From Bad-as, we are now hitting the trail to the sea below Sniogbuhan San Joaquin. We are here very early—thoroughly exhausted. Our presence attract the attention of people on the beach. We have eaten our breakfast hurriedly. Our sailboats have been waiting for us. We immediately board them and [?] sail with Point Siaton in Negros as our objective. We feel slightly nervous, for we have to pass through Japcontrolled waters between Panay & Guimaras. Thank God, no Jap motor boat pops up. The wind is intermittently blowing, and we drifted into the mouth of the strait for a while. An East wind blows now, late in the evening. We are now heading fast to Siaton. We feel safe now from the enemy.
The newspaper reported that the island of Negros was occupied two weeks ago. On the twenty-first of the last month, Japanese forces landed at a point five kilometers away from Bacolod and marched towards the capital which they were able to occupy before the retreating forces could burn the houses. A provincial capital had thus been saved from the flames.
Although the papers confirmed that this sugar island has been conquered we believe that there must be remnants of armed groups in the mountains, which continue to molest both military installations and the civilian populace.
A few days ago, we learned from official dispatches that the USAFFE force in the Mountain Province surrendered, following instructions from General Wainwright. The troops in Mindanao did the same. Obviously, the American forces had formally given up the fight in the whole Philippines. We are at war, but the Archipelago has ceased to be a battlefield. How long will expectations last? Only some isolated bands of rebels persist in the fight as guerrillas, some of whom also fight as bandits.
A college bus is rented to carry passengers to Tayabas. Many provincial folks want to go to their provinces, but transportation is lacking, as well as gasoline and alcohol. Most of them are bound to Bicol, while others are hopping from island to island up to Cebu, Negros or Iloilo. Another route in this virtual tour is by way of Batangas, from where the travellers would hire a “parao”. After ten or twelve days at sea, and after escaping from the sharks and the steel birds of the air, they would finally arrive at some port in the South. It is a picturesque and exciting journey.
I know a number of persons who attempted this venture. Some arrived, others returned dead from hunger or fatigue. How many perish in the attempt, no one can tell.
Not only adventurous young ones and strong men but also women and seminarians from the University have embarked on such an odyssey, spurred by the desire to be reunited with their families and escape the threat of hunger in Manila. Blood is indeed strong in bringing about reunions during wartime.
Both the Japanese army in Luzon and the American forces in the Visayas give passage to these fugitives, letting them cross the lines without difficulty.
All day at sea. Quezon talked of the newspaper press, and said they had always (except of the Herald–“which was founded by me (Quezon) with the money of my friends”) attacked him and supported Osmeña. He added: “Murphy had daily press conferences and one a week for foreign correspondents, while I agreed to one general press conference a week, and only kept three of those”!
Quezon said of Davao that he intended to persuade ten rich families from Negros, Bulacan and Pangasinan to take up a thousand hectares each, and establish modern hemp haciendas there to show the Filipinos that they can cultivate better than the Japanese. The advantages of the latter in hemp had been in organization and modern science–qualities quite lacking in the hemp culture of the Bicol regions of the Philippines. The last “individual” method surviving there “insured the least profit at the most cost,” as contrasted with organized, “planned” industry.
Bridge the whole afternoon. At supper with Quezon, Roxas, and Sabido, the last named called attention to Assemblyman Rafols of Cebu who had Nile green embroidered pyjamas (at the next table)–like a woman’s beach pyjamas. Lots of laughter and chaff and Rafols was called “Cleopatra.”
Sabido then told of Assembly roll having been called to: “Datu Umbra” (husband of Princess Dayang-Dayang), and Rafols had objected to the use of the title saying: “why shouldn’t my name be called as ‘lawyer Rafols.'” Umbra happened to be absent, but at the next session he appeared and said he understood he had been “attacked” (some mischief maker probably an “anti,” said Quezon), and was prepared to “meet” the gentleman from Cebu anywhere outside the Chamber in a closed room or in the open. Rafols at once apologized and asked to have his previous remarks expunged from the record. (He had “heard of these Moros” said Quezon.)
Quezon tells me he is going to establish a general pension system for all government employees.
The President is provoked by the ruling of the State Department of the United States as to Americans being unable to divest themselves of their citizenship on becoming Philippine citizens; said that the law firm of Ross Lawrence and Selph had acted like damned fools in presenting the question as they did; that the State Department had taken this chance of serving the United States Treasury (income tax); that these opinions of Ross, Lawrence &c and of Clyde Dewitt had shown their imperialist frame of mind. Roxas said this left the situation as really ridiculous. Sabido asked Quezon what would be the position of Americans who had meanwhile become Philippine citizens, when the ten year period expired–Quezon replied very positively: “They will be Filipino citizens.”
The President said he would station 1000 soldiers at Parang. He has evidently been depressed over the situation for he remarked to me confidentially: “I am beginning to believe I shall make a success of this government but you have no idea how deep petty jealousies are.” (It is unusual, to say the least, to find so buoyant a character at all discouraged.)
N.B. At my conference on the Aparceros bill with Magalona yesterday, I was embarrassed by his bringing with him as “interpreter” a reporter of the Bulletin, the very paper which had savagely attacked Perfecto’s bill recently, and had denounced its proposal to put a progressive income tax on large landed estates–the policy I had suggested to Quezon in January.
Talk with A. D. Williams who says Quezon now wants a much bigger yacht than that he (Williams) had selected for him; wishes the Southern Cross, now in Cuba, twice the size of the Yolanda; price asked: half a million dollars.
He told me again of a talk with Quezon concerning transportation. It arose out of a project to build a wharf for the Cebu Portland Cement Co. Williams pointed out that this would reduce the revenues of the Cebu Railway. Quezon replied: “our guarantee of interest on the bonds expires next year. We will have to buy the road and move it.” Williams agreed and suggested moving it to Negros. Quezon remained silent. What he wants is to move it to Mindanao which Williams opposes since he believes that a railroad would be so much more expensive to maintain and operate than roads. Williams says a wharf at Baler would be too expensive to build. That wharf at Iligan is O.K. and we should have landed there on our recent trip.
Papers today carry a statement from Pardee, calling on bondholders of the Philippine Railway to deposit their bonds with him for purposes of negotiation with Philippine Government; says the company cannot pay the $8,000,000 principal of bonds due next year, and proposes to sell bonds ($1000) at $350 apiece to the Philippine Government; (price now in New York $300 and the stock sells for $1 a share).