November 22, 1944

A total of 9,000 males are included in the first draft for compulsory labor in Jap airfields, port installations and other military establishments. The names of those forced to serve have been sent to neighborhood presidents who will in turn forward the names to neighborhood leaders who will then inform the draftees to appear in a certain place at a certain time until an Army truck brings them to their working places. Stiff penalties ranging from heavy fines to many years of imprisonment and even death will be imposed on those who evade the labor conscription. Meanwhile Tribune editorial claims it is an honor to help in the defense of one’s country and that Filipino youths should be proud Japs are willing to make them work side by side with them.

Some people are asking: “Why doesn’t President Laurel complain? Why does he permit this forced labor? Didn’t he promise that he would not allow conscription? Is this not conscription? Of course, it is not military conscription but it is labor conscription and is that not worse? Under military conscription, you are at least armed but under labor conscription, you have nothing but spades and hoe’s and you work in veritable targets.”

Malacañang however is very silent. Instead Laurel gave a dinner party honoring T. Yamashita, new commander-in-chief. Yamashita pledged “to defend Philippines even at cost of my own life.” Tribune stated that Filipino leaders (puppets) were impressed at the energy of new-commander-in-chief.

Meanwhile guerrilla activities in Luzon have been intensified. There are strong rumors that a submarine landed several officers from Leyte with orders from Gen. MacArthur to give final instructions to guerrilla troops. It is also believed that guerrilla bands are being united at present under one leader for unity of command and to make efforts more effective.

Listeners over Voice of Freedom are worried because Brig. Gen. Carlos Romulo has not spoken for the last three days despite previous announcements by Voice of Freedom that the general will speak daily for the Commonwealth Government. “Has he been hurt? Is he sick? Or Maybe he returned to the States? Or is he in some battleship on way to Luzon?” nobody knows, many guess, everybody is worried. Japs are happy because he used to say a lot of things that was embarrassing for them. From Baguio however comes the news that Mrs. Sergio Osmeña, wife of President Osmeña, has disappeared with daughter. People are wondering if the Japs have taken her or if she is hiding with guerrillas or if she is now on a submarine to Leyte. People too are asking if Sergio Osmeña Jr. who has been collaborating with Japs is with Mrs. Osmeña. Guerrillas were after Serging’s neck because he was a shame to country and to his father but they have not taken drastic action against him “in deference to his father.” Reports from Pagsanjan also reveal that Mrs. Carlos Romulo and children have also disappeared. It is known definitely however that the Romulo family is at present hiding with Luzon guerrillas. One son of the general, Carlos Jr. is an officer of the underground forces.

Servants from Bay View Hotel state that “there is an American aviator, a tall fellow, in the seventh floor”. The American aviator parachuted when his plane was hit by an AA shell. The aviator said that he had been in Europe with the bombers raiding Berlin.

Lichauco house was taken by Navy. Helped them pack their things and carried several bundles to their new house. Lichauco was given two days to vacate premises or said the Navy “We will move right in with you”. Lichauco hurriedly packed his things because he has three beautiful daughters and he didn’t want Japs to live with them. People are asking: “What is the Jap Navy doing here, taking houses, instead of going out to sea?”

Just finished reading Philippine Review, a Jap controlled magazine. It claims that balance of war in Europe is in favor of Axis. It gave no reasons. I didn’t expect to find any.


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.