August 29, 1900

At 6.30 a.m. we resumed the journey, ascending and descending the mountain ridges, but always keeping in the interior of the woods. We took the direction for the Ambabu settlement. At 12 o’clock sharp we found ourselves at the place called Alabaddabad. We stopped here looking for guides. We resumed our journey at 4 p.m. About dark we met a Calinga boy who told us he had come from the Ambatuan settlement; and that an American column had arrived there a little after midday. This news was ominous for us, as the column had blocked our retreat. We continued the march.

After walking for half an hour, the officer of the vanguard informed us that the guide was vacillating as to the route and was trying to lead us to the other side of the river, because on that side lay the road to Ambabu. But the enemy was also there, since in that neighborhood is located the Ambabu settlement. In view of all this we stopped here; and the honorable president ordered Lieutenant Magsarile and six soldiers to seek another Calinga who might serve as our guide.

About 10 o’clock that officer returned and reported he had found no Calinga, but had met a Christian, a native of Casiguran, who informed us the Americans who arrived in Abatan had continued their march on to Amabu. This news confirming our previous suspicions that our retreat was already blocked, caused the honorable president to forego the idea of going to Amabu, and to arrange for us to conceal ourselves in the woods for the time. So we slept where we were, without any other roof than the sky to cover us; and with the ground as our bed, our caresses being the bites of the numerous mosquitos or “nicnec,” which prevented us from sleeping during the night.

August 28, 1900

All of us had breakfast at 5 a.m.

The honorable president did not know what direction to take, because in addition to those Americans who were blocking our passage, it seemed probable that there was another column in our rear pursuing us and pushing on toward this point, namely, those who were to have attacked our camp yesterday morning. After questioning the Calinga as to details, the honorable president chose the route leading to Taboyan settlement in order to get around the places where the Americans were waiting for us, and at 11 a.m. we set out for that point. We traveled through the interior of various woods, avoiding passing along any roads or trails which the Calingas travel, so as to prevent the enemy pursuing us.

After marching without a halt we reached the settlement at 2 p.m. We did not go into it, but stopped in a piece of woods near it, so as not to be seen by anyone.

When night came we resumed our march, not along the roads, but in the interior of the woods, where, owing to the complete darkness, we had to grasp one another while walking in order to keep from being lost.

About 9 o’clock we commenced ascending the mountain ridges one above the other, and about 11.30 we encountered on the summit a little house inhabited by a Calinga man of marriageable age. Owing to the tired condition of our soldiers, we rested here and spent the night.

August 27, 1900

Everything being conveniently prepared, in order to cause a failure of the Americans’ plans of attack we, at 5.30 a.m., abandoned this camp of “Tierra Virgen,” after having lived there peacefully for two months and twenty-one days. Capt. Juan H. Pilar, chief, and Señors Villareal, Carasco, Catindig, Subido, Ruis, de Leon, and the greater part of the soldiers remained behind in the province to operate as guerrillas. The honorable president only carried with him 16 sharpshooters and Señors Villa and Barcelona and Lieutenants Magsarile and P. Reyes.

In order that our direction to Palanan would not be perceived by anyone, on leaving the camp we took the route along the river in the interior of the woods. We followed the river’s course, all of us being wet. After marching continuously in the river for five hours we left it and took a course through the interior of the woods for the settlement of the Calingas at Catalangan. About 2 p.m. we encountered an old Calinga man, who had come from the settlement. On being asked if there was anything at the settlement, he told us that on this morning 25 Americans were there—for what purpose he did not know—and that these left about 10 a.m. We took this Calinga for our guide, telling him to conduct us by a route far from the settlement. After a conversation of fifteen minutes we resumed the march through the interior of the woods. About 4 o’clock, after our having marched continuously, the Calinga announced to us that we would have to emerge into the open field as the woods ended at that point. The honorable president then ordered that we should halt here first, while the guide went on to the settlement to inquire among the other Calingas respecting the movements of the Americans. After an hour the Calinga returned with his son, a Christian, informing us that 25 American cavalrymen were stationed on two rivers near us; but they did not know for what reason.

The presence of the Americans on the river was undoubtedly for the purpose of cutting off our retreat. Then the honorable president ordered us to hide in the woods; and at 5 o’clock we resumed the march. After seeing several pieces of woods, entering and passing through them, about 7 o’clock we placed ourselves in one of these, where we found a little house inhabited by a Calinga man and his wife.

We slept very uneasily throughout the whole night, because the Calinga man said we were distant only about one hour from Maluna where the Americans have their central camp, and therefore they could have surprised us at midnight.

May 17, 1900

Just as the honorable president awoke this morning at 6 o’clock he found an Igorrote of this settlement, who told him that in Sumader, a settlement distant one hour from this, there were Americans en route here. As soon as we were aware of the presence of the Americans in Balbalasan we knew that their plan was to shut us in on all sides for the purpose, perhaps, of capturing the honorable president. He, on receiving this news, at once sent a courier to Sumader to see if the Americans were already there.

The men returned at the end of an hour and told the honorable president that the Americans were eating breakfast when he left that settlement.

The honorable president thought of making resistance, but as he did not have sufficient forces for that, nearly half of our soldiers being sick, he deemed it expedient to abandon the camp. In fact, at 8 a.m. we left the settlement, following the route to Guinaang, in order to gather up some of our soldiers on duty there.

We reached the guardhouse of the first outpost at 10 a.m., and halted here to observe the movements of the enemy. At 10.30 Major Gaitmaitan arrived, having come from the trench on top of the mountain ridge facing Sumader, and said that he left Lieutenant Morales and fourteen soldiers in that trench.

At about 11.30 Lieutenant Morales arrived with his soldiers. He reported that the enemy did not reach the trench, but flanked it to the left, and had succeeded in going as far as Cuabuntot, a settlement on the other side of Labuagan, and distant from it only one hour. Being unable at this moment to further avoid the coming of the enemy, the honorable president ordered that we should continue the march for Guinaang, which we reached at 1 p.m.

This morning the honorable president did not know how to carry our sick soldiers who, on account of the seriousness of their condition, can not walk. He found no remedy except to give instructions for them to be left behind. Accordingly, he particularly charged the head man of the settlement to take good care of the soldiers who are going to remain, saying that he and all the people of his settlement will have to answer with their lives for these sick men. The honorable president delivered money to the head man of the Igorrotes to buy food for the sick soldiers, and he also gave $3 to each one of the latter. It can not be imagined how sad and desperate they are, through fear that the Igorrotes may have a “kanao” feast at their cost. But these can not follow us, because they are too weak to walk. Divine providence will protect these defenders. After eating, at 2 o’clock p.m., we left Guinaang, passing through thick woods on the mountain ridges, and going up and down among these.

At 3.30 we arrived at the Pugon settlement and kept up the march, continually descending and ascending, toward Magsilay, which we reached at 5 o’clock. Being unable to spend the night there on account of the nearness of the enemy, the honorable president gave orders for us to go on till we reached the next settlement.

We kept on. But daylight was already disappearing. We were traveling very slippery roads, and at every minute could be heard the sounds of soldiers and officers falling down. We ascended a very high mountain, several of our pack horses falling down its sides into the precipices and becoming utterly useless. In spite of the painfulness of the journey, we kept on climbing till we reached the top, everyone being exhausted, wet with perspiration, and so out of breath that he could not pronounce a single word. The top once gained, we followed the direction of the mountain ridge. Night came on, and the darkness was so intense that we were unable to recognize one another. Besides the road being very slippery, it was very narrow, crossed by thorny trees, and close to deep precipices, which appeared to be only waiting to receive some lives into their depths. But with our five senses we gave all our attention to our walking. Nevertheless, some of the pack horses became victims of the precipices.

We reached the place where we had to begin descending the mountain ridge. The road was so steep that it seemed to be vertical. Many of us taking a step had to prolong it for 50 yards—that is, we fell and rolled over and over like a ball. Thanks to the thick branches of the trees covering the mountain ridge, as they defended us from the precipices and counteracted the diversions (sic) of falling.

Nine o’clock arrived and the light of the moon enabled us to see. Though the moonlight scarcely penetrated the interior of the mountain ridge, owing to the bushes and trees, yet it was of great assistance to us.

In spite of the difficulties of the road and the great number of falls, we kept the march without halting, until at 11.30 p.m. we reached the foot of the mountain ridge, where the Cagaranan settlement is located.

We ate supper at 12 o’clock and then went to sleep. It should be noted that the greater part of our soldiers had not yet arrived, as those constituting the vanguard (sic) arrived about 3 a.m.; and also that First Lieut. Alberto Bautista left this morning for Cagayan Valley, having been specially commissioned by the honorable president to establish the Katipunan society in those regions.

May 1, 1900

At 3 a.m. the honorable president received a report from Guinaang settlement to the effect that some 100 Americans are en route here to attack us. This news was confirmed about 5 o’clock in the afternoon by two letters; one from Dolores and the other from Balbalasan, both of which state that the Americans are going to attack us.

April 23, 1900

At 7 this morning the honorable president, accompanied by Señors Barcelona, Gatmaitan, Carasco, and a squad of cavalry, set out to reconnoiter the roads leading to the settlements of Guinaang and Balimbing. At 8 o’clock at night Señor V. received telegram (sic) from the honorable president, stating that they had arrived in Guinaang without incident, and that they would spend the night there.

April 8 and 9, 1900

Nothing of importance.

The honorable president is preparing for a decisive attack on Bangued.

On the afternoon of the 9th the honorable president attended the drilling by the soldiers, and his attention was attracted to a 16-year-old boy among them, who, besides being well versed in tactics, showed by his bearing that he was of noble and refined parents. The honorable president, unable to resist his affection for the boy, had Major Gatmaitan called, and then asked him who that boy was. The major told him that the boy was a son of the lawyer Ventus, of Nueva Ecija Province, who was shot by the Spaniards during the revolution of 1896. Then the honorable president at once sent for the boy, who did not delay in presenting himself, and asked him who he was, and how and by what means he had entered the army. The boy replied that his name was Paquito Ventus, a son of a man shot by the Spaniards; that his father was a paralytic years before the misfortune; that his mother had also been dead some time; that he had eight brothers, but five of these were minors like himself; that impelled by the profound grief under which he was suffering he entered the Filipino ranks of General Tinio’s brigade; that his present rank was that of a corporal; and that during a fight with the Americans in Ilocos he was on the point of being captured, but owing to the fight taking place in the mountains he had been able to escape by climbing up among the precipices.

When asked by the honorable president if his ideas were firm and inflexible, he replied that he would prefer to live and die in these mountains rather than submit to foreign rule. The honorable president immediately ordered the captain of the company to strike Ventus’s name off the rolls, as the honorable president would take charge of him. Since then Ventus has been in the honorable president’s quarters, being well treated and considered as a veritable son.