June 5, 1942

At night at the Shoreham Hotel.

Quezon told me the story of his visit to Corregidor in 1935 after he had been inaugurated as the first President of the Philippine Commonwealth. He was invited by General Kilbourne, the American officer then in command of the fortress, who was the man who had done so much to develop its defenses. Quezon said: “As I went ashore on Corregidor I saw there a whole regiment of Americans–not Philippine Scouts, drawn up as a guard of honor to salute me. I was quite overcome with emotion–just two miles away across the water was the little town of Mariveles, where thirty-four years earlier I had surrendered myself as an officer of Aguinaldo’s army to an American Lieutenant of artillery. If ever since that surrender I had felt any bitterness against America, it vanished when I looked upon that regiment of American soldiers drawn up to salute a Filipino President of the Commonwealth. This regiment seemed to me to epitomize the whole history of the United States in the Philippines. They had come there in the beginning with their soldiers to overcome us by force–and now the symbol of that force was drawn up to salute the Filipino head of a government of Filipinos which had been set up by the United States. The three most thrilling events of my life all occurred within a radius of two miles of that spot where I then stood:

(1)  My surrender at Mariveles to the American officer

(2)  An American regiment drawn up on Corregidor to do honor, and

(3)  Besieged in the fortress of Corregidor by the Japanese.”


April 8, 1942

Bataan

Saw a big rat eating what looked like the arm of a soldier strewn near a stream in H.P.D.

Saw more troops –hollow-eyed, wasted, exhausted, lips parched with thirst, eyes wild with starvation.

Saw corpses of brave men, courageous men being buried by friends, comrades-in-arms.

All troops are moving to Mariveles, the southernmost tip of Bataan. After that is the sea –Beyond is Corregidor, still flying the flag.

Saw the staff car of Gen. Lim. He was riding fast to Mariveles. He looked thin, worried, and his hair was white.

Prayed, prayed, prayed. Prayed for victory. Prayed for myself. For the dying and DEAD.

Will pray some more. In the hour of defeat, there is only prayer.

(later)

Staff-meeting. Very sad, pathetic, gloomy, funeral-like. There were tears in all our eyes. “We are in the saddest moment in our nation’s history,” said the General.

All around us were fires, supply dumps burning, hospitals afire, cars, trucks hit by incendiaries. Great columns of smoke everywhere.

The telephone rang again. It was Oscar Arellano. He talked to me and he said: “Where shall I go with my troops?” He asked: “Are there any orders?” I said: “Go to Mariveles.”

The General said: “Our unit is disbanded. We cannot surrender as members of the Intelligence Service. Let us say that we belong to the 41st Division or any unit you please. The Japs will torture us if they know we have been engaged in espionage work. The general could speak no more.

Fred arrived. He said he went to the coast to look for bancas to row up to Corregidor but there were none.

Officers were conjecturing: “What will the Japs do to us? Will they shoot on sight? Will they torture us? Will they imprison us? Shall we die fighting? Shall we keep a bullet for ourselves? Shall we swim to Corregidor? What about the sharks? What shall we do? Oh Lord what shall we do?

More and more troops retreating to Mariveles. We are also packing up and moving to Mariveles. Took one last look in the direction of the front: it was one phantasmagoria of swirling clouds of red dust, roaring tanks moving men and dust-caked units, crawling on blood-red earth….

8 p.m.

Can feel earth shaking. Terrific explosions. The Americans are blowing up all ammunition dumps.

The General has ordered us to “Burn all papers.”

I don’t have the heart to burn this. I’ll tell my sergeant to do it for me.

(later — 10:10 p.m.)

Fred is crying. He said he saw troops carrying — white flags.