December 9, 1941

Some boys came to school, not knowing that classes had been suspended. The Fathers and the workers went to the seashore in the school bus to get sand with which to barricade the vestibule entrance with sandbags. A van came from Calamba with sacks and more sand from Pasay. It will take us more than a week to cover the windows and doors with about a thousand sacks of sand. We took off our habits and started to work. We were helped by some students and cadets.

By midmorning, we were taken aback by American soldiers installing a big anti-aircraft in front of Letran College. Two of the soldiers, soiled and emaciated, with their rifles hanging, approached me asking for confession. I invited them to the chapel. They knelt without putting down their rifles.

After hearing their confession and giving them communion, I asked them to take a cup of coffee. They said they came from Clark Air Base. The night before and early in the morning, the Japanese raid had caused enormous destruction. They could not tell how many American planes were burned or how many pilots, mechanics and officers were killed. Casualties were heavy on their side. They were scared, but they left Letran physically and spiritually relieved.

Other camps in the outskirts of Manila—Nichols, Murphy, McKinley—have suffered similar destructions. Fires can be seen from all over the city. From our roof, they look imposing. Witnesses inform us that many houses are burning in Baclaran.

In the afternoon, the anti-aircraft gun in front of Letran College was removed, to our great relief. The same thing is happening in other places where pieces of artillery had been installed. The military placed them, removed them. There seems to be widespread confusion in the military organization. Cars, trucks and buses ply about with a seeming lack of direction. The military have begun commandeering vehicles for the transport of military personnel. They pay well for their use or purchase.

The infernal barking of guns continued throughout the night. One could not tell whether they were firing at the planes, at people, at the lights, or at ghosts.

Heaps of bamboo poles were being burned during the night. They were arranged like fans and inverted cones. As they burned, they presented a pictureque and beautiful sight, if one was in the mood to enjoy the spectacle.

We were told that the youth would be called to active duty, especially those who had already been trained in college and those who had complied with military training in cadres. Many want to be reactivated, and they have volunteered. Most of them were told to wait. The country is in danger and the youth are anxious to defend her, but their services are not accepted. Here is an enigmatic irregularity that is hard to explain.

September 3, 1941

Our Q-Boat depth charge firing exercises against submarine targets will continue during the week to finally complete the training program. Then, I understand the selection Board headed by C,OSP Capt. Andrada will announce the permanently  designated officers and crew of Q-111 Luzon; Q-112 Abra; and Q-113 Agusan. There are only six slots for Os to come from fifteen prospective candidate that are undergoing this rigid training.  I am keeping my fingers crossed. For EMs, there will be only 17 coveted slots.

Aside from the FA, CAC, and PAAC Training Schools activated two days ago, the following Training Schools are activated today to train the hundreds Os being mobilized:

  • Medical School at Ft. McKinley under Maj. Joseph U. Weaver MC USA
  • Medical School at Camp Murphy under Maj. Jack W. Schwartz MC USA
  • QM & Motor Trpt. School at Port Area, Manila under Maj. Michael Quinn QMS
  • US Signal School at Ft. McKinley under Capt. Lassiter Mason SigC USA
  •  Engineers School at Ft. McKinley under Lt. Antonio C. Chanco CE PA USAFFE
  • Infantry Schools at every Mobilization Centers in all Military Districts.

Manila News today say Nazi forces overran Smolensk after three weeks fighting Stalin’s Army and is now about 200 miles from Moscow.  Meanwhile, British and Russian forces invaded Iran announcing their intention is only to get rid of German Agents and Technicians residing in Iran. They said their forces will withdraw as soon as the threat of German invasion or 5th Column Operation is nullified.

June 28, 1941

Today’s Manila News says Finland declared War on USSR.  And Louis Chevrolet, builder of my favorite car, died at age 63, but I am still very much in love with that Chevy Apple Green Coupie.  Let me continue to pay tribute by mentioning those early military pioneers.  The PC being the core of our new PA, PCA Alumni are the primary source and its roster from 1907 to 1935 only totals 508 which means there were only about 400 to select from.  Maj Porfirio Zablan and Lt Pelagio Cruz of the PAAC came from this pool.  Other sources are the Phil Scouts (PS) and US Army’s Phil Depmt (USA) at Ft McKinley.  My friend, Lt Luis Villareal, former Jr Aide to the Pres, informed me that Quezon was personally involved in the selection of these pioneers.  He first selected Gen Vicente Lim USMA ’14 to be the G-1 of C/S Paulino Santos.

Early PS recruits were Cols Fidel Segundo for UP; Pastor Martelino, Capts Rufo Romero and Emmanuel Cepeda for PMA.  These PS Os were promoted one rank higher which was termed assimilated ranks.  Maj. Paciano Tangco who had an aptitude for radio communication was picked by Quezon to pioneer the Signal Corps. He was assisted by Capt Lasseter Mason USA SigC. Then came the UP group headed by Lt Francisco Licuanan & Manuel Quiogue; thence by Manuel Syquio, Amos Francia and Jose Rodriguez from PMA. They built a great Branch of Service.

I remember Miss Rosky Santos, beautiful daughter of C/S Gen Santos who used to attend our Yearling summer hops as a drag of Cav Pedro Francisco.  I wonder where she is now. 

June 18, 1941

News we got in Manila today states that Washington (DC) orders all German Consulates in USA be closed.  At the same time, Canadian Prime Minister King pledges total support to British  war effort.  On the other hand, Turkey signs Friendship Pact with Hitler.

I also have seven magnificent classmates in the Civil Engineer (CE) Corps, an elite branch that qualifies only those who graduated with the first 10% bracket in academics. The CE Corps  is also a new PA branch of Sv organized in late 1936 at a remote place east of Camp Murphy at Santolan Road.  As of  this date, my seven classmates in the CE are: Lt. Licurgo Estrada, Aide to Def Sec Teofilo Sison;  Lt Washington Sagun, (my wife for two years) ExO, 31st Engr Bn;  Lt Cipriano de Leon, ExO, 81st Engr Bn;  Lt Reynaldo Bocalbos, Cadre Comdr, Engr Cadre, Calape, Bohol; Lt Pedro M Yap, ExO, 1st Engr Bn; Lt Pedro B Francisco, ExO, 71st Engr Bn; and Lt Ramon Olbes, ExO, 51st Engr Bn.  Lts Licurgo Estrada and Pedro Yap were full pledge Civil Engineers when they entered PMA.  Lt Olbes was originally with us at the OSP but due to sea sickness, transferred to CE.  He was also the Baron at PMA for two years, a record difficult to surpass.

Let me tell you about the three remaining classmates whose whereabouts have not been covered.  Two of them joined the Signal Corps namely Lt Jose Rodriguez who is presently assigned as Instructor at  the Signal Troop School in Fort Mckinley.  The other, Lt Amos Francia, a fellow Bulakenio and a relative is the Div Signal O, 61st Div.  The third, Lt Florencio Causin, the best class horseman went to the Cavalry and is at present assigned to PMA as Equitation Officer.

Just as the practice today, before graduation, we were given three choices of branch of service listing by priority.  Many of my classmate chose the PAAC, OSP, CAC. FA, Inf, etc but none the PC because we felt that one does not need to have a BS degree to do police work.  Our mind was conditioned to technical matters to apply the vast academic  knowledge we have. On my part, I chose the OSP as I predicted a maritime Philippines of more than 7,000 islands whose territorial area is 75% water needs sea power as its primary defense like Japan and England to be a great nation. Capt. Jose V Andrada, USNA ’31, then C,OSP came personally to PMA to interview the many applicants and I was lucky to be among the magnificent seven selected. This accounts for all the 79 members of Class ’40 and their whereabouts.

August 13-17, 1936

August 15 at Rafferty’s dinner (Grawfus). I sat between Alfonso Sy Cip and Romulo, head of the Herald. Romulo told me of his dramatic defiance of General Wood, when the latter called him on the carpet for the attitude of his paper–(all of which was published in the Herald at the time); of the magnificent impromptu speech by Quezon in defense of my administration at a banker’s dinner in San Francisco. Romulo also said Manuel Roxas is “laying low”; that Quezon was mentioning my name to be first for inscription on the gold plate to be put up at Malacañan (on the first anniversary of the Commonwealth) to commemorate those Americans &c &c–Romulo also remarked: “it would be terrible if the Republicans won the election in the United States.”

Reception at Malacañan this night. As we had dined first at Colonel Garfinkel’s at Fort McKinley, we arrived after the reception line had dissolved and after the Rigodon had been danced. Quezon was in very good form and was pleased to show various improvements he had made in the Palace, which is now lighted by the great chandeliers from the old Ayuntamiento and was cheerfully bright for the first time since the Cimmerian darkness of the Murphy regime. The cabaret downstairs was dreadfully overcrowded. No whiskey was served at the bar. Dancers were streaming with sweat. Traffic, however, was better managed than I have ever seen it, for three different parking places were provided with a telephone to each. The refusal of Quezon to have whiskey and soda served surprised me more than anything I have ever known him to do. It can hardly have been the monastic influence of his predecessor! Anyway it made most of the guests leave early to dash for the Manila Hotel. However, Quezon himself, went to bed at 10:30 so he can’t have cared how early the guests left. Mrs. Quezon appeared, and was very agreeable.

June 17, 1936

The message was excellent, and contained the following reference to agrarian reform:

In the meantime, I recommend the adoption of measures similar to those which were adopted in Ireland to solve agrarian problems there existing from time immemorial. I also recommend the immediate passage of a law authorizing the expropriation of those portions of the large haciendas which are urban in character and occupied by the houses of the tenants.

Saw the President on the balcony at Malacañan, and congratulated him on his message, though his somewhat impromptu speeches and papers are usually his best, because they give more of the ardor and passion of his personality. He called me over and kept Secretary Yulo and Justice Recto &c waiting in order to give me the following letter he had written (in long hand) in reply to mine of thanks for the trip on the Negros:

Malacañan Palace, June 17, 36.

Dear Governor:

Your note of the fifteenth is very much appreciated.

In asking you to join me in my trips I am only seeking my own pleasure and profit. Your company brings back to memory those happy days of our former association and offers me the opportunity–which I can seldom have in Manila–to get your views and encouragement on the plans I have which may be a little too advanced for some of my associates. It is a source of great satisfaction that you feel as much pleased with the trip as I am.

Yours

Manuel.

I expressed myself as very happy to have this letter. Then I took up with him his very frank and bold renouncing of the purchase of the remaining Friar Estates, and congratulated him on recanting his former views. (This is one thing I have been trying since last Autumn to spare his government.) I told him that his “Board of Arbitration” in my bill on Landlord and Tenant, as taken from the Irish Land Acts, was the Land Commission, and I had given them the power to purchase (with his approval and action by the Assembly) all or part of any of these estates; that it was better for him to have the power to use in an emergency, even if he didn’t exercise it. He agreed. I also told him that after his message a lot of the agitation and trouble would die down–he agreed. Hoped he could now induce the more turbulent tenants to move to Mindanao.

Talked with Colin Hoskins on phone about the landlord and tenant bill–he said “the failure to purchase the Friar Estates would disappoint some important churchmen.”

I took the bill down to Diokno’s office for remoulding.

N.B. on the Negros Quezon had remarked that before the arrival of the Americans in the Philippines, venereal diseases were almost unknown here. I told him with what reluctance in May 1917 I had closed the “Red Light” district of Manila, when the Commanding General of Fort McKinley brought me President Wilson’s Executive Order thereon, referring to eliminating such districts within a certain number of miles of an army post. This General was equally reluctant to act, saying: “I founded it myself in 1901 when I was Provost Marshal here”–Quezon said this closing had spread prostitution and venereal disease greatly here.

Talk with Secretary of Finance Alas on the standardization of salaries; he emphasized the view that this must be undertaken, and it was better to get it over with now, however disagreeable this may be. He admitted however that the higher salaries of the City of Manila and of Provincial Governors must also be readjusted.

February 4, 1912

Arrived Manila early morning. Went into dock about 7:30 a.m. Left transport at 9:00 a.m. and took carimetta [carromata] to Signal Corps post. Very pretty city. Fine quarters. Met several Signal Corps boys I knew. Annual carnival in progress. Big doings. Witnessed parade and aeroplane flight made by Lee Hammond, Baldwin aviator. Expect to go to Ft McKinley tomorrow. Native are queer set, wearing scarcely any clothes; women smoke same as men in the streets. Very shiftless.