February 24, 1942

HQ, Bataan

 

Bert Misa and Saturn Velasco were here a few minutes ago. Touching sight. They looked like lost souls: thin, haggard, dirty, hungry, sunburnt. They joined as buck privates and they have to swallow everything their sergeant tells them. A private’s life is a dog’s life. Their sector is Limay beach. The poor fellows are being subjected to bombing and strafing every morning and afternoon and they only rest at night. They said: “We live underground most of the time.”

They said that Torre and Gregg are with them. Both fellows are also from Ateneo. Bert asked for a “little bit of sugar.” They complained that their daily food is nothing but salmon and lugao.

The other day Saturn found an egg. Everybody was happy but it was not enough for all of them. So they decided nobody was going to eat it.

Bert said that they pray the rosary every night. They gather all the fellows from school and those that care to join and then they pray the rosary. Gives them strength.

“After a bombardment,” Saturn said, “each one calls out for the name of the others, just to see if all are still alive.”

School-mates become more attached to each other here.

 

(later)

 

In staff meeting after dinner, the General said Japs are attempting to break through eastern sector. He stated that Japs emplaced cannons on barges pulled by motor boats and started shelling eastern shore.

Four raids this morning and three raids this afternoon. Right now there are planes flying but no bombs have been dropped yet. Our AA guns are still silent. Maybe waiting for them to fly lower.

Fred and Leonie are discussing about race prejudice. Some Americans here are too damned cocky.

 

(later)

 

Am officer of the night. Must post the sentinels.

Tried to write an article on Bataan. Couldn’t even get started.

Norman now speaking over Voice of Freedom. He reads the pep talk.

Leonie writing a radio drama. Romulo wants Vero Perfecto, Leoni, Norman and I to take part in a script depicting Bataan life in front.

Will write a script for Voice of Freedom. Will ask Leonie to fix it up.

Feeling hungry. Will pay P1,000 for a tenderloin steak. I don’t know why but I always think of steaks. Would love a cheese sandwich too.

Fred is calling Leonie and I. He says he was able to swipe a can of Condensed Milk from Major Panopio’s private supply. This will be a party, hooray.

February 7, 1942

I was at Corregidor Wharf to welcome M/S Kolambugan that arrived 0730 today from another “smuggling trip to Looc Cove” similar to what we did a week ago. This time Q-111 is the escort with Capt. Navarette CO & Sqdn. Comdr. and Capt. Panopio with the Kolambugan, a confident veteran now.  After our successful “smuggling opn” a week ago, USAFFE Hq adopted the SOP I established specially the coastal zigzag route. The indefatigable Maj. Rueda was able to procure another 3,000 tons of rice and 200 heads of cattle for USAFFE Hq to risk another attempt. I briefed Capt. Navarette and Cap Panopio on the SOP and the trip is successful. There is another “garapon” of pancit molo for the President from Rueda so I accompanied Navarrete to deliver it as he did not know the Quezon Lateral.

I was surprised to see the president very sick, constantly coughing still upset no reinforcements are coming. However, his eyes brightened when I gave him the flag of his sunken “Casiana” retrieved by my Gunner Sgt. Figuracion. Considering the 100,000 people in Bataan we have to feed which includes 20,000 civilian evacuees, the foodstuff smuggled by Kolambugan twice is just a drop in the bucket but it helps postpone the half rationing schedule being planned. Meanwhile, fighting continuous in the Battle of the Points behind the II Corps of Gen Wainwright with the enemy slowly being decimated every passing day.

On my way back to Q-112 at the wharf, I encountered my classmates Lts. Bartolome Cabangbang, Tomas Tirona, Damian Pavon and Alberto Aranzaso all PAAC pilots now without planes assigned to the AA Batteries in Corregidor. Aranzaso is one of our early heroes with Capt. Villamor shooting down enemy planes. It was a happy brief mini-reunion.  I felicitated them for their accomplishments as well as their comrades with the PAAC Inf Bn under Capt. Pelagio Cruz, my provincemate, that fought and defeated the enemy that landed behind our MLR  in the battle of Aglaloma Pt. The Voice of Freedom announced the heroism of this Bn as a Unit and cited the following officers awarded the Silver Stars (SS) for gallantry in action at Aglaloma: Capts. Pelagio Cruz; Eustacio Orobia; Pedro Q. Molina (Quezon’s nephew); and my Mistah Lt. Victor Osias. With the 5 SS earned by PAAC last Dec, they now have a total of 9 SS according to my book.

Amazing planeless PAAC, they still manage to earn SS as foot soldiers to show the world how versatile the USAFFE men are fighting in the jungles of Bataan that included young boys of a tender age like those Ateneo ROTC Volunteers very loyal to their Commandant, Capt. Eugenio G. Lara ’38. News report states that the Japanese are poised to land in Singapore which is supposed to be impregnable and defended by the British Forces.

February 1, 1942

The conference at USAFFE HQ presided by Col. R. Marshall G-4 that I attended addressed the acute food shortage of our Bataan troops.   Among others present in that conference were Lt. Col. Andres Soriano of San Miguel (CAD & asgd. w/G-4) and my friend Capt. Juan Panopio OSP (Res.) former Capt. of Pres. Yacht “Casiana” and now CO, M.S. Kolambugan, a freighter.  In that conference, it was decided that Q-112 escort M.S. Kolambugan break through enemy blockade under cover of darkness and sneak to Looc Cove, Batangas where a G-4 officer will deliver to us the foodstuff he procured. This mission is difficult as there are no aids to navigation and the approaches to Corregidor is blockaded.  After giving detailed instructions to Capt. Panopio and lending him my signalman, Q-112 with Kolambugan following shoved off Corregidor after sunset Jan. 30  darkenship, radio silence.  After passing the mine fields, I headed to Cavite coast hugging the coastline 2 miles off until we reached Looc Cove.

By prearranged signals, I contacted the G-4 Officer who turned out to be my townmate, Maj. Jose Ruedo ’27.  He directed us to a concealed anchorage where loading of rice and cattle started at once, continued the whole day of the 31st up to 1600 when 5,000 tons of rice and 300 heads of cattle were loaded aboard the M.S. Kolambugan.  In addition, Maj. Rueda gave me a gallon of pancit molo (native dumpling noodle soup) for Pres. Quezon. We left Looc Cove at 2000 tracing back our former route. The moon was bright and about midnight, my lookout reported seeing the snorkel of an unidentified sub, confirmed by my Exo, Lt. Gomez.  I signaled the Kolambugan what to do, sped to the reported location and dropped four dept charges, after which Q-112 and M.S. Kolambugan resumed  course to Corregidor arriving thereat 0700 today.  Col. Marshall and Lt. Col. Soriano were so glad to welcome us back bring food stuff whose weight is equivalent in gold for our starving Bataan troops.

Later, I proceeded to the Lateral of the Quezon Family to deliver Maj. Rueda’s pancit molo.  Mrs. Quezon was delighted saying it is the favorite soup of her husband. Mrs. Quezon brought me before the Pres. who was with Col. Charles Willoughby G-2. After thanking me for the pancit molo, Quezon resumed his talk with G-2. He seemed upset that no reinforcement was coming. I heard him say that America is giving more priority to England and Europe, reason we have no reinforcement.  “Puñeta”, he exclaimed, “how typically American to writhe in anguish over a distant cousin (England) while a daughter (Philippines) is being raped in the backroom”.

December 28, 1941 – Sunday

BVC-0001_Page_017

BVC-0001_Page_018

BVC-0001_Page_019

BVC-0001_Page_020

BVC-0001_Page_021

 

I attended Mass at 6:30 a.m. After Mass I had breakfast and then went to the cottage assigned to us to take a bath and change clothes. At 9 a.m. Colonel Willoughby G-2 USAFFE arrived and told me that General MacArthur wanted to see me ASAP. I dressed hurriedly and proceeded to the house of General Moore which General MacArthur was occupying. He received me and instructed me to proceed immediately to Manila and organize a Hospital Ship to leave Manila within 4 days with all serious patients of Sternberg General Hospital and added: No military personnel must be on board except the Commanding Officer of the unit and one nurse. The balance must be Red Cross personnel. We shook hands and I left. I realized that the mission was hard as I had been informed that the previous day the Japanese had severely bombed Manila Bay and had sunk various ships.

We left Corregidor on a Q Boat. It took us 45 minutes to negotiate the distance. The picture of Manila Bay with all the ships either sunk or in flames was one of horror and desolation. We landed at the Army and Navy Club.

I rushed immediately to Red Cross Headquarters. I informed Mr. Forster, Manager Philippine Red Cross, and Mr. Wolff, Chairman of the Executive Board of my mission. I then called the Collector of Customs Mr. de Leon and I asked him what ships were still available for my purpose. He offered the government cutter Apo. I accepted. He told me that it was hiding somewhere in Bataan and that he expected to hear from the Captain at 6 p.m.

From his house, I rushed to Sternberg General Hospital where I conferred with Colonel Carroll regarding my plans. Then I returned to the Red Cross Headquarters and arranged for 100 painters and sufficient paint to change its present color to white, with a huge Red Cross in the center of the sides and on the funnel.

At 3 p.m. I again called Collector de Leon and inquired if he would try to contact the Apo. He assured me that he would endeavor to contact the Captain (Panopio). At 11 p.m. Mr. De Leon phoned me that he had not yet received any reply to his radio call. I could not sleep. I was worried.