August 6, 1945, Monday

We were visited or rather inspected by Lt. Col. Jaime Velasquez and Maj. Hanz Menzi, both of the Police Command. They seem to be ranking officers. What the purpose of their visit was, we do not know. They seemed to have been investigating our condition. Col. Velasquez is a graduate of various military schools in the United States and when the war broke out he was Aide-de-Camp to Pres. Quezon. He is one of our most brilliant officers. It had been repeatedly rumored that he had married a daughter of Pres. Quezon, Menzi is Swiss-born, but a naturalized Filipino, He was a guerrilla leader. For his guerrilla activities he was twice imprisoned at Fort Santiago. He is lucky to be still alive.

We had a long conversation with them. One thing we got clear is that we can never hope to get out of this place until after the termination of the war. We will not even be transferred to Los Baños. We appreciate their frankness. Now we can cease dreaming.

Today Sergio Osmeña, Jr., son of Pres. Osmeña, arrived alone. He came from Muntinglupa. He was detained, I suppose, for his buy and sell business during the Japanese occupation. He was very thin. He was taken to our quarters and given a bed there. Later, it was discovered that he belonged to the enlisted class and he was transferred to the quarters of that class. It was quite a humiliation. I do not know how they make the classification as there are others like him who are in our class. I was tempted to write about his case to his father since Serging, Jr. is a very intimate friend and a compadre of mine. I was also quite intimate with his father, but on second thought I desisted as I do not know what the reaction of Pres. Osmeña under the circumstances. Serging has developed a little fever. I hope he gets well soon.

He showed me the letter which I have mentioned somewhere in this diary, that he wrote when statements of his father concerning him and his brother Nick were published in the papers. In effect, the President compared Serging and Nick to his son, Emilio who was killed by the Japanese for refusing to collaborate. Serging’s letter made me cry. As I’ve said before, even under the circumstances, I do not believe I could do what Serging did. A father should be respected and loved by his son no matter what he does.

Paredes received a copy of a letter dated May 20, 1945 which Atty. Pastrana of Capiz sent Pres. Osmeña. It was one of the most convincing in defense of the collaborationists.

Rev. Enrique Sobrepeña, a Chaplain Major in the Philippine Army, was courtmartialled for collaborating with the Japanese. He was acquitted by the Court, his defense being that he was forced to do so. It was a good omen for us.

March 18, 1945

I visited Muntinlupa, the new prison site. Not a political or criminal prisoner was left. When the Americans were about to arrive, they were liquidated without let-up, until the Chief henchman, disgusted with the sight of blood, shouted, “Always kill, kill. You go.” And so was saved a handful of prisoners who were already by the death wall, among whom were Fr. Rufino Santos and a boy of nine. Days before, a group of thirty were able to escape and join the guerillas.

Now the cells are occupied by the former prisoners of Los Baños who are being rehabilitated before being sent home. I heard the story of their liberation from their own lips. As I listened I could not tell whether I was listening to a detective story of Sherlock Holmes or to a script of a Hollywood comedy. They all tallied in the details of their accounts.

At dawn of the 23rd of February, the day the liberators entered Intramuros, the 250 Japanese soldiers who were guarding the prisoners of Los Baños were starting their ceremonial greetings to the sun and the Imperial palace and their routine calisthenics. From the skies, a hundred gigantic shadows fell on the ground like shadows of great scarecrows. Simultaneously, from the thicknesses of the mountains surrounding the camp emerged some two thousand guerillas who had posted themselves around the prison camp during the night. Their firings synchronized with the attack of a hundred and fifty tanks and amphibian trucks, catching the prison guards unaware and sending them scampering to the nearby bushes like scared rats. They burned the barracks and within a few minutes, the two thousand internees were moving out of the lagoon, the men on foot and the women and children in the amphibian trucks. At the beach, other vehicles were waiting for them. The enemies posted at nearby hills, who were still asleep, finally woke up and fired their artillery, wounding a soldier and a liberated internee while they were boarding the watercraft. They were the only casualties. The three-pronged attack was as spectacular as it was successful.

They crossed the lake and landed at Cabuyao which had been liberated by the guerillas. There were some fifteen thousand of them so well entrenched that now, after four weeks, they had not been displaced from those mountains. Among those liberated were seven Dominican priests, about a hundred members of other religious orders and more than two hundred sisters.

This movie-like comedy was preceded, five days earlier, by a Herodian tragedy which undoubtedly motivated the risky liberation of Los Baños. In the nearby town of Calamba, the subhuman beast had sacrificed more than six thousand persons. This was narrated to me by six priests who stayed at El Real. The shouts of the victims of bayonet thrusts could be heard in the whole town during the whole morning. In the afternoon, the priests were arrested together with other townspeople and were made to line up along the road. Their hands were tied and their eyes blindfolded. Then the atrocity! Shrieks and shoutings cried out to high heavens. After more than an hour, they brought the priests to the macabre scene. Their turn of judgment had come amidst the screams of the victims and the grunts of the beasts. They commended for the last time their souls to the Creator. They had assumed this state of resignation born of innocence, undisturbed by the mental sensation of the cold blade that was about to butcher them.

Suddenly the heinous act stopped but not the screamings. There was a long discussion among the henchmen, after which they were untied and their blindfold removed. They never found out the reason for their miraculous liberation. They could not tell whether they could attribute it the fact that the assassins got fed up with so much bloodshed, or whether one of them who was less blood thirsty, interceded in their favor.

A few days later, after trekking through forests and fields, they arrived at Santa Rosa.

Two Dominican priests and a Jay brother did not have the same luck. They were Fr. Merino and Fr. Diez who were in Los Baños. On the day the prisoners were liberated, they were taken by a Japanese and the American amphibian trucks could not wait for them. When the people in the mountains went back to the town on hearing the news that the Americans had come, the Japanese were in town waiting for them, and massacred them, the two Dominican priests included.

Massacre was committed in all towns of those provinces. In Tanauan, the hometown of Laurel, soldiers went from house to house before dawn and killed everybody they found either with bullets or with blows. Some five thousand were slain in San Pablo. The people of Lipa were ordered to evacuate. Those who failed to do so were killed. But for those who fled, soldiers were lying in wait to kill them on the way. There was a conservative count of 15,000 dead. Even those in the mountains did not escape the bloodthirsty vampires. They were hunted like beasts in barrios and mountains. Only those who succeeded in crossing to the liberated areas were saved from the diabolic fury of these children of Heaven. That was how the Bishop of Lipa and a number of priests of that diocese were saved.

Through the towns of Batangas and Tayabas which least suffered during the occupation, passed Genghis Khan in katana and Attila in kimono.

January 12, 1945

Cornmeal mush with a little rice in it for breakfast. Well, the air was full of our planes this morning. They were blasting things up north of here. That helps pep us up.

I have been laying here on my bunk listening to some fellows talking about chow. They make me so darned hungry that I would eat a dish rag.

It is eleven o’clock and will soon be time for the soup. It is may of soy bean cake today. Something special. I am getting so weak I can hardly get around. We have hopes that the boys will be here on Sunday. I hope to God it will come true. This is my first experience with starvation.

Just broadcasted that there will be no soup for lunch. That is that. Well, I can smoke a cigarette and drink water.

Lots of explosions and fires this p.m. Seems that our friends are wrecking things. Story is that the guards have already left Los Baños. Time will tell. If these birds would only leave here….

Fair gravy and a small ladle of rice for supper. Very good as far as it went.

We have been under a partial blackout since August 22 and total blackout for 7 days. Only a dim light in each corner of the hall.

September 21, 1944 was a wonder day for us. That was the day we saw the first American planes. The air was full of them and they did a wonderful job.

Further notes I will put here as I guess there is no longer danger of search. August 2, 1944 orders came to turn in all money to the Japanese. That caused a scramble. August 22, 1944 Japs came without any warning and searched our room. Took field glasses, typewriter, money, books, maps, etc. Three men went to jail.

Friday, October 15, 1943

We are working on the barracks—I truly believe that some transfer, including you, will take place within the near future, six weeks or less. I love you, Darling. If there’s anything worth doing well in this world it’s to love and adore you, my darling little wife for the rest of my days. I am a sentimental dope so far as you’re concerned and I hope and pray that you don’t tire of it. There’s a lot of sentiment against our doing any work on the barracks but I guess there are enough to control the situation. They’re worried for fear the 500 Americans in the Philippines will be jeopardized (how, I don’t know) by the action. Such lame brains. Nothing to do except talk and nothing to talk about. I positively hate some people, and there are many others with whom I can’t be more than barely civil. Rumors today: Nazi Government has quit in Germany, Sea Battle near Guam, Burma offensive under way. I hope I can see you soon. I bought you some bobby pins today.


Note: The journal ends here. Charles Mock’s wife Charmian arrived at Los Baños on December 10, 1943.

Wednesday, October 13, 1943

Your notes have been swell; we unloaded cement and stone today, I hope you get here soon. Why can’t I just let myself go and pour out the ideas that are within me. Someday—right now I love you.

Wednesday, October 6, 1943

Darling I’ve never lost track of the months, almost five of them. There’s a possibility that things may begin to percolate soon. No rain today for a change—the truck arrived with wire for the barracks and I guess other materials are available for the completion of 10 of them. I really hope and expect I’ll see you in month or so. There are rumors of married women coming up first, but I’m rather skeptical about it. I’d like to see you included but I’m not going to do anything that might embarrass you. I don’t mean that exactly, embarrass isn’t the proper word—well ask me about it sometime and I’ll tell you. I know you’re included on the list from here and I’m praying that all who desire may come up when the time comes.

Wednesday, September 29, 1943

Things are going on and I don’t know whether they’re going to ship the married men back to Santo Tomás or not. I’m going to try and get the straight of it tomorrow, although I doubt if anyone has the true facts. I heard positively today that we’re to have a new Commandant and another less authentic matter regarding repatriation. I wouldn’t mention except for the source—four ships on the way to take us home. There’s still nothing going on in the barracks. I’m sick and tired of the whole mess. I love you Damn it, the years are going by—here I am 35 years old and hoping that next 50 holds more than I’ve been willing to believe possible. So it goes—When will we have a chance?

Monday, September 20, 1943

Two years ago, just about now I was pleased to note that you didn’t have a ring on your left third finger. You may doubt that but it’s a fact. What years they have been and I hope we never experience anything like them again. I realized for a moment how insensible this interment has made me. The bus with the fortunate repatriates was leaving, there was much cheering and the victrola was playing God Bless America (I think it’s far and away the least desirable of our songs) and yet I felt the tears ready to well up and I could have thrown myself on the grass and bawled like a baby. This is really a terrible strain and I can’t imagine what the reaction will be when we see American forces and hear the Star Spangled Banner again (I’m practically weeping now).