December 19, 1942

Yesterday I found Lulu’s stag dinner was Lt. Col. Manolo Enriquez’ idea as Manolo and I were real friends of Lulu during my PMA days when Manolo was my mentor. But it was a risky gathering in Manila where Kempei-Tai HQ is. I hope I will not find myself in future similar situation. In any case, according to previous arrangements, Mr. Go Beng and his truck picked me and my family at Tennessee St. early morning four days ago (Dec 15) to transfer to Bayombong. My family includes my wife, Lucy, baby Cecilia 4 1/2 months old and my 14 year old sister, Effie. Lucy and Effie are so excited to live with me in Bayombong after hearing about the Baguio-like climate of Vizcaya. It was a rough two-days truck voyage sleeping overnight in San Jose, N. Ecija but we finally arrived in Bayombong about 1400 Dec. 16. Mrs. Reyes did an excellent job preparing our newly rented house Lucy and Effie both love at first sight.

I reported back for duty Dec. 17 and I left my wife and sister settle in our new house which is only a block away. Today the Reyes, Mendoza, Madella, Zuraek, Lozano and Prudenciado families who are our new neighbors gave us a surprise welcome party at Mrs Reyes’ residence across the street. My family is so happy to meet our new neighbors who are so warm and friendly.

December 10, 1942

In  accordance with my plan and with the approval of my Senior Inspector, I boarded Mr. Go Beng’s Truck for Manila 2 days ago (Dec. 8) to get my family in Manila arriving yesterday noon at our Tennessee Residence.  Mr. Go Beng told me their next truck going to Cagayan Valley will leave Manila Dec. 15 and he agreed to accommodate my family going to Bayombong.  Needless to say my wife, Lucy, was so happy to see me back with the good news that she is coming with me Dec. 15 with Baby Cecilia now a big baby at four months.  Needless to say it was a happy homecoming after an absence of more than a month.

Upon my arrival yesterday, my wife gave me a note from SA. Pablo Naval requesting me to call him at a certain phone number when I arrived which I did.

This morning, I got a surprise phone call from Ms. Lulu Reyes inviting me to a stag dinner come Saturday Dec.12 which I accepted.  I knew Lulu since I was a cadet at PMA as she was a prominent socialite.  Now she is a social worker working with Mrs Josefa L. Escoda helping former POWs.  Her Malate house is only a few blocks away.  Since I have not seen Lulu for some time, I am eager to attend her dinner wondering how she knew my presence in Manila and my phone number.

December 3, 1942

Through the BC Check Point in Bayombong, I learned that Mr. Go Beng’s truck enroute to Isabela will sleep in Bayombong evening Dec. 7 on return trip to Manila. I made arrangements to board that truck Dec. 8 for Manila to get my family which I have alerted a week ago that our house to be rented will be ready and available on Dec. 16.

On the subject of check points, the Constabulary (BC) of Vizcaya maintains three check points namely (1) Balete Pass in Santa Fe that controls the entrance to the province; (2) Bayombong where BC HQ is and (3) Bagabag the northernmost town. The main purpose of a check points is to check all civilian vehicles for unauthorized firearms, subversive elements and other items listed from time to time that may be inimical to peace and order.

November 5, 1942

Go Beng’s Truck came to pick me up at 0830 three days ago (Nov 3) at my Tennessee residence for my trip to N. Vizcaya. It was a pleasant surprise to see Mr. Go Beng himself who told me he was going to Tuguegarao. Before bidding my wife goodbye I introduced her to Mr. Go Beng, then started our trip with me seated in the front seat with Mr. Go Beng and the driver. There were five other passengers accommodated with the merchandise area. I developed a good rapport with Mr. Go Beng who owns six trucks trading merchandise from Manila to Cagayan Valley. Trucks like he has are rare with shortage of fuel and travel very slow with the mixture of alcohol and gasoline as fuel. We finally arrived in San Jose, N. Ecija (after a short stop in Cabanatuan for lunch) at 5:00 P.M. or eight hours that normally only takes four. We stayed overnight in San Jose and early the following day, Nov. 4, we were climbing the rugged Cordillera Mt. towards Santa Fe, the first town of Vizcaya. The area we just passed is an excellent place for ambuscade, reason for not traveling at night. We then passed the town of Aritao and had lunch in Bambang after which we proceeded to Bayombong arriving at Bayombong Hotel at 1400H.

While checking at the hotel, the Manager, Mr. Verzosa, handed me a note from Lt. Col. (not Major anymore) Manuel Enriquez that he wanted to see me ASAP. I have an excellent accommodation and at 1700H, Pablo Naval knocked at my door and once inside, told me the bad news that L.Col. Nakar and his men were captured by the Japanese at Jones, Isabela area and that L.Col. Enriquez took over the command while the rest of the units are on the run. Naval told me that Enriquez wanted to see me ASAP and since he knows where he is, I agreed to go as soon as it gets dark. He had a caretela ready and took off towards Solano as soon as dusk fell. At barrio Bonfal, we debarked, walked about two kms westward and arrived at the place where I will meet Enriquez. It is 9:00pm and I waited another half hour at this place which is at the foot of the mountain, where a group of men that included Enriquez arrived.

Manolo Enriquez was excited and embraced me like a long lost brother. Needless to say I was very happy and grateful. He then introduced me as Major Alcaraz, handing me my appointment with the 14th Inf. He said it was unfortunate Col. Nakar was captured but we have to carry on the mission. I was to Command the new N. Vizcaya Bn. to compose the company under Capt. Guillermo Aban and the company under Capt. Fernando Asuncion together with the BC Company. Capts. Aban and Asuncion were introduced to me and then we moved to another room for confidential intructions and info that include the fact that the 14th Inf. is on the run, the need for secrecy discipline and that he is moving his HQ to Baguio area. I demanded that there be no written communications, that messages between him and me would be transmitted verbatim by an intelligent loyal courier for which Pablo Naval was agreed upon. It was also agreed that our initial activities are to lay low, organize and collect intelligence while I familiarize myself with the people and terrain of N. Vizcaya.

I stayed the entire evening catching up events with L.Col. Enriquez as we slept on adjacent cots. He told me he will inform other unit Comdrs. in the Field like Maj. Romulo Manriquez, Capt. Patricio Dumlao and Lt. Luis Casumpang about me and the new Bn. I will command. He also mentioned that Don Juan Elizalde is our Financial Supporter and that other associates like Col. Alfredo Ramirez and Capt. Juan Calvo may contact me later.

Early this morning, after breakfast, Pablo Naval escorted me back to barrio Bonfal where the caretela was waiting and I went back alone to Bayombong Hotel. After lunch, I dressed up with my BC uniform as 5th Class Inspector, and reported to HQ, BC Bayombong whose Senior Inspector Antonio C. Diano ’19 is so happy to welcome me. I found that we have a BC Company composed mostly of former PA and Phil. Scout soldiers many of whom are Bataan veterans. I like my assignment here specially the temperate climate like Baguio. My reporting formally to this BC post makes my written obligations signed as a POW fulfilled. I feel free again!

October 27, 1942

My San Lazaro Hospital malingering helped me escape that Mindanao assignment and in the process, my providential contact with my former PMA mentor Maj. Manuel P. Enriquez, ExO. 14t Inf. Guerillas of LCol. G. Nakar, made possible my new assignment in Bayombong, N. Vizcaya.  I look forward to going to my new post, specially what Maj. Enriquez has in store for me.  I plan to go to Bayombong alone leaving my family in Manila to adjust to my new environs but my problem is transportation.  It is a problem nationwide. There are no public transportation anywhere since the Japanese occupation.

Last night, a man visited me at home with a note of introduction from Maj. Enriquez saying that bearer, Pablo Naval, is his man from N. Vizcaya that may be of help.  With regards to transportation, Mr. Naval confirmed no public transportation but only private business traders using trucks are available going to Cagayan Valley.  And so today, Mr. Naval accompanied me to Azcarraga St. and helped me book with Mr. Go Beng, a chinese merchant leaving Manila Nov. 3 arriving Bayombong Nov. 4.  Mr. Naval also suggested that I check in Bayombong Hotel on my arrival there as he will make reservations for me when he returns by the end of the month.  Now that my transportation problem is solved, I started preparing for my journey to Cagayan Valley where the 14th Infantry is operating.  Before Mr. Naval departed I asked him if  it is possible I could meet Maj. Enriquez Nov. 4 or 5, or before I report to the Senior Inspector, BC in Bayombong who does not know my arrival date.