Saturday, March 28, 1942

At 6:00 in the morning, left Bañga for Midsayap as scheduled arriving there at 10:30 a.m. At 3:30, proceeded on to the presidencia of Midsayap to meet Commissioner Guingona who arrived with the provincial officials of Cotabato headed by Governor Pablo. After the usual greetings, the Commissioner informed me that the conference would start upon the arrival of Colonel Manuel Roxas, former Secretary of Finance. Commissioner Guingona confided that Sec. Roxas was the one who requested him to send a radio or to telegraph me requesting the conference at Midsayap, but that for military reasons he did not want his presence in Mindanao known by outsiders, At 4:30 p.m., Sec. Roxas arrived at the presidencia of Midsayap accompanied by General Vachon, Commander of the 101st Division, and Col. Thompson, the Chief of staff of General Sharp, the Commanding General of the Mindanao forces. 3 other American officers from Del Monte also came with the party. After the usual greetings and presentations, Sec. Roxas opened the
meeting explaining the purpose of his trip to Mindanao.

He told his audience that upon the departure of President Quezon to Australia to join General MacArthur, the President delegated him to take charge of the affairs of the Commonwealth Government and also to act as liason officer between the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the U.S. and the Philippines and the Commonwealth Government. He briefly informed his audience, particularly the Commonwealth officials present, the message that President Quezon wanted to transmit to the people of the Mindanao, both those in the military and civil government. The main subject of his speech was his enjoining the officials and the civil population to cooperate fully with the military authorities in charge of the defense of Mindanao and to double their efforts in the increased production of foodstuffs.

The meeting adjourned at 6:00 p.m. General Vachon returned to his camp, while Roxas and the members of his party remained at Midsayap for the evening.

(Commissioner Guingona had made arrangements for Sec. Roxas and party to stop in the house of the Justice of the peace of Midsayap and I arranged to stay in the quarters of Captain Guballa.) After the adjournment of the meeting and after the departure of Gen. Vachon, Sec. Roxas took me to one corner of the building and has about 30 minutes talk with me. He told me that when he and the President arrived at Iligan, one of the first inquiry he made was “how is General Santos and how is the Koronadal Valley getting
along?” and the President was very anxious to know how the settlers and the employees were faring. Further, he said it was President Quezon who instructed him to send me a radiogram through Commissioner Guingona authorizing my drawing an amount not exceeding ₱50,000 a month to cover salaries and wages of employees of the NLSA actually working and that the President had every confidence in the NLSA being an important factor in the production of foodstuffs not only for the Army but also for the people of the Visayas who are liable to run short of food before the year is over. The Secretary confidentially told me about some of the outstanding Filipinos who formerly held high executive, legislative and judicial positions in the Commonwealth Government who have turned around and espoused the cause of the Japanese “Co-prosperity Sphere Policy” in the Far East. He said that both President Quezon and Gen. MacArthur received reliable reports from secret agents, that were left in Manila when they evacuated to Corregidor, about the identities of these Filipinos whose acts since the Japanese occupied Manila are a clear betrayal of their country. According to Sec. Roxas, Gen. MacArthur was particularly very highly indignant of the conduct of 4 of these men and that Gen. MacArthur has promised to see to it that when the day of reckoning comes they will get what is due them. Sec. Roxas also praised, in glowing terms, the conduct of the Filipino officers and men in both Bataan and Corregidor. He said their courage and bravery under fire have made Gen. MacArthur and the ranking American officers remark that they are equal to the best soldiers in the world regardless of race. Sec. Roxas added that unless the food and ammunitions in Bataan and Corregidor run out he has every confidence that the Japanese will not succeed in capturing these
two military posts.

When I arrived at Captain Guballa’s quarters, I inquired from the Captain whether the justice of the peace’s house had the necessary facilities to accommodate the visitors. Offhand he answered that he did not think the justice of the peace had enough beds and room for this men and he told me he was going to see Governor Pablo and Commissioner Guingona if they could not be prevailed upon to ask Sec. Roxas to come into Captain Guballa’s quarters instead. In a few minutes he returned with Sec. Roxas and the 4 American officers
and their baggage. Sec. Roxas himself told me that the Captain was very kind to have saved them from what would have been quite an embarrasing situation. The visitors took their baths and afterwards went to the dinner in the house of the justice of the peace. Then
they came back and Sec. Roxas and I had another half hour talk before retiring. From his talk with me and in the views he expressed I have come to the conclusion that the Secretary has grown in stature both as a politician and a statesman since I met him last before the war. He said that no matter what happens he will stick with General Wainright in Corregidor and Bataan
and that he is convinced that the American and Filipinos will in the end truimp if adequate reinforcement in arms and ammunitions are sent here, We talked on many other matters, Then we both went to sleep. I had a very restful night, one of the best I had since the war began.

March 26, 1942 – Thursday

Attended and served Mass. Returned to Del Monte. 12:30 p.m. went with Vice-President Osmeña to Mr Crawford’s evacuation house for lunch. Returned to Del Monte. Packed my valise for the airplane trip.

The planes arrived at 8:45 p.m. We could hear the roar of the engines from our house at Del Monte. At 10 p.m. we were told to get into automobiles already assigned to each person and member of the President’s party. Those that were to ride in Plane N-1 rode in cars N-1 and N-2. We were the President and his family, Dr. Trepp, Colonel Nieto, Chaplain Ortiz and myself. We arrived at the airfield at 10:40 p.m.; we were assigned to various places thus; Colonel Nieto & Chaplain Ortiz in the gunners cockpit in front. Dr. Trepp in the rear and the President, his family and myself in the radio operators compartment in the center of the plane. There was absolutely no comfort amenities, but we were willing to sacrifice every thing for safety. We took off exactly at 11 p.m. The moon was bright. I heard the roar of the four engines, then I felt a few bumps and a few seconds later I realized we were in the air. The first part of the journey was pleasant although I felt cold. I was sitting on a box in the bomb compartment and there was a cold draft coming from a small opening in the floor of the compartment. A few minutes later the pilot Lieutenant Falkner came and asked me not to smoke as I was situated next to the two big tanks of gasoline. I assured him that there was no danger and I was not a smoker. I could notice we were climbing as it became colder and colder. My feet were almost frozen. Suddenly I felt a hand in the dark grabbing my left leg. I got up; it was the President. “Give me oxygen”, he said “I cannot breathe well”. I applied the oxygen apparatus to his nose. After a few minutes he said: “this does not function; I can not smell the oxygen.” I informed him that oxygen had no odor and consequently could not be smelled. The he said: “Tell the pilot not to climb too high as I cannot stand it.” I took his pulse; it was a little fast due to his fear but otherwise was alright. I spoke to the pilot who assured me that he would not go higher than 9,000 feet and as soon as the enemy bases had been passed he would come down to 6,000 ft.

I watched the moon playing hide and seek behind the clouds. I took my rosary and prayed fervently. I thought of my family, of my little Nucay (Charito) of those dear to me. What would become of them if the trip should end in a disaster? As the moon disappeared behind the horizon, I looked at my watch; it was 2 a.m. Then I looked at the stars, but these also disappeared as we entered clouds. The clouds become darker and thicker. Then I could hear the rain pounding on the plane. The President asked for oxygen again. Then as we entered a heavy rain squall the plane was lifted and dropped a few times by the strong winds. I did not like it. The President was quite worried. He asked me if there was any danger. I assured him that there was none. Suddenly I noticed that the pilot banked the plane and the flying became smoother, later he told us that he had gone around the squall. At 6 a.m. the pilot came to inform us that we had passed already the Japanese bases and were practically safe. I saw the sky become clearer and then the sun came out. Then I saw land and a little later Port Darwin. We landed at Batchelor’s Field at 7:45 a.m.