January 21, 1942

Corregidor

President Manuel Quezon is sick again. He coughed many times while I talked to him. He was in bed when I submitted report of the General regarding political movements in Manila. He did not read it.

The President looked pale. Marked change in his countenance since I last had breakfast with his family. The damp air of the tunnel and the poor food in Corregidor were evidently straining his health.

He asked me about conditions in Bataan –food, health of boys, intensity of fighting. He was thinking of the hardships being endured by the men in Bataan.

He also said he heard reports that some sort of friction exists between Filipinos and American. “How true is that?”

The President’s room was just a make-shift affair of six-by-five meters in one of the corridors of the tunnel. He was sharing discomfort of the troops in Corregidor.

The President’s stenographer said “The Castila got sick again because he was wet in the rain.” Quezon visited artillery men in coast batteries of Rock and he personally distributed cigars to the boys. He was caught by the rain but he did not seek shelter.

Mrs. Quezon is slightly thinner. She says she cannot sleep well at night because her son who sleeps in the upper deck of her bed “moves too much.”

Mrs. Quezon showed great concern over hardships suffered by boys in Bataan. She said she was proud of the great stories of heroism of Filipino troops in Bataan. “The whole world,” she said “is talking about it.”

The President’s wife showed me the fuse of the first bomb dropped by Japs in Baguio on Dec. 8, 1941. “I’m keeping this,” she said in her slow, calm manner, “because this is historical.”

She said she was in Baguio when Japs first bombed Philippines. “We thought the planes flying were U.S.,” she said.

Mrs. Quezon told me to send some of our operatives to Arayat to find out what has happened to her farm. I said there were men in Arayat now looking into the matter.

Mrs. Quezon recounted how she and her family went to Corregidor, how they crossed Manila Bay and how an air-raid signal was sounded in the City when their boat left Manila.

She told me to see her before I leave for Bataan because she had some canned stuff for me.

Mrs. Quezon spends her time in the Rock reading, sewing, visiting some of the sick and praying. I think she prays most of the time. She is a very holy woman.

Fr. Ortiz, the chaplain in the Rock, said: “I think she’s a saint. I shall recommend her for canonization.”

(later)

Corregidor

2 p.m.

Reported to Col. Charles Willoughby, Chief of G-2 section, MacArthur’s staff. Willoughby is author of famous book Maneuvers in War. He is handsome, young, intelligent, pleasing, gentlemanly officer. He greeted me in Spanish: “Como estas amigo?”

Submitted to him reports of Intelligence Service in Bataan (I am beginning to feel like a high class messenger).

Willoughby promised to get a uniform for me. I told him I only had one. I think he believed me because I looked very dirty and my shirt was covered with the clay of Bataan.

Willoughby’s desk was littered with maps and papers. He evidently has a lot of work. A few meters behind is MacArthur’s desk and to MacArthur’s right is Gen. Sutherland’s. Sutherland is Mac’s chief of staff.

While I was waiting for papers Willoughby wants delivered to Gen. de Jesus, I kept on watching movements of MacArthur.

The USAFFE head has a dynamic personality. He is also handsome and dignified-looking. He was holding his cane with a silver knob and had on his Pershing cap.

MacArthur was talking to Sutherland from his desk. I could not hear what they were talking about but MacArthur had a serious expression on his face. Sutherland was listening attentively.

After a while, MacArthur stood up, Sutherland remained seated and MacArthur continued talking rapidly. Then MacArthur left office in direction of main lateral. MacArthur was wearing his khaki field uniform, khaki shirt and pants and his usual pershing cap. When MacArthur passed by desk of other officer nobody stood up. In Corregidor, the General has apparently dispensed with formalities of standing at attention and saluting.

After MacArthur left. I saw Major Romulo arriving. Romulo went straight to his desk beside Col. Diller and Capt. Sauer of the Press Section. He placed a paper in his typewriter and then he started talking to Col. Diller. Romulo must have told something funny to Diller because Diller started to laugh and Romulo also laughed. Then Romulo began typing.

When Mr. Romulo saw me, he asked me to see him after Willougby. Romulo wanted to know what reports our operatives had regarding Manila. He told me to send another fellow to contact his family. He gave me the address of his secretary who lives near Santo Tomas. “Tell your agent,” he said, “to ask this man about ‘Serapia’ and ‘fortune’ and other names. I was wondering why ‘Serapia’ when his wife’s name is Viriginia. He said he and his wife have code names. “Serapia,” he said “stands for Virgina.”

I ate lunch with Mr. Romulo. He said that after Bataan, he would build the new Herald at the grounds of the Jap-owned BBB. He promised to give me two cans of Tuna fish, “fresh from Argentina,” he joked. He said he was going over to Bataan “to take a look at the front.”

(later)

Corregidor

12 midnight

Filipino barracks

Played dice. Lost. Played black-jack. Lost. Played checkers. Lost. Capt. Salientes said: “That’s OK, Phil, maybe you are lucky in love.” I wonder.

Sat on stairs of barracks chattering with Sal. Filipino barracks is out in the open, made of ‘sawali’ and faces Bataan.

Sal was recalling his cadet days in West Point Academy. He still wears his class ring. He said “Nothing like school days in America.”

We talked of everything on earth and finally of the convoy. All conversation in Bataan and Corregidor ends up in the convoy. He says he thinks “it’s somewhere in Australia now.”

Beautiful evening. Plenty of stars. He and I were homesick.

I asked him about Corregidor defenses. He said they were very strong. “If Bataan does not fall,” he explained, “Corregidor cannot be attacked except by landing parties from Cavite.”

He said my brother Vic gave him a ride on New Year’s eve. “I saw a Buick,” he said. “I asked for a lift and it was your brother, celebrating New Year’s Eve.”

I wonder how Vic is. I guess he is missing me. Ever since we were kids we bunked in the same room.

G. night.


January 20, 1942

HQ, Intelligence Service

Bataan

 

Can’t go to Corregidor. Too much bombing. Jap planes flying above all day. Spent morning and afternoon in dug-out. Missed ‘brunch’ due to strafing. Movement of cars and trucks paralyzed. Planes dive at any moving object. No cooking because Japs might spot HQ due to smoke.

Transmitters from operatives in enemy-territory confirm presence of many newly arrived planes to intensify and accelerate Bataan offensive.

Bad news: several agents crossing Bay with transmitters apprehended by Jap patrol boats. Other bancas not noticed by Japs. The General will ask our mosquito boats to escort agents in future.

More bad news: Corpses of our ‘spies’ who crossed Bay from Camachili left by Japs in our beach defense. Bodies badly mangled, wrists tied with rope, bayonet wounds on stomach. One of the operatives was wearing Fred’s blue shirt.

When the General heard this report, he was very gloomy. He said: “Ours is a hard job. Espionage is the science of foul play. We are the eyes and ears of USAFFE. Spies are the soldiers of darkness. We shall honor those dead in our hearts. But we cannot publicly honor them –yet.”

Guerrero suggested arming operatives with grenades. “They can carry it in their pockets,” he explained. “In case they feel they have been spotted, the can throw it at Japs,” he pointed out.

One half of our officers are sick either with malaria or dysentery. Those of us who can still walk around must now do double work.

Prayed a lot during bombing. Fred said: “There are no Atheists in fox-holes.” I think that is a very deep statement.

Raid again. Lookout says “Hundreds of planes…”


January 19, 1942

HQ, Intelligence Service

Bataan

 

Report of operatives on general trend of affairs in Manila: Japs have enforced martial law in City. Death penalty to be imposed on anyone who inflicts or attempts to inflict injury on any Jap. If assailant or attempted assailant cannot be found, ten influential persons who live near vicinity of crime will be held as hostages. Jap military notes are now in circulation but peso and even dollar is still recognized. Many persons have been seen tied to posts and made to face sun for violation of traffic rules. Everybody must bow before Jap sentries. Failure to do so means five or six slaps on face regardless of age or sex. Not many abuses committed against women in city but in provinces many cases of rape. Many cars commandeered by Japs and all car owners required to register names in Jap headquarters. Markets are open but prices of foodstuffs slightly increased. Japs have permitted religious freedom but have controlled radio and all newspapers and magazines. Americans and Britishers have been concentrated in Santo Tomas Camp. Mayor Jorge Vargas has been recognized by Jap High Command. Japs have agreed to recognize status and authority of peace-and-order officials; protect life and property; recognize existing laws and orders as well as customs and usages, excepting those incompatible with new situation. Curfew has been placed at 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. everyday. Japs reported laying plans for establishment of civil administration run by Filipinos under an executive commission. Meeting of Filipino officials regarding this matter held in Yulo residence. Filipino high officials inclined to cooperate with Japs “for welfare of Filipinos”. General attitude of political bigwigs is to “do business with Satan”, “make the best out of a pretty bad situation.” Jorge Vargas may be made head of Executive Commission.

Condition in provinces quite different from City. Japs have abused women. In Calumpit even women in family way were not spared. In Pampanga towns especially where some soldiers were killed, Japs retaliated by torturing farmhands, burning houses, abusing women. Sakdals are acting as informers for Japs but in many cases Sakdals point innocent people to merely satisfy personal grudges. Meanwhile, communists have taken opportunity to settle grievances with landlords in the absence of law enforcement agencies. Many landlords have been subjected to humiliations, others murdered. Looting abounds but this exists not merely in provinces but also in Manila. Transportation has become an acute problem. Trains are strictly for the military but lines in many parts are still under construction. Most bridges have already been repaired by Jap engineering corps. Japs have limited supply of gasoline and have ordered everybody to surrender their gasoline cans. Manila folks use calesas and carromatas as means of transportation. Street cars are functioning. Young people ride in bikes.

Fred Castro is now deciphering military reports. Jap Commander-in-Chief is Lt. Gen. Masaharu Homma. He is personally directing attack on Bataan. Only his representative confers with Filipino officials. Not even Mayor Jorge Vargas knows name of Commander-in-Chief. Japs keep it a big secret. Estimated number of Japs attacking Bataan over half a million. Japs landing troops in Lingayen and Aparri. Small port being built in Aparri. Operatives are presently trying to get pictures of Jap ‘zero’ fighter, reported one of the best in the world. This fighter is light and very maneuverable. Japs have sacrificed ‘armoring’ for ‘speed’ and ‘maneuverability’.

Japs are exerting every effort to bring life in Manila back to normalcy. They want stores opened and employees to return to office. All these, of course, under strict military surveillance. But attitude of Filipinos is one of “waiting”, “passive resistance”. They criticize “collaborators” praise those “who stay at home’. They expect USAFFE back “in a month’s time” when “the big, big convoy arrives”. Almost everybody listens to and believes Voice of Freedom. Some who were caught listening to Voice of Freedom have been shot. But many continue listening despite great risks. News is also spread thru little typewritten notes carrying USAFFE communiques or radio broadcasts from San Francisco. Japs have arrested many suspects but news dissemination continues. It is not an uncommon sight to see groups of men talking in whispers about what Radio San Francisco says. At night, roar of artillery in Bataan audible and people begin to think “perhaps they are already around Pampanga.”

In staff meeting this evening the general said that outposts of intelligence service have been organized in strategic provinces of Luzon. Transmitters have already been installed but these have to be moved from time to time because Japs have localizers. “It’s too bad,” he said, “we don’t have carrier pigeons.”

I will bring report on political and economic situation to Commonwealth Officials in Corregidor tomorrow.

All officers in HQ have asked me to buy them cigarettes in Rock. Some of the boys have started smoking ‘papaya’ leaves in lieu of Camels and Chesterfields. I’m glad I’m not a cigarette addict.

I can hear Gen. de Jesus shouting at the phone right now. He is talking to Bat 102, that’s Corregidor. Apparently, they are having a hard time hearing each other.

Leonie and Fred had a discussion after supper, regarding opening of prostitution houses in City. Leonie believes it is immoral. He maintained the strict Catholic attitude regarding prostitution. Fred considered it a bad necessity under present circumstances. Other officers joined in argument. The doc believes “prostitutes will save our wives and sisters”. Somebody stated “This will only make them ask for more and more.” Fred asked my opinion. I said: “Prostitution is never justified but I certainly wish, pray, none of our women become victims of abuses.”

Can hear a plane. It is flying low.

 

(later)

 

The latrine in this Command Post is now named “MUSICAL HALL” because most of the boys have diarrhea due to the salmon. Fred calls it “Perfume Dept.” Why not “Lizar branch”?


January 17, 1942

Motor Pool, Intelligence Service

Bataan

 

 

Will sleep here tonight with the drivers, mechanics and motor transport officers. The General asked me to stay here overnight to find out how boys out here feel and to report findings to him.

Motor transport officers have good life. Their food is better than what we have up in headquarters. Drivers that are not being used are sent to coast to fish. Got my first fried fish this evening. It was superb.

One of the chauffeurs is an Igorot. Lt. Maceda ordered him to dance one of the wild Igorot wae-dances. He sharpened a bamboo to make it look like a spear and he danced for five minutes. The Igorot war dance is similar to the boogie-woogie.

Listened to KZRH special broadcast for Filipino boys in Bataan. Poor piece of propaganda. Filled with a lot of mushy stuff designed to make boys homesick. Enjoyed nice swing music especially “In the Mood.”

Some of the operatives arrived this morning. Am very anxious to get back to headquarters to hear their reports.

Lt. Palo, in charge of motor transport pool, was down with malignant malaria. He was thinking of his wife. They were married one week before the war and his best man was his sergeant. He said: “I told her I’d be away for only a week. She must be very worried about me.”

Talked to some of the American M.P.’s directing traffic near intersection at foot of Base Camp. One of them said he was from Texas and he sang a lot of hill-billy songs. Most of the time he was out of tune but he was a very jolly fellow. He said: “Frankly, I don’t think I can distinguish a Jap from a Filipino. How can you fellows tell?” I told him most Japs are bow-legged and slint-eyed. Filipinos are not. He remarked: “That makes a Jap out of me. I’m sort of bow-legged, man.”


January 15, 1942

Bataan

HQ, Intelliegence Service

 

“See You in Manila” news sheet published by Intelligence Service well received by men in front and officers in Corregidor. Major Carlos Romulo wrote our unit a congratulatory message.

First part of news sheet carried items on fighting in various sectors in front lines. Leonie wrote a column analyzing situation, painting hopeful future, reminding boys of America’s promise to send us a convoy.

We did not put our names to publication because we were playing safe. Japs might have spies or some copies may fall in Japanese hands and our families in Manila may be needlessly endangered. We placed our initials as editors: CGB. C for Castro, G for Guerrero and B for myself. Most of the stuff however was written by Leonie, then Fred, I did the least work. Leonie and Fred write very much better than I do and I have to aide the general most of the time.

The SYIM publication is also running a Bataan Sweepstake. Corregidor boys may also join in. Each soldier is entitled to one guess as to date of our victorious entry into Manila. Each entry must be accompanied by P1. The one who first guesses correctly the date of entry of first troops into Manila will receive sum total of pesos entered in contest. Right now we have received more than P60 already. My entry is April 9, Guerrero’s is March 26th, his birthday. General run of entries is January 31st, Roosevelt’s birthday. Only one fellow July 4th. Most optimistic guess is January 20th, within five days.

Chuck Boyle, sergeant in Corregidor, is Voice of Freedom. Leonie was asked to broadcast but he refused because he was worried about his wife in Manila.

Heavy bombing during the last few days. Big tree near motor transport of our service was cut in two. A lot of AA shrapnel dropped near our C.P.

The town of Mariveles is a mass of ruins. All houses, nipa or cement, have been destroyed by bombs.

The coast area is leveled to the ground due to incendiaries. In some houses, nothing remains but the cement stairs. In the blaze, Bonifacio’s monument still stands but the bolo he carries has been partially destroyed. The flag was not hit. The Cross in the dome of the church still stands but part of the altar has been wrecked. The quarantine station in Mariveles stands on three posts only. Some of the rooms are open to the sky and the garden in front of the quarantine office is full of bomb-craters. The walls of the house are pock-marked with shrapnel holes but some of the rooms in the first floor are still habitable. I saw an old man trying to fix up the ruins of his nipa shack amid the wrecked homes in Mariveles. “The Japs can bomb this place again,” he said, “for all I care, I’ll build my shack.” He represents the fighting spirit of the Filipino people. You can’t put them down.

Just received telephone call from outposts in Cabcaben. Beach defendants claim they have arrested several men in bancas in civilian clothes. The general has sent for the men. They might be some of our operatives. There is still no coordination between our unit and the beach defense.

Food supply is running low. We now have only two meals a day. Brunch –breakfast and lunch– at 10 a.m. Brunch consists of one salmon and half a plate of rice. All the water you want. Supper is at six p.m. before sunset. Menu: Salmon and rice. Sometimes salmon changed to sardines. On Sundays, we get carabao’s meat. Sometime, monkey-steak which I can’t swallow.

Life in our HQ is like Robinson Crusoe’s . We have a shower bath. My sergeant connected bamboo poles to a stream. We therefore have a non-stop faucet. If you pull a rope, the bambo rises and you get some sort of a shower bath.

Our toilet is very primitive. Its just a canal with wooden facilities for squatting. It is also very spacious. Three people can be accommodated at the same time.

Our water for drinking comes from the upper part of the stream. The medical officer takes charge of boiling the water for us.

Each officer has a wooden desk made out of Carnation boxes. Maps are spread on tables made out of branches of trees.

The telephones are of the field type and they hang on tree branches near tents of the officers. The radio runs by battery and it is in the center of the C.P. Officers gather around at night to listen to the Voice of Freedom. Fred calls it “Voice of Boredom.”

The kitchen has been built quite far from the main camp because of the smoke. An old gas stove has been reconditioned for firewood use.

In between tents are dug-outs which can accomodate seven to ten men. Dug-outs have chairs inside and look like little tunnels. Some dug-outs are connected to each other and there is a cobweb-like network underground. At night, lamps are placed inside dug-outs and typing of reports for Corregidor continues.

Staff meetings are held in little plaza in front of radio. Today the General said operatives have begun gathering reports in Manila and various enemy occupied Luzon regions. The General also read reports that Japs have been pocketed in sector of 1st regular division and “is trying to break through fiercely”. “In other fronts,” he said, “interdictory fire has been maintained.” In eastern sector, artillery duel continues and patrol activity has been further intensified. The general said that he was worried about the supply problem but that plans are being studied to solve difficulty by bringing food from Visayas. He did not say anything about the convoy. Col. Torralba, chief of staff, entered Bataan Sweepstakes. He thinks it’ll be Jan. 31.

Leonie and I feel situation is not as rosy as pictured. There must be some trouble about the convoy. Maybe the U.S. Navy was badly crippled in Pearl Harbor.  Maybe also something has happened in Hart’s Asiatic fleet. Why did he not come out and challenge the Jap transports? Maybe –and this is likely I think– I don’t know anything about naval strategy.

Nevertheless morale of boys in Bataan still high. There is still a strong determination to kill the Japs. They are praying for reinforcements from the U.S. though. They’ve been fighting since Dec. without any replacement. Rations are getting less and less.

Most of the boys say: “Never mind sending us troops. We can lick the Japs. Just send planes, planes, planes.”

Presence of Japs flying above without opposition, bombing and strafing at will except for AA fire gives a helpless feeling. One gets very sore but there’s nothing he can do about it. Some of the boys in desperation shoot at planes with their rifles. In certain instances, this has made matters worse because the Japs are able to locate positions. They return later and drop bombs.

There is a rumor that S.S. Legaspi was able to steam up Cavite and load rice sacks carried from Batangas. This will greatly help fast decreasing rice stocks. Salvage units are trying to refloat a ship sunk in Bay loaded with wheat flour. Quartermaster officers believe the inner part of flour can still be eaten. Only outer walls will be wet, they claim. All these moves show food supply is getting very short.

Funny incident happened between Col. Jalandoni and Gen. MacBride. The General who had just inspected Jalandoni’s beach defenses said:

“Colonel, your line is getting thinner,” Jalandoni thought the general was referring to his waist line, and so he replied:

“General, I did not come here to eat; I came here to fight.”

General MacBride laughed and said:

“I was not referring to your waist line but to your front line.”

Another funny incident happened to Col. Jalandoni the other day. His area was subjected to heavy aerial bombardment. The colonel ran and when he saw a dug-out, he jumped in. The dug-out was a latrine.

Col. Jalandoni was commander of Nueva Ecija garrison before the war. Then he was assigned to Malacañan. He is a good friend of President Quezon and family. He came to our C.P. this morning to visit Gen. de Jesus and he gave me a box of chewing gums. He is a good friend of my dad.

It’s getting dark now so I must stop writing. I wonder how mama and papa are. I am missing them an awful lot. Never thought this fight would last this long. When will we be able to see each other? I pity those whose boys die. They will never be able to see each other again. Of course, there is the memory that their son gave his life for the country. I wonder if that is a great consolation. Maybe it is.

I guess there is really no place like home especially when you are not home. Leonie is always thinking of his wife. Fred is worried extremely because his wife was on the family way. “By now, I’ve got a baby, I wonder if it’s a boy,” he said. I’m sure all of us at this time of the night start thinking of our homes only we don’t tell each other about those feelings. When I pray at night, I don’t only pray that I might see my family but also that all my companions might see their families too. But I guess that’s an almost impossible thing to ask. I think I’ll stop writing now because what I am writing is making me feel sad.

 

(later)

 

Prayed rosary with Sgt. Sinculan. He said he had not prayed for a long, long time.


January 12, 1942

HQ, Intelligence Service

Bataan

 

Met Leonie Guerrero, Salvador Lopez, and Vero Perfecto as I was leaving the command post of the 2nd regular division.

Leonie will be assigned to our unit, Lopez to Corregidor and Perfecto will join the Signal Corps in Little Baguio.

Brought Leonie to our HQ. He and I are in the same tent. The General has assigned Fred, Leonie and I to job of putting out daily news sheet for soldiers in Bataan and Corregidor. Name suggested for publication is “See you in Manila”. Corregidor will furnish us with paper, stencils will be provided by Philippine Army Headquarters in Mariveles. Romulo called up and said the appointment of Leonie is in process. He will be made 1st lieutenant, Lopez will also be 1st lt. and Perfecto, sergeant.

Visited hospital in Base Camp. The sick were in make-shift bamboo beds. Many are afflicted with malaria. Others with dysentery. Some are suffering from bullet-wounds, others from shrapnel injuries sustained during shelling and bombardment. Every day hundreds of boys are being brought to hospital. Doctors in hospital work 24 hours. Medicine used are leaves of plants and herbs. Doctors know when there is heavy fighting in front due to truckful of wounded brought to hospital while fighting is in progress. It is a heart-rending sight to see boys with open wounds diving on the sand when planes fly overhead. Wounds have to be cleaned all over again. Many shell-shocked cases. Sulfa-thiasol works miracles to injuries. But supply is very limited now. Some boys are suffering from vitaminosis. Weighed myself in hospital. I have lost ten pounds already. Got some quinine. I think I have malaria.

 

(later)

 

Name given to Jap observation plane by boys: “FOTO JOE!” Name given to our mess hall “Tom’s Dixie Kitchen”. Between ourselves we call the General “B.P.” e.g. “Buck Private.”


January 11, 1942

HQ, Intelligence

Bataan

Still aide to Gen. de Jesus. Am also assistant plans and training officer under Col. Torralba, former head of Camp Murphy. The general has also retained Fred.

Our new headquarters is located on the side of a high hill above a swift stream. There are a lot of tall trees with huge trunks and branches here.

The men are now putting up tents for the officers, building fox-holes and shelters. Signal Corps people are fixing the radio, connecting telephone lines and installing transmitters.

Our telephone-call is “Molave.” Col. Willoughby in Corregidor is Bat 102. Gen. Francisco is “Rainbow.”

Operatives for various Luzon provinces have already been selected and given instructions. I talked to agents for Manila: Gave them Mr. Romulo’s message.

The “spies” will go to enemy territory by “banca” from Limay to Hagonoy marshes. Some will pass through Corregidor, Fort Frank and Drum and then to Cavite.

Col. Manuel Roxas phoned from Corregidor and said that our service could draw as much money as needed from funds of Philippine Commonwealth Government. Part of our job is to secure information on political trends.

Went to Philippine Department headquarters this morning. Got P7,000 from Col. Fisher, G-2, chief, HPQ. I told him the money was going to be given to operatives who were leaving this afternoon for Manila.

I asked Fisher if he had any news about the convoy. He said he had none and he sounded somewhat gloomy.

While Fisher was counting the money, I sat down with a couple of American officers to listen to Radio Manila. The announcer was reading the news in Tagalog and I translated it for them. The radio announced that Kuala Lumpur, capital of Federated Malay States was in Japanese hands. The announcer said in Tagalog that the next objective was Singapore.

I asked one of the Americans when he thought the convoy would arrive. He said “I’m afraid they’ve forgotten us back home.” Then he started to reminisce about life in the States, how he used to spend the day fishing and driving his Ford coupe, which is very cheap in the States.

The other American was thinking of his wife. He said: “I know if I were in the States right now, I’d be fighting with the Mrs. and I’d be telling myself, why don’t I go over to Bataan and fight the Japs. Now that I’m here, I tell myself, why am I so far from home, and I miss my wife’s fighting after all. Oh hell, its that fellow Adam that started all this. Why did he ever eat that apple!”

Japs bombed rear areas heavily today. They hit part of supply in Rodriguez Park and destroyed Navy warehouse in Mariveles. Several trucks in Little Baguio were strafed. Heavy artillery duel in Western Sector. Wainwright must be having a busy time. Lines of Segundo, Brower, Stevens, Shalleck are holding. Japanese are trying to penetrate Mt. Natib. The enemy is adept at infiltration tactics. He crawls quietly through the lines under cover of darkness.

The general said in staff meeting this evening that Japs were using firecrackers in some sectors to “scare the boys.” In some sectors, the General said the Japs installed amplifiers and exhorted Filipino boys to turn against Americans. “the boys,” he said, “replied with machine-gun fire.” The General said that in other fronts, the Japs crawled into our lines, climbed trees and started sniping at officers. The Japs are quite good in jungle fighting because of their experience in China, according to the General.

Signal corps men have memorized new code. They will also cross Bay and establish transmitters in enemy territory to give accurate reports on Jap movements.

The General recommended me for promotion to 1st lieutenant in Corregidor.

Must stop writing. There is an air-raid.


January 9, 1942

Manila Bay

On board Navy Courier Boat

 

Beautiful morning. Sun is slightly above horizon. Sea is calm. Cool morning air. All is quiet except for chugging of boat. Looks like a pleasant cruise.

Heard Mass said by Fr. Ortiz and received Communion. The President and family, Vice President Osmeña, Gen. B. Valdes, Sec. Abad Santos and Col. Manuel Roxas all attended Mass. Mass was said in small corridor between Fr. Ortiz’s bed and the President’s. Fr. Ortiz was slightly peeved because Nonong Quezon attended Mass in pajamas.

Had breakfast with President and his daughters. The President was in good spirits. He said he was aware of the sacrifices the Filipino youth were now undergoing. “I am sure,” he said, “they will come out of it gloriously.”

The President recalled his last speech in the U.P. campus when he told the student body that it was very probable that in a very short time many of them would be fighting and dying.

At the other table, I watched Gen. Douglas MacArthur taking his breakfast. He was not talking at all. He ate hurriedly and I don’t think he even finished his coffee.

Breakfast even in Corregidor is rationed. We had a handfull of oatmeal, one slice of bread, a little jam and a cup of chocolate. Nonong Quezon wanted more and I noticed Nini gave some of her own food to her kid brother. I had to hurry through the breakfast because the boat was about to leave.

Fr. Ortiz gave me a big can of of powdered KLIM and he told me to ask him anything I needed. He gave me a strong embrace and he told me to take good care of myself.  He accompanied me to the boat and he told the general that I was one of his craziest students.

Right now, I am half-way between Corregidor and Bataan. From here, Corregidor looks like a small reef floating between the jaws of a huge monster. Corregidor stands between Cavite and Bataan at the very narrow entrance of Manila Bay. Japs have not dared attack Corregidor from Western entrance. Too many coast artillery guns.

Morale of men in Rock very high. They have more ‘inside’ news on the convoy. All the big-wigs are there. I noticed a lot of officers in Rock are somewhat bored due to inactivity. Some of them want to go and fight Japs in Bataan. Others prefer comfort and safety of Rock.

Life in Rock is very dull. Officers sit around listening to swing music from KZRH and laugh at radio commentator. Once in a while during day they have to rush inside the tunnel to hide from bombs. At night, they gather outside mouth of tunnel, to breathe some fresh air and to light a cigarette. Smoking is prohibited inside tunnel.

Boys in Rock are very glad when some of the fellows in Bataan drop over. It sort of breaks the monotony of their lives. They crowd around Bataan boy and pump him with a thousand questions on life in the mountains and conditions of trenches and “how many Japs have you killed?”

Pepito Abad Santos was very eager to go with me to Bataan. He said he was bored stiff with life in the tunnel. But his father did not give him permission. He gave me several letters for some of his schoolmates that are now in the front.

We are now approaching Cabcaben. Japs have bombed this little dock several times but they have always missed. Our boat is signaling the shore defenders now. I can see Fred waiting for us in the command car.

The general just called for me. He said: “When the boys ask you why they called for us, keep it a secret. Nobody must know. Tell them I’ve just been relieved. Secrecy is essential.” He added: “If they ask about the convoy, say you understand it will be here very soon —to pep them up.”

I asked the General: “Frankly sir, when is it arriving?”

He said: “No mention of it during our conference.”

 

(Later)

 

51st brigade, C.P.

Bataan

 

Everybody wondering why we were called to Rock. Fred’s asked me ten times: “What’s up, Phil? Come on tell a pal.”

Major Sison asked: “When is the convoy arriving? Are we going to get more reinforcements?”

My sergeant said: “May be, sir, we are going to commence a general attack.”

Major Montserrat asked about health of President and “how’s my friend Valdes?” I told the Major that Gen. Valdes was sending him regards and that he was probably going to get a promotion. Major Montserrat was very happy.

Nobody dared ask the the General anything. Neither did he speak a word. He just told his orderly to pack his things.

I think the general will take me to the Intelligence Service. I’m sure I’ll find that work more interesting.

The General is writing right now under candle light. He is forming his new staff. I think Maj. Gen. Guillermo Francisco will head this division. General de Jesus may take officers he needs for his new assignment according to arrangements in Corregidor. I wonder where we will have our headquarters: Corregidor or Bataan?

Intensified patrol activity in front. Artillery duel. No casualties, on our side.

A lot of monkeys running up and down trees in this area. Fred said the other night the sentinel shot a monkey. He shouted “Halt” and the dark figure kept on crawling. When morning came, sentinel found out it was a big monkey. Password for tonight is “Lolita.” Words with letter ‘L’ are generally chosen. Japs cannot pronounce the ‘L.’

Some of the boys are singing “The gang’s all here.” They are out of tune. In Corregidor, there was no singing. Too many high officers around.

Report just received that Japs started attack on Western sector putting pressure on 1st Regular Division.

Lost my bottle of quinine pills.


January 8, 1942

Corregidor

Malinta Tunnel

I don’t like this place. Yes, it’s safer and bombproof but the air is damp and stuffy. Give me the cool mountain breezes and the starlit skies of Bataan anytime.

The general has been relieved of his command. He has been assigned to a more important, delicate and interesting job. He will be made head of the Military Intelligence Service.

His main mission will be to secure information regarding the enemy in the occupied regions of Luzon. The service will be under the G-2 section of MacArthur’s staff.

Corregidor is a wreck. The docks have been bombed and rebombed. The chapel is partially destroyed and nothing remains but the cross and the altar. The area around the Post Exchange has been leveled by fires due to incendiary bombs and the cinema house has been razed to the ground.

In the little harbor, I saw the Casiana lying quietly under the water with only the insignia of the Commonwealth Government afloat. Had many happy hours in the good old days in the presidential luxury [yacht]. That’s where I first met Morita when she arrived from the States.

First person I saw this morning was Vice President Sergio Osmeña. He wore a white “cerrada” and he had black shoes. He looked thin, bored and worried. When he saw me he asked: “When did you arrive?” I said “Just now, sir with Gen. de Jesus and Major Lamberto Javallera.”

The Vice President asked: “How is it in Bataan? Is it safe? I am thinking of going there. When is the best time?”

I told the Vice President that the best time to cross the Bay would be either early in the morning or late at night to avoid enemy raiders.

General Basilio Valdes then arrived. He was carrying a towel and a piece of soap. The general had just taken a bath. He said: “To take a bath here, you have to go out of the tunnel.” Toilets in Corregidor are out in the open.

The general was anxious to hear news about the boys in Bataan and he told me to give his regards to several of his friends in the front.

“Who are you with?” he asked.

“With Gen. de Jesus, sir.”

“Where is he now?”

“Conferring with Col. Willoughby, sir.”

“Tell him to see me before he leaves.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Have you taken your breakfast?”

“I had coffee, sir in the gunboat. When we were crossing the Bay, a Navy gunboat stopped us, sir. The Captain said it was not safe to approach Corregidor very early because the coast artillery might fire at our launch. So he invited us to take coffee with him and that was perfectly all right with the general and I because we were not able to take our dinner last night.”

In the breakfast table, I saw Major Carlos Romulo and Lt. Col. Manuel Nieto, aide to President Quezon. Romulo was growing a small moustache, a poor imitation of Adolf’s. He was slightly thinner and his eyes showed lack of sleep.

He told me to find out if his eldest son, Carlos Jr., was in Bataan. “If he is there,” he pointed out, “he is probably with Gregg Anonas.”

I assured Mr. Romulo that I would do my best to look for Baby although I don’t think he is with Gregg’s bunch because I would have seen him.

Romulo said that he was sick and tired of the canned stuff in Corregidor and that he misses the “pesa” and “adobo” he used to eat at our home and with the Vasquez family.

He also told me that before he left for Corregidor he called up my dad and told him to take care of his family. “I wonder how they all are in Manila,” he said.

He said he heard that my general was going to head the Military Intelligence Service. “In that case,” he said, “you are going to have operatives in Manila. Could you arrange to have a man find out how my family is?”

I promised Mr. Romulo that I would attend to that matter personally if the general takes me along with him. “If I remain with the 51st, I won’t be able to find out for you.”

Mr. Romulo was in the press section of MacArthur’s staff under Col. Diller. I think he should be made chief of that section because he has the most experience in propaganda.

He told me he was busy censoring the news reports of the foreign correspondents in Bataan and Corregidor and writing the scripts for the Voice of Freedom everyday.

After breakfast, Col. Nieto brought me to the President’s lateral. In one corner, I saw Mrs. Quezon seated on a bench between Dr. Cruz and Fr. Pacifico Ortiz S.J. Mrs. Quezon embraced me and she’d wanted to know how I was and if life in Bataan was very hard because of the bombings. Fr. Ortiz who was my logic professor in the Ateneo said: “I’m glad to see you, Phil.”

Mrs. Quezon brought me to President Quezon. The President was wearing a white shirt and white riding pants, a striking contrast to the khaki of the soldiers in the Rock. He was carrying a short whip. He looked thin but smart and snappy. The President said that he was glad to see me fighting for my country. He said: “I was in Bataan too during the revolution as an aide to Gen. Mascardo. I know every nook and corner of that place. I got malaria there too.”

Fr. Ortiz then brought me to a small altar in the President’s lateral. “Better pray first and give thanks,” he said. While I was praying, Nonong Quezon came from behind and he slipped a couple of chewing gum packages in my pocket. Then Nonong obliged me with a comb, soap and towel, “to look decent,” he said. And then he cracked: “Sorry, I can’t lend you my toothbrush.” I retorted: “I didn’t know you had one.”

That was the first time I looked in a mirror since Silang. I guess I must have been very dirty because Ah Dong, the President’s valet, asked me if I wanted to take a bath. The people in Corregidor are all very neatly dressed and their uniforms are well pressed. There is no dust, no fighting here in Corregidor. Chinese servants serve the officers during meal time. There are electric lights, fans and even refrigerators. Each and every officer has a decent bed with cushions and mattresses. I even noticed that the shoes of the officers here were shiny. In the main entrance of the tunnel, they even have a barber shop and near the hospital lateral is a library. In some of the empty tables, I saw several officers and nurses playing cards. Outside the tunnel, on the benches overlooking Manila Bay, I noticed several lovebirds talking in whispers. There is no war here in Corregidor except for occasional bombardments at noontime. Japs are at present concentrating forces in Bataan. I suppose they’ll attack this place afterwards.

Next person I saw was Baby Quezon. She was wearing blue slacks and it made her look sleek. “I thought you remained in Manila,” she said. Then came Nini. She was neatly fixed up, the usual pigtails and an ugly looking pimple on her nose. She said Miss Labrador, the nurse, woke her up and said that I was around but that she thought it was just a joke. Both girls asked me to join them for breakfast and so I had a second breakfast. During the breakfast, Agatona, Mrs. Quezon’s maid came along and she asked me to give a letter to her cousin in Bataan and she pinned a miraculous medal on me. Nini then gave me a crucifix and Fr. Ortiz blessed it.

At about noontime, I walked with Nini to the hospital lateral. Then suddenly the lights went out. The tunnel walls began to shake. Japs were dropping 1000 pounders. Air inside tunnel was pressing against the lungs. More bombs dropped. Detonation reverberates louder in tunnel than outside. Nurses started mumbling prayers. Salvos of AA guns shook cement under our feet. Then I saw a flashlight. It was Mrs. Quezon. She was looking for her children. Nini said: “We are here mama.” Mrs. Quezon was afraid Nini and Baby were out in the open and felt relieved. There we were —Mrs. Quezon, Nini and I— cramped between soldiers and laborers who rushed inside the tunnel when the raid started. It was the equality of war. Then came the parade of the wounded. Filipino soldiers were rushed in on stretchers. There were cries of pain. Many were unconscious. I saw Fr. Ortiz giving blessings, hearing last minute confessions. He was here, there, everywhere. I saw an American whose leg was covered with blood being rushed to the medical department. Gen. Valdes who is an expert surgeon was busy assisting the wounded. The raid continued. I tried to remain cool even as the tunnel shook with the detonation of bombs and the firing of AA guns, but inside I was getting afraid. I kept telling myself it is safer in the tunnel, not like in Bataan. But I guess fear is contagious and there something about the tunnel that makes one feel asphyxiated.

After the raid, everybody started talking about the convoy. Officers were asking: “When will it arrive?” Some said” “By the end of the month.” But Mr. Romulo whispered authoritatively that he had inside information “the convoy is very near and may be here in a week’s time but keep that under your hat, pssst.”

It’s ten o’clock now. I guess it’s time to sleep. I can see Justice Abad Santos putting on his pajamas right now and Vice President Sergio Osmeña is fixing his bed. I’m writing this on the upper deck and Fr. Ortiz is praying below me. He says its time to go to bed.

We are leaving for Bataan early tomorrow.