March 12, 1942

Corregidor

Quiet, uneventful trip crossing Bay. Gatas depressed when he heard President no longer here. He said he heard of it but he was not sure.

Life here is very boring. No action. It’s all going in and out of the tunnel. When there is a raid, just go in the tunnel. After its over, you go out and breathe the fresh air.

After raids, officers always ask: “When will the convoy arrive?”

Placards have been posted around the Rock prohibiting discussion of military matters.

Ate three times. First, with officers in tunnel; then with Filipino officers in barracks; third, with Marines.

Arranged insurance papers of officers in our unit. Capt. Pepe Razon was very helpful. He is a finance officer. Gatas fixed Lim’s salary. His wife will collect for him.

Romulo said that Col. Manuel Roxas is being called by the President to Mindanao but that Roxas does not like to leave the Rock.

Romulo wanted me to take part in a script for tomorrow’s Voice of Freedom broadcast but the General said I had to be back by 6 p.m.

Heard another batch of Americans and Filipinos to be given DSC for bravery in the front.


March 8, 1942

MIS, HQ, Bataan

Zamboanga has been occupied at 4:35 yesterday afternoon. Pao Sen, deputy commander of Chinese Red Army was killed during Jap attack on East Hopei. Port Moresby raided by Japs for the seventh time. Batavia, capital of NEI, is in Jap hands. Sourabaya is now in peril. Broome, on the northwest coast of Australia, subjected to heavy aerial bombardment. Hangars, flying-boats and naval planes were destroyed. All the East is practically in Jap hands: all of the eastern coast of China, Hongkong, Shanghai, Thailand, Indo-China, Singapore, NEI, Borneo, and on the other side Guam, Saipan, Tinian, Wake; and the range of Jap bombers reach up to the coast of San Francisco to the interior of Australia, to the hinterlands of Chungking and beyond.

Only places that still stands within this circle holding up flag of democracy: Bataan and Corregidor.

In Manila, Japs have ordered blackout in waterfront. Reports state that waterfront filled with military supplies.

Night fishing activities and navigation in the Bay are also prohibited. This will make operation of our agents in Hagonoy difficult.

Operatives report that nobody has paid attention to Jap announcement that they will drop letters to relatives in Bataan.

Japs organizing Philippine Constabulary. Gen. Jose de los Reyes has been designated director.

Sentiments of Manilans from higherups to masses, strongly against Japs. They resent slapping and other abuses committed by Jap soldiers and officers.

Manilans expecting USAFFE to attack anytime. A lot of rumors about reinforcements.

(later)

Will be given wound chevron for injury sustained in reconnaissance patrol. Celebrated. Lt. Maceda brought a bottle of whiskey.

The General asked me: “What’s that you smell of? Have you been drinking?”

I said it was anti-malarial tonic, hic.

He laughed. Said: “Give me some. I’ve got malaria too, hell.”


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.


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 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 19, 1942 – Thursday

I spoke with the President and asked him for permissions to go to Bataan. At 1 p.m. Major Velasquez and I, on the launch of the Apo, went to San Jose, Mariveles. Captain Lee Stevens and Mr. Boquer took advantage of our boat to return to Bataan. We arrived at San Jose. Lee, Boquer and Major Velasquez proceeded North. I waited for General de Jesus. In the meanwhile, I inspected Captain Bautista and Major Turingan’s coast defenses. I saw the Bautista family of Malolos who were near Captain Bautista’s place.

When General de Jesus arrived I went to visit Mrs. Segundo, and Mrs. P. Martelino and Mrs. A. Martelino who are camped near the U.S. Cavalry camp inside of the forest Km 167. From there I went to the Philippine Army Ordinance Depot to inspect. Neat, well kept. Men doing good work, however, I am worried about all the Enfield rifles that are stored there, in case the enemy brakes through our lines.

Then I went to the Command Post of General McBride where we discussed the situation of the civilian population and the morale of the troops. He is very understanding of the Filipino psychology and our needs.

At 4:15 p.m. I returned to San Jose. I wanted to return early to be in Corregidor for dinner. We celebrated Mrs. Quezon’s birthday we ordered a cake.

When I arrived I found that all the baggage was ready to leave. I rushed home to get my things ready, packed rapidly and saw that my things were sent to the dock. Then I went to the dock with Colonel Nieto.

As we were leaving the tunnel, the truck that was to carry important boxes arrived with the guards. The officer in charge told me that the enemy was shelling the dock. We waited l/2 hour and then we proceeded. We supervised the loading of all baggage, rice and other cargo on the barge which pulled out at 11 p.m. for the SS Don Esteban. All the members and personnel of the Presidential party with the exception of President, his family, his war cabinet & Colonel Nieto left at midnight, en route for an undisclosed destination. The captain was given sealed orders.


February 14, 1942 – Saturday

6:30 a.m. left Corregidor for Bataan on a Q boat. The sea was very rough and it could not make any speed.

I arrived at 7:30 a.m. at Cabcaben. Colonel Hill and General de Jesus were waiting for me. I gave some instructions to General de Jesus and then left with Colonel Hill in a command car for the Command Post of General Lough. It was a hard trip through newly constructed trails in the mountains. The dust was terrible. We reached a place in the mountain where the trail ended. Then we had to hike up-hill. We reached the Command Post of General Lough at 10:45 a.m. There I met General Lough and his staff, General Lim and his aide, Lieutenant Santos, General Capinpin, Captain Angel Tuason. I had a letter for Bubby Tuason from Loling, that had been smuggled out of Manila by someone. As soon as he received the note he began to cry. I patted him on the shoulder and told him to cheer up. I talked to General Capinpin and General Lim regarding the morale of the officers and men. At 11 a.m. while I was talking to them we heard the roar of airplane engines. I was told that there were 12 bombers and four pursuits. They encircled around again and again. They flew so low that we could distinctly hear the characteristic whistle that the bombers have. General Lough ordered that everyone stand near the entrance of the dug outs. Suddenly we heard the explosions caused by the bombs dropped towards our left probably some artillery placements. At 11:30 p.m. when we realized that the danger had passed we hiked back to our car and proceeded to the Command Post of Colonel Catalin Commanding Officer of 21st F.A. He was waiting for me on the road together with Major Villarreal and Lieutenant Aquino.

He showed me his post. I inspected his Command Post and discussed with him the phases of military situation and the morale of the officers and men.

Left his Command Post for the offshore patrol base at Lamao. Major Villarreal offered to go with me to show me the new place, as Captain Jurado, had transferred his Post to another place, as his former place had been bombed by enemy planes.

When I arrived there I found Lee Stevens waiting for me. He is a captain Q.M.C. USAFFE. We talked for a while and ate a luncheon prepared impromptu by Captain Jurado. He served Carabao meat. It was not bad. Before I left Lee gave me a letter to be opened only in case of his death. Lee is the Commanding Officer of a motor pool. His place was recently bombed.

From this place I rushed to the Philippine Army Hospital at Km. 172 to inspect. The conditions not as good as I would like them to be. The ward tents are dark and give the impression of poor ventilation. The general arrangement is poor. I instructed Colonel Luna to discuss the matter with Colonel Janairo, Chief enginner.

I left the Philippine Army hospital with Colonel Hill & Major Cruz for the Command Post of General Marshall. Washed up and had dinner with him. Proceeded afterwards to Cabcaben to take the Q boat which was waiting to take me to the rock. Colonel Browley of the Staff of General Moore asked to be allowed to come with me. I was happy to authorize him to do so.

On the way from General Marshall’s Command Post to Cabcaben, Colonel Browley told me that he had just inspected Anti-Aircraft batteries in Mariveles and praised the Philippine Army unit. He said that the two outstanding batteries or Anti-Aircraft units there was one American (Colonel National Guard) and one Philippine Army composed of our trainees from Fort Windt 90% and Scout Filipino N.C.O. 10%. The American unit has 14 planes to its credit; the Philippine Army unit 12 planes. The previous day two Japanese planes who were apparently on a bombing mission to Mariveles make a dive to attack our unit. Our boys received them with a heavy barrage and brought the two planes down with only 40 rounds of ammunition consumed.

When we arrived at Cabcaben, the sea was very rough, and the Captain of the Q boat had difficulty in docking it. Finally he was successful. We arrived at Corregidor at 6:30 p.m. I saw the President to report my trip and then went home for supper.


February 12, 1942

Manila

 

Singapore falls. This is bad news. Singapore Naval base was very necessary for refueling of convoy. They will be very depressed in Bataan.

Japs have executed four men for violation of military law. Condemned men are first made to dig graves in Cementerio del Norte and then they are shot in the back.

“Domingo Diesto and two others” according to Tribune “were shot for inflicting physical injuries on person of Jap soldier.”

Pepe Laurel III married Betty Castillo. I wonder what his troops in Bataan will say when they hear this.

Japs in Manila celebrating Singapore’s fall. Saw many drunks, soldiers singing in streets. They have reason to rejoice.

Shows in town opened. Bing Crosby showing in Capitol. Sun Valley Serenade in Avenue. Texas Cowboy in Life.

Saw dad in small car driving to Naric. He looked thin. I feel like crying. Homesick. Very tempted to sneak into the house.

Did not go to high official I was supposed to interview. Nobody could assure me of his inside feeling. Did not want to take a chance. Will tell this to general.

Carrier pigeons of Alabang stockfarm not there anymore. Nobody knows where they are.

 

(later)

 

105 gave interesting reports on Gen. Maeda of Jap Military Administration. She’s cold-blooded, flirtatious skirt. She called me “Highhat.”

Somehow I don’t trust her. She knows it.

 

(later)

 

Impressed at the calm indifference of Manilans to Jap Occupation. This is due to their confidence that the USAFFE will soon return and kick out the Japs.