December 26, 1944

Manila

Japs moving out. Truck after truck loaded with troops evacuating Manila. All Jap cars camouflaged with leaves. Mindoro landings have struck fear in Jap hearts. The end is near.

Puppet government of Laurel transferred to Baguio. They left in a hurry. The presidential convoy was escorted by Jap troops and P.C. soldiers.

Remaining Jap soldiers are desperate and despotic. Sentries are reenforcing their barricades. Passers-by are searched.

All vehicles are being commandeered: Cars, trucks, carromatas, dokars, bicycles and push carts. All Filipinos except puppet collaborators walk. Only Japs ride in cars. People who did not know of the order were stopped in the streets, their cars, bicycles or carromatas taken away from them without pay. A cochero was very angry: “They’ve taken away my only means of livelihood” he said. House-to-house search started in Malate and Ermita districts.

Hardly any food in the market. Stalls empty. Vegetables, meat, and fishes cannot reach Manila because Japs confiscate all food in the way. A soldier came to the house this afternoon asking for our chickens. The Japanese Army is a scavenger force. A man whose bicycle was taken remarked bitterly. “They’ve taken away two of my houses, my furnitures, my rice and now my bike. Pretty soon they’ll take the air I breathe.”

Papa is very nervous. The Japs have sealed the Crosley and Buick. They’re demanding that we produce the tires of the Buick. Pa said that he sold them already. A Jap neighbor took one of our carromatas.

Only leader left in Manila is Benigno Aquino. He will leave for Baguio on Wednesday. He explained the basis of the rumors on the open city proclamation. To a question propounded by dad regarding the open city conjectures. Speaker Benigno Aquino pointed out:

“There has been an open city proposal. It came from us: the officials of the Republic. We wanted to at least make of record that we took measures to ensure the safety of Manilans and Manila. But Yamashita, the Jap commander-in-Chief did not accept our proposal and he explained that the complete demilitarization of Manila would lay it open to a possible paratroop invasion from Mindoro. Under the circumstances, Yamashita pointed out that the next best thing to do was to transfer the seat of the Republic’s government to Baguio and meanehile he will remove his troops and military installations and it will be up to the Americans to notice that the Japanese have already left.”

Dad then asked: “What kind of a force will the Japs leave here?” Aquino replied: “I understand that the Military Police will remain and perhaps enough troops to cope with a surprise attack by paratroops.”

Aquino said that he liked the speech of President Sergio Osmeña from Leyte. “I liked particularly the part where he counseled the guerrillas to act discreetly regarding collaborators because among them are men who are there because they have been forced and because they had nothing but the people’s welfare in mind. Aquino said “What that speech I have enough…..”.

Manila is worried about the recent drastic acts of the Military Police, the Japanese equivalent of the German Gestapo, Recently, it has been rumored that Dr. Antonio Sison, head of the Philippine General Hospital and President of the University of the Philippines was arrested at his home by members of the Military Police. Other prominent doctors that have disappeared are: Dr. Nicanor Jacinto, famous Manila surgeon and head of Doctor’s Hospital; Dr. Miguel Cañizares, tuberculosis expert and head of Quezon Institute and Dr. Jose Jose, head of a provincial hospital.

In the recent “zonification” (technical name for mass arrest) of Teresa, five men were killed by Japs because they were suspected of guerrilla activities.

In the mass arrest at Polo and Obando, more than 500 people were massacred to death. All the male citizens were locked in the church. From the pulpit, a hooded informer was made to point out guerrilleros. Those pointed out were beaten with wooden bats. The Municipal treasurer was hung upside down and killed by trained military hounds. Other suspects were burnt to death. Still others were drowned. A group of ninety were made to dig their own graves then machinegunned or bayoneted according to the sadistic inclinations of the executioners.

In Imus, Cavite, the military governor, Col. Castañeda and the provincial commander, Col. Javallera have escaped to the hills. Japs “zonified” Imus and killed all men who fought in Bataan. Many innocent men were killed. In some cases, wives of suspects were abused. Reign of terror exists at present in Imus.

Meanwhile, as the days pass by, more men die of hunger in the city. Today as I walked downtown, I saw a haggard, skeletal figure, dressed in rags, steadying his weak body at the iron gates of Jap residence while begging for food. Near a restaurant in Avenida Rizal, there was a young woman lying on the dust-covered pavement and death froze her hands in an extended, pleading, gesture. In the slums of Sampaloc, five little girls sat on the sidewalks, thin, gaunt, dirty, begging all passer-by for “rice, please, rice.” I saw an old man with a semi-crazed look in hid eyes searching a garbage can for food. I also saw a Jap truck filled with sacks of rice guarded by soldiers with fixed bayonets.

Only happy note of the day were leaflets dropped by American planes yesterday: “The Commander-in-Chief, the officers and the men of the American forces of Liberation in the Pacific wish their gallant allies, the People of the Philippines, all the blessings of Christmas, and the realizationof their fervent hopes for the New Year.”

Merry Christmas.

[This is the last entry in the diary, which ends here]


February 22, 1942

HQ, Bataan

 

Busy checking reports from outposts all day.

 

(later)

 

Aglaloma Battle our greatest victory.

Japs landed in rear under cover of darkness. By stealth and surprise, they succeeded in getting a foothold in Aglaloma pt.

But our troops gave them stiff opposition. Even air corps men in rear shouldered guns and attacked Jap landing parties till a “pocket” was formed.

Many hand-to-hand combats. Here were no trenches, no lines, no positions. This was a sort of free-for-all. Japs mixed in our rear lines and men turned around and gave them hell.

Japs received supplies from planes. Some fell in our lines. Boys ate up supplies. Battle lasted for a week.

Then P.C. and scouts came and riddle forest with withering infantry line. Not a tree, bush, twig, remained in face of thickness of fire. A lizard would not have been able to live in midst of such deadly firing.

Our boys could hear Jap officers shouting commands. Distance between our boys and Japs were only a few meters in some sections.

Many received citations in this battle. Americans literally ran over the top leading troops, dying in a blaze of glory.

Col. Castañeda received a distinguished service cross.

He led troops in attack against Japs that hid inside a cave, about 500 of them.

Paulino of Ateneo died. His friends say that night before attack, Paulino was fingering a grenade and saying: “This will get a Jap.” Paulino’s head was blasted by a grenade, in an attack following day.

Johnnie Setzer of Ateneo also died. He was shot by an mg bullet as he was manning an air corps mg. His father who is also in the army buried the son. Many of Johnnie’s friends stood around grave and said a prayer for him. Somebody made a wreath, out of leaves. No flowers.

Cirus Pansalcola of Ateneo died in hospital. He was buried in cemetery near HPA. I still remember Cirus in his last speech at our Oratory class in Ateneo saying: “Very few of those who say ’tis sweet to die for one’s country have every done it.” And I kidded him with remark: “You haven’t done it yourself.”

Heard Manoling Ojeda also died but there are no details.

Samson Solis of Ateneo A.B. also believed dead.


January 11, 1942 -Sunday

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Got up at 7:30 a.m., dressed with the same wet clothes and wet shoes, took breakfast and proceeded on my journey of inspection of the front. We drove South to Mariveles, and went to the camp of Philippine Army Headquarters ten kilometers north of Mariveles hidden under a forest. I talked to the officers who met me at the road. As I was talking with them 3 Japanese planes arrived and flew over us. We ordered all officers and men to remain quiet under the trees so as not to attract their attention. A few minutes later we heard the Anti-aircraft guns in action in Mariveles, followed by the explosions of the bombs dropped there. Half an hour later, I proceeded. I visited the Command Post of Colonel Castañeda in the interior of the forest. While we were talking to him, 3 Japanese planes flew very low, quite close to the tree tops. We remained very quiet. Colonel Castañeda pointed out a small foxhole to me just in front of me. “Sir”, he said, “jump in if necessary”. The planes continued.

From Colonel Castañeda’s post we went to General Selleck’s Command Post. It was being installed and arranged. I warned the men not to cut too many branches from the trees as that would expose their situation to the enemy. I told them to cut the under-brush only. We saw Colonel Salvador Reyes.

We missed the Command Post of General Steven’s 71st Division which we passed because General Francisco’s aide was not familiar with the Command Post. The road from Mariveles to Bagac is mountainous and beautiful. The dust was terrible. I passed General Wainwright’s Command Post. I was informed that he was out on inspection. When we were near Balanga we saw a Philippine Army car on the road. I asked the driver what he was doing and he informed us that he was pumping his tire. He warned us to be careful as the Japanese were bombarding the airfield at the entrance of Balanga. As we reached the landing field which is close to the road we saw eight big craters in the runway. We believed that we were safe and continued to Balanga two kilometers away. No sooner had we stopped our car to speak to the Captain commanding the Philippine Constabulary at Bataan, when a bomb dropped nearby. We rushed to a nearby house for shelter. Two thirds of the town has been destroyed by incendiary and demolition bombs. A few minutes later we decided to proceed to Limay. As we started, several bombs fell again near the place. Instead of stopping we rushed out of the town. We saw several U.S. army cars hiding under trees waiting for that plane to leave.

We reached Limay where the U.S. Army Field Hospital is. We proceeded to Lamao Point where our off-shore patrol is stationed, arriving at 2:30 p.m. Captain Jurado prepared an impromptu luncheon with tinapa of Bangus and rice. At 4:30 p.m. our launch Baler arrived and we left for Corregidor. On our way back we suddenly heard Anti Aircraft gun shots. I looked up and saw a solitary Japanese plane flying very high en route to Manila. How I envied that Japanese pilot. We arrived Corregidor at 5:30 p.m.