Through investigation made by Lieutenant Valentin it became known this morning that the Christian prisoners captured by Captain Pilar on the 16th of March, and who were suspected by the honorable president, are the accomplices of the Igorrote Binuangan, and the originators of the information report which he wrote.
By the order of the honorable president, this morning at 5 o’clock 25 soldiers, under command of officers Del Pilar and Valentin, set out for the Guilayen settlement to secure in said settlement some 20 carabaos to furnish us all meat, and likewise some salt, since for some days we have been eating neither meat nor salt, though we have never been in want of rice, which exists here in abundance.
By order of the honorable president, all the sergeants and corporals have been practicing with the heliograph since 9 o’clock this morning.
After supper, which was at 6 o’clock, the honorable president, in a conversation with B., V., and Lieutenant Carasco, told them that as soon as the independence of our country was declared he would give each one of them an amount of land equal to what he himself will take for the future of his own family, that is, he will give each one of the three Señores 13,500 acres of land as a recompense for their work; and also that these plantations will be located adjoining one another in such a manner that they will lie in the same province. In all probability they will be located in the San Jose Valley, province of Nueva Ecija, and the principal products will be coffee, cocoa, sugar, rice, and cattle.
About 8.30 Señor Carasco withdrew in order to go to sleep. When he was beginning to go to bed, Lieutenant Carasco, the adjutant, came back calling for the honorable president and crying out “A coup! Good news!” Then the honorable president and his two companions, V. and B., got up at once, struck a light and bade Lieutenant Carasco to enter. The lieutenant came and delivered to the honorable president an official report from Captain Villareal, dated 13th instant, in which he informs the honorable president that in the Pial settlement, in the jurisdiction of Abra, our forces, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Villamor, had successfully couped 200 Americans. It came about in this way: By means of their spies, the American troops in Abra got news that the Filipino forces were in quasi hiding at the Pial settlement. The United States military commander in Abra Province at once ordered 200 Americans to go to said settlement for the purpose of capturing or pursuing said insurgents. Those brave Americans started out immediately, without paying any attention to the difficulties of the mountain through which they were to pass. Night came on, and they were still a long way from Pial settlement. So they had to rest in the rice fields where night overtook them, probably intending to resume the march on the next day. But at midnight Lieutenant-Colonel Villamor’s column took advantage of the sound sleep of the Americans, closed in on them in a small circle, and then opened fire from all sides. The Americans finding themselves in the center where the Filipino balls converged, could not even fire their guns. A great panic reigned among them without their knowing what to do, many dying and others being wounded after half an hour’s firing by our troops. Only one of the Americans was saved.
By that victory our forces gained 200 guns and cartridge boxes, with a considerable number of cartridges and also a large quantity of food supplies.
Everybody got up at 4 a.m. They cooked and ate breakfast. At 7.20 o’clock we left Dancalan and took up the march for the next settlement. Each one of us was provided with the trunk of a tree (sic), a kind of walking stick, which we used in ascending and descending the mountains in order to sustain ourselves and avoid the frequent falls, causing bodily injury. We traveled among mountains of ordinary height, perhaps not over 800 meters. The roads being closed two Ifugaos opened the way for us.
In these mountains there is much vegetation and so we did not suffer from the heat nor anything, though we never halted on the march.
At 2.30 p.m. we reached a river. We ate here and immediately afterwards resumed the march. At 5 p.m. we arrived at the Gaang settlement, a place completely deserted because its inhabitants had left on account of our approach; and before abandoning their houses they had taken away the floors and hidden them. Therefore we arrived here without being able to find lodging in their huts. Our journey this day has been an easy one and we did not suffer as on other days. To-morrow we will go on to Lubu.
The headman and others of Lubu came up to see us at this Gaang settlement. Speaking of the singing of the Gaddans, this is the first night we have had the pleasure of hearing them. The singing is very similar in every respect to that of the Chinese. The Gaddans serving as our guides and those who came over from Luba sung in chorus this night until about 8 o’clock.
At 6 o’clock in the morning, and without eating breakfast, we started on the march for Escaris. After five hours of marching we again arrived in our Escaris camp at 11 o’clock, nothing important having occurred en route.
We had been informed some days before that many of our forces were in Nueva Viscaya, and this was the motive which lead the honorable president to think of returning to Escaris. At 3 o’clock in the afternoon a courier was dispatched to our Viscaya forces with orders for them to come and join us; likewise orders were given for the capture of the two deserted orderlies.
We left Alimit at 8 o’clock in the morning, going toward Mayaoyao. This day is a memorable one for us. We continue the march through mountains, which are higher than former ones and which present difficult ascents. Heat, hunger, and thirst give us a nauseating sickness. Excessive perspiration is wasting our energies, and our legs and knees are weak and tremulous. The ascents almost form an acute angle. Many of our soldiers faint.
When we arrived at the top of the mountain range which we saw from below, we find that there are other ascents still higher. This fact worries us, because we are already very much exhausted; but we can not stop, since, there being no vegetation on this mountain, the heat of the sun would kill us immediately.
We continue the journey in spite of these difficulties. It is 2 o’clock in the afternoon. The soldiers are crawling along on all fours and weeping. But they are afraid to stay here, and hence, notwithstanding their great suffering, they force themselves along on the march.
At 4 o’clock in the afternoon we are able to make out the settlement to which we are going. We forced the marching, and at 6 o’clock p.m. we arrive at Mayaoyao.
We have succeeded in buying rice and pork in this settlement, and so we have passed a comfortable night. But we have to eat without salt—a thing somewhat difficult for one unaccustomed to it.
We have stayed here in this settlement two days.
Yesterday afternoon about 5 o’clock news came through an Igorrote that many armed forces had arrived in Babuyan. He could not say for certain whether the forces are ours or those of the enemy, since he is not yet accustomed to distinguish them, but he says their faces are similar to ours. Two Igorrote spies were immediately dispatched to said point, to reconnoiter (and determine) if the forces are our own or those of the enemy. Our said spies returned the following day, the 21st, at about 8 a.m., reporting that there was no such a force. Immediately on receipt of the information that there were forces in Babuyan, all our troops got ready for the march to Ambayuan, with the ladies who are accompanying us. But the ladies will go forward with Captain Villareal’s soldiers, who will serve them as a guard. Col. Manuel Sytiar, of the staff, has gone along with them. Afterwards the remaining forces will march with the honorable president. The departure of the women, including the P. [must have intended “M.,” mother—J. C. H.] and the sister of the honorable president, took place at 7.20 this morning; and they had scarcely gone a distance of 2 kilometers when our spies arrived [from Babuyan—J. C. H.]. On being informed that there was no such force in Babuyan, the honorable president changed his idea about taking up the march and told Barcelona and Villa that as the day was already well advanced, and hence night would overtake us on Mount Polis, he for his part preferred to start on the following day.
The sun is beclouded; it is a sad day to us. The fresh breeze gently moves the trees. The separation from the women—from those beings who give us life and courage—or, better said, our solitude in this mountain, throughout every part of which is seen only the abyss of death—sorely afflicts us.
That atmosphere of grief compelled Barcelona and Villa to express their opinion to the honorable president to the effect that having decided to march it would be best to do so, as it was very probable that we would have to spend the night in Ambayuan anyway. In view of these statements the honorable president agreed that we should continue the journey. So in fact we started from Banane at 10.45 a.m. We commenced to ascend that lofty Mount Polis, which is 2,700 meters high. Continuing our march without cessation, at 5 o’clock in the evening we passed a beautiful spring, and there we ate a little to refresh ourselves. But we had not yet covered half the ascent.
After dinner, which never required fifteen minutes, we resumed the march.
Night is coming upon us; our vision grows dim, our legs and knees are already weak and tremulous, our breathing laborious, and the thirst is intense. The clinging mud increases our troubles. The night is very dark. The leafy mountain trees shut out the starlight of the heavens. We no longer see one another. Along that narrow path—18 inches wide—which we travel lie the deep precipices of death; and looking down into their depths suffices to make one have a feeling of faintness and swimming in the head, or to imagine himself on the edge of death. Each one of us uses as a guide the trunk [sic] of a tree, probing into the darkness with the point of it for the location of an abyss.
It is 9 o’clock at night. We are perhaps at an elevation of some 2,300 meters. Ascents are still awaiting us; hunger! thirst!—we are sick and faint. Corporeal fatigue prostrates us; darkness terrifies us; yet we continue our journey, almost crawling. We reach the summit at 10 o’clock at night. Here we see the firmament, since the top of the mountain is not covered with trees.
Our breathing is more easy. We stop on the summit to rest a little. We are exhausted; we lie down on the ground without a “petate.” [Native bedcovering of woven bamboo.—J. C. H.]. The intense cold makes our teeth chatter. Soon a profound slumber and great exhaustion has robbed us of intelligence.
At 2 o’clock in the morning the honorable president awoke and ordered that we should continue the march. We all awoke with our clothes wet with dew.
The march is not painful now, because we are descending this lofty mountain, which is 2,700 meters high. We pay no attention to the hunger and thirst; it is only the cold that troubles us.
The aurora of the day scatters her first rays upon the universe; and the small amount of light gives us courage. Our march is more rapid in proportion as the daylight appears; we are also nearing the foot of the mountain. We continue the descent.
At 5 o’clock in the afternoon the honorable president received a verbal report from two officers coming from Mount Tila, to the effect that the Americans had taken all our trenches in Tila; that General Pilar had been killed by being shot through the head; that other soldiers had also been killed; and they, the officers, were sure the Americans must be in Angaqui at this very hour. According to the statement of the officers, General Pilar died at 10 o’clock a.m.
At 8 p.m. the honorable president, his retinue, and the remaining troops marched out of Cervantes and started for the Cayan settlement, reaching there at 12 o’clock midnight, and immediately going on toward Tadian. At this last-mentioned place we took a direction toward Bagnen.
At every step we found the mountains getting higher and the cold more chilling. It was 3 o’clock in the morning. A strong wind was blowing. The cold becoming more and more intense was penetrating almost to our bones. Our skins had become dead to feeling and our lips drawn and purple from cold. We traveled on over the precipices, which each moment seemed to get deeper because we were getting higher and higher. The first rays of the sun shone dimly in the east and night bade us farewell; but the intensity of the cold was the same.
We never halted in our journey. At 6 o’clock in the morning we could make out the settlement of Bagnen, and one hour later we arrived there.
At 6 o’clock this morning General Pilar requested the honorable president to let him visit the trenches located on Mount Tila. The general immediately mounted his horse and started for the mountain, 1,300 meters high. At 10 o’clock that night he sent the honorable president a report, informing him that from Mount Tila he saw the enemy as they were entering Conception.
After eating a hearty breakfast for fear we might be unable to eat at noon, we left Tubao at 8 a.m. and marched toward Aringay, in Union Province. After a comfortable journey—for some of us were in vehicles and some on horseback—we arrived at that town, where all the leading people turned out to greet us. After the honorable president had urged these to be patriotic, we continued the march toward Cava, and thence directly to Baoang.
We reached the last-named town at 2 o’clock p.m. After resting for one hour, we set out for Naguilian, Union Province, arriving at 6 p.m. Here a band of music, all the leading men of the town, and a great crowd of people turned out to meet us.
We have taken quarters in the convent.