops of Segundo have reentered our new lines. They escaped Jap encirclement by clambering precipices on Western coast for two days and nights. The men looked thin, haggard, half-dead. They all have a new life. Segundo arrived with troops dressed in a private’s uniform. Japs were slow following initial successes. Some boys, unfortunately, fell while clambering through very steep precipices. In some cases, men were stepping in ledge only half-foot wide. Some of the wounded were left to mercy of Japs. Others were carried by companions. I will try to see either Feling Torres or Manny Colayco. They belong to the 1st Regular –if they are still alive.

There seems to be a move to change Gen. Segundo. Col. Berry will replace him, I understand. I don’t think Segundo is at fault. His troops have been fighting since December in Camarines. His men are recruits, volunteers, mostly untrained civilians. His division has not had a bit of rest since campaign in Southern front and when Japs first attacked Bataan front, they chose his sector.

Plans are being laid to send ships to Visayas to get food supply. Some officers may be sent on trip.

Two boys from Manila are now under investigation. They are Norman Reyes and Luis Albert. Norman claims he came to Bataan because he wants to broadcast over Voice of Freedom. He is a radio announcer. Major Montserrat is now questioning him. Leonie says Norman is O.K. They may send him to Corregidor but the General does not want to take chances. Japs have many spies. Leonie vouches for Norman. Luis Albert says he came here to get money for wives of soldiers left in city. He says he was sent by Red Cross. Major Javallera doubts Albert’s story. He will be sent to HPA. The General is very cautious.

No raid today. Funny, but I never pray for no raid.