February 23, 1942

Proud of our boys in Bataan. They are still holding the line. KGEI reports “heavy exchange of artillery in the Bataan peninsula.” We’re doing better than Singapore. Filipinos are good soldiers.

Messrs. Noya, Kobatake and Evangelista returned from Bulacan. They report confusion and misunderstanding in purchase arrangements between Major Kurumatani and Supervisor Noya.

Posadas reported inability to handle tremendous amount of detail work in connection with the handling of confiscated rice.

Bank meeting this morning. Didn’t agree with the Board. Binalbagan has a credit line of ₱1,000,000 which was being increased to ₱1,500,000 favorably. On the other hand, Nasugbu and Roxas firms were requesting a credit line of ₱100,000 each for 160,000 piculs of sugar and this was denied. It was my opinion that under the circumstances, Binalbagan’s request should have also been denied. Carmona argued that Binalbagan belonged to the bank. I said that that should give greater weight to my contention. Then Chairman Vargas revealed that ₱350,000 of the requested increase had already been given. This was given without the Board’s knowledge nor consent and I called the Board’s attention to this. Chairman Vargas demanded a categorical answer: “Do you approve—Yes or no?” I remained silent. The credit line was passed.

After the meeting. Vargas called me. In the presence of President Carmona, Vargas apologized, giving as excuse his state of high nervous tension.

Later in the morning, as I had no time to go to the bank, I told Carmona over the telephone that under the circumstances, I did not want any longer to be a board member and I leave it to him to present my resignation as bank director at the opportune time. Carmona asked me not to resign. “Just forget the matter, Vic,” he said.

Those present in the board meeting were Carmona, Sison, Rodriguez, Gomez, Avanceña and Vargas.

I submitted my resignation, verbally anyway. A man must stick to his principles.

June 18, 1936

Wrote a memorandum for Quezon on the extension of the season for shooting snipe.

Saw Quezon from twelve to one o’clock in his office with Secretary Torres, Alcalde Posadas &c. He asked me about the Landlord and Tenant Bill–I told him I had left it the day before in Diokno’s office for revision–he said “It is loaded with dynamite–better telephone Diokno how confidential it is; not to let it leak out prematurely; and I want to see it before it is sent to the Assembly.” Something or somebody has been at him–this warning from him is alarming!

Beyer and Belts, two geologists to lunch. Ross and Hoskins to dinner.

May 28, 1936

Survey Board. I gave Unson a message from Quezon about the Provincial Treasurers. Advised him to bring up at once for Executive Order the transfer of these officials and also that of Engineers Island and the lighthouse service to the Bureau of Customs–in fact all the reorganization they have already decided upon. I think he is afraid he may prematurely make decisions which might have to be changed later in a more general reorganization.

Talked with Unson about nationalizing the Municipal police. He said a comment by Posadas was that if they were nationalized, the President would be blamed for all mistakes. In fact, Unson wishes to take away all administrative responsibility from Quezon–for example, he wants to put the Philippine Army under the Secretary of the Interior!

In Unson’s office I met General Alejandrino–he is no longer an “Adviser to the President”–left some weeks ago, apparently, from what he says, because he could never get to see Quezon!

Luncheon at Wak-Wak--despedida for Andres Soriano. Colonel Hodsoll asked me whether he should advise his friends to accept the government’s offer of $350 for their Philippine Ry. bonds–or go to foreclosure? I told him they would not get that much out of a foreclosure.

Sat between Dr. Tuason and Shultz, manager of the great Roxas estate at Calauan in Laguna. He has from three to four thousand employees–and in twenty-five years has had no labour troubles–never a case in court–there is now no indebtedness from his tenants to the plantation; has no bother from the Department of Labour officials. Says copra is a better price than the dessicated coconut factory pays–thinks the Philippines should stick to exporting raw materials, as they are not prepared for industrialization.

May 8, 1936

Saw Dr. Sison who accompanied Mrs. Quezon over the mountains on horseback from Bongabong to Baler: two days of riding. Coming back down the coast in the Arayat it was very rough when they emerged from the shelter of Polillo–Mrs. Quezon was sea sick and Quezon ordered the steamer in to Mauban instead of carrying on to Hondagua. Sison says Quezon is talking of building a pier at Baler to exploit the big stand of timber there (too expensive!).

Saw General Sandiko at the office: he says the purchase of the remaining Friar Lands is the only solution of the agrarian troubles; says twenty per cent of the agitation is due to the activity of troublemakers. Also told me that in Pambusco men work eighteen hours a day thru a trickery in interpreting the eight hour law, which permits only twelve hours of service, and that only under certain agreements. He is strongly in favour of organizing the powerful labour unions, and so are Torres and Varona.

This morning, Quezon gave a press interview to both “foreign” and “local” reporters. Evidently, he had important things to give out. The newspapers published:

(a)  A statement that Davao land “leases” would go to the courts.

(b)  The President contemplates the construction of a 150 kilometer (300!) electric railway between Davao and Cagayan de Misamis, and also would complete the Aloneros-Pasacao gap in the southern lines of the Manila Railroad. The Maria Cristina Falls in Lanao are to be used for part of the power for the first project.

(c)  That the Philippines would sooner ask for immediate independence than wait for the end of the ten years period if there are no prospects of improving the provisions of the economic clauses of the Tydings-McDuffie law. The Philippines, as stated, “would prefer to break away from the American economic apron strings and blaze a new economic and political trail from itself.” “I am not exactly in favour of eliminating the export tax,” he said “if Congress would remove the tax I would ask for authority sufficiently elastic so that this power can be lodged in the hands of Philippine authorities to impose a tax on sugar exports from the Philippines.” “This would be a good test of the patriotism of the sugar barons” he declared, and: “If we cannot export our sugar duty free to the United States, that is, if we should lose our American market for sugar and tobacco, for example, I would ask for immediate independence. I would not wait for the expiration of the transition period. There would be no use marking time.”

Newspapers also quoted Judge Hausserman, head of the Benguet Mines and now in the United States (usually in recent years very tactfully) as saying that the withdrawal of the United States from the Philippines would be “tragic” because it would mark the end of American interest in the Orient. This remark was resented by seven or eight Assemblymen, who understood that Hausserman meant it would be tragic for the Philippines. They replied that the “tragedy” might be for Hausserman’s many mining millions.

Alcalde Posadas vetoes the “Hyde Park” (i.e., speeches) ordinance of the Municipal Board, stating that the Luneta should not be used for the propagation of subversive doctrines.

February 27, 1936

All day drive with Doria and Professor H. Otley Beyer through Laguna, Batangas and Cavite provinces. At Ft. Mckinley we turned down to the river and took the new road thru Pateros and Taguig to Alabang. Pateros is, of course, the centre of the duck raising industry and Beyer says the people there spread the story of how their men hatched their ducks–the fact was they had a primitive (and perhaps very ancient) incubator of layers of sand on bamboo slats; the top is covered, and the men sit on that and talk and smoke, hence this lurid tale!

The new road to Alabang passes Alcalde Posada’s hacienda--hence the road, according to Beyer! The shores of Lake Laguna are occasionally almost uninhabitable because of the smell of decaying algae, which sometimes even invade Manila via the Pasig River. Beyer said the decaying masses are due to the blackade created by water lilies–that A. D. Williams had installed a fine wire mesh at the outlet into the Pasig River which seems to cure that; there are so few boats on the Pasig River nowadays that this is possible.

We discussed the possibility of help for the Philippines health service from the Rockefeller Institute now that Dr. Victor Heiser was separated from that institution. I told how Quezon had recently thought of bringing Heiser out as Adviser on Health, so that if any epidemic broke out here, the Filipinos would not get all the blame–i.e., to make Heiser the goat. Heiser, who is a shrewd intriguer, “ducked.”

Passed one of Beyer’s archaeological sites on a ridge beyond Taguig.

Beyer mentioned how busy he is nowadays with Dr Geo. Pinkley of the American Museum of Natural History and his companions. Mnbien of Peking, Chinese archaeologist. They had spent 4 months together in Peking, studying the “Peking man”–they had a theory that the “drift” of continents had separated the Philippines and Celebes from the mainland, and that these islands had been the original “rim” of the continent; so that, perhaps the skulls or teeth of the “original” man could be found in the Philippines which they believed to have been formerly the seashore. He had persuaded these two scientists to stay on here to examine with him the brokel lime-stone areas near to and north of Montalban gorge–to search for “filled caves.”

I asked Beyer why the Filipinos used the reverse gestures in beckoning to come, and in nodding (also in using the saw); he said these matters were much disputed, but he believed they came from very early times; said there was a Basque village near Santander where the people also gestured in the reverse way.

He went on Speaking of the mountain people of Luzon, stating that the solution of the problem was their absorption by the Cristianos; said this would improve the Filipino stock and quoted Rizal to sustain his theory. Cited Paredes and Villamor as examples. The former half Tinguian and half Indonesian; the latter pure Tinguian.

Entering the province of Batangas, he said the residents were the most sturdy and independent race of Luzon, and were great fighters. Their horses and cattle are also the best in the Philippines. Their food is maize, dry rice, and poi. All the slopes of Mount Makalut (chief volcano)–5000 feet high, near Lake Taal, were densely inhabited in the neolithic age–a large proportion of his archaeological finds came from there. But there is a gap in their history of nearly 1000 years–positively no iron age relics. He supposes that an eruption of the Taal volcanoes drove out or destroyed all those early settlements–perhaps the survivors migrated to the site of the present Rizal Province. In 1911, the year of the last explosion, Father Algue of the Weather Bureau three days before the eruption came, had begged the Philippine Government to remove all people on the island of Taal. Some 2600 people who were there, and in the surrounding neighborhood, were killed in that explosion. The name of the mountain: Makalut, means “curly-headed” since it was inhabited until within 200 years of now by Negritos. Taal Lake is the crater of the great volcano of former times. Now only four or five small craters are left above the water, and also Mount Makalut of which the whole gigantic cliff to the west is the remaining wall. Thu volcanic ash makes wonderful soil when decayed–hence the better specimens of man and beast. The lake was connected with the sea by a river navigable to former ships, until the 1911 explosion which blocked the former outlet and raised the level of the lake. The water of Lake Taal is still brackish, and the fish are of marine types. The soil cuttings hereabouts show various levels of volcanic ash, marking the periodic eruptions.

Passed thru a barrio which had voted against de las Alas four years ago, so to punish them, he would not complete the 1½ kilometers of road connecting their barrio with the main road for three years!

Visited the town of Taal on the sea–it was moved from the original site on Lake Taal 200 years ago, after being twice destroyed by the volcano. Nice old church, and another well-known church and stairway constructed by Christian Chinese after a massacre of their people by Filipinos. In answer to my question why the Filipinos periodically massacred the Chinese–he replied “various reasons”–the massacre of 1603 was permitted by the Spanish because they thought the Chinese were getting too rich; the attempted massacre of 1922 was due to the arrogance of the Chinese after their own revolution in China.

Mabini came from Batangas–his brother still lives there; so do Conrado and Francisco Benitez, Teodoro and Maximo Kalaw (note how shrewd they are in keeping out of high political office)–Galicano Apacible, de las Alas and the Tironas, and the Lopez family. The Zobel and Roxas families have large haciendas in the southwest of this province.

I asked Beyer why in his “ancestral chart” of Filipinos, he did not mention the Japanese; he replied that the Japanese had only lately begun to settle in the Philippines. The similarity of appearance of many Filipinos to the Japanese is due to Malay ancestry which is in nearly half the Filipinos and in most of the Japanese. Those Malays now here invaded from Java and Celebes, and partly from the mainland. Those Malays who went to Japan, entered partly from the mainland, and others, during the Stone Age, from islands east of Java, via Guam, Marianas, Marshall and Bonin Islands–not via Celebes and the Philippines. This is proved by the oval stone axes of a type found in Japan and in the Pacific Islands mentioned, but never found in Celebes, Borneo, nor the Philippines. (Note: the Japanese are just becoming aware of this kinsmanship and are modifying their former arrogant attitude towards the “Southern Barbarians.”)

Today’s newspapers give an account of a military revolt in Japan led by the army, and the murder of five leading statesmen by the soldiers. Beyer said this is in the Japanese tradition. The samurai were so arrogant and such bullies that the Japanese 80 years ago got rid of them and re-instated their Emperor. In his opinion, the domination of the military caste today in Japan is dangerous, but the Japanese will eventually throw them out as they did the samurai.

Other remarks of Beyer were:

Searchers are finding the teeth of elephant and rhinoceros in the Philippines, but none of the tiger, as yet. Plenty of tamarao teeth, all other Luzon. This central region has been agricultural for so long that the dangerous animals were killed off in prehistoric times.

He is not sure the carabao is not indigenous here; the appearance of the Ifugao cimarron is quite different from the domestic type. I could corroborate that statement.

Chinese carp had been introduced here by the Bureau of Science in the fine fish lake in Camarines. Result: the newcomers had devoured the superior type of fish already there, and the people would not eat the carp. So the Bureau of Science is now trying to eliminate the Chinese carp by some disease fungus.

Coming from Butangas through the western part of Cavite towards Tagaytay ridge, Beyer said this country was not settled as is the adjacent southern Batangas, because it was and always had been a paradise for gangsters, now operating as cattle thieves. Some of them were rich men who were playing cattle rustler where formerly they would have been pirates–for sport. They had “fixed” the municipal officers and the Constabulary. I commented on the great decline in morale of the Constabulary under the amiable General (Dr.) Valdes. He said part of it was due to the building of so many roads–the Constabulary had given up “hiking” patrols, and now seldom got out of their motors. He added that my execution of General Noriel–public enemy N° 1 in Cavite, had put a stop to the gangster business in that province for nearly 20 years. Now it was springing up again.

Beyer said that as a geologist, he believed the gold reef in the Philippines extended straight along the Cordilleras. That the Benguet Igorrotes were “gold conscious” and knew all the surface gold places in their provinces; that he did not believe there would be any new gold “strikes” there except at deep levels; that the Bontocs were opposed to gold prospecting, and that the country to the east–Ifugao–was not geologically suitable. That Abra and Kalinga offered a good field for prospecting, especially since Abra, like Benguet, was not heavily wooded.

He expressed worry over the change of the governorship of the Mt. Province now that Colonel Dosser has resigned. Said Bontocs and Ifugaos were resistant to changes in their social and economic system. They were large, organized and proud nations. But, he added, the Filipino officials generally started with great enthusiasm for “reform” in the Mt. Province and then cautiously let the people alone and went in for personal petty graft. Said the Ifugaos were afraid of Cristianos getting all the public offices in their country and taxing, and changing their customs. Said during Governor General Murphy’s vacation in United States, Vice Governor Hayden had appointed some twenty of the Ifugaos as minor officials in their own country.

I asked him what had become of the lgorrote girls educated in Mrs Kelly’s school–he said some of they had married Americans–some lived with them without marriage–most of them had gone back to their filthy ancestral huts and had become lgorrote wives, forgetting their education.

He said the Kalingas, the handsomest and most warlike of the northern nations, had nevertheless proved less resistant to modern “progress” than any of the others.

When in the barrio of Makalut, town of Cuenca, we visited the home of the local cacique, Caves. I asked Beyer to explain his odd face; Beyer said it was mostly Moro–the Moro pirates governed here when the Spanish first came here 350 years ago.

Later that evening we gave a dinner to Consul General Blunt and Mrs. Blunt, Carr, Sinclair, Mrs. Swift and Miss Masters–the latter was half an hour late, for which there was no excuse, for she is hardly a “mere chit of a thing.” Manners in post-war times are certainly “shot to hell.”

January 13, 1936

Left with Quezon, Colonel Santos and Mayor Posadas for the new site of Bilibid Prison at Muntinlupa, near Alabang, Laguna. We travelled in a motor which never went over 30 miles an hour, with motorcycle cops in front and behind. When we got there, we shifted to Quezon’s Ford armored car which has bullet-proof (apparently glass) windows. He says that when goes incog. to the provinces he always travels in this Ford alone with Colonel Nieto who has a machine gun with him –Quezon carries a revolver on those trips. He says Encallado, the dead bandit, reported that he saw this car pass in the mountains and could have shot Quezon. Quezon comments he wished he had tried.

I asked him about the Ayuntamiento –he stated that the Marble Hall was to be given to the Supreme Court.

He began to talk about Rodriguez, Secretary of Agriculture. He said he had talked too much in the press –had quoted Quezon concerning the Japanese hemp leases in Davao, which caused the Japanese Ambassador in Washington to enquire of the Secretary of State if it was true that Quezon had consulted him about it. Hull truthfully replied “no.” But the worst was, Quezon had rebuked Rodriguez for talking to the press and had announced his own policy concerning the leases of hemp lands in Davao, Rodriguez had published in the press his own defense as Secretary of Agriculture, instead of giving the paper to the President. Quezon said he would have to remove him, unless he crawled –that he was particularly sorry to do so because Rodriguez was an energetic worthy man, and had done more for his (Quezon’s) election than any other individual. He is moreover a man who has made good in his own business life. He thought Rodriguez would be better as Secretary of Labor.

Quezon said he had talked so much while he was in the Senate –he was now going in for action.

He also said he had already adopted my suggestion and was abolishing all “law” divisions in the bureaus and obliging the Bureau Chiefs to consult the Attorney General or the Secretary of Justice.

The President stated further that the Japanese question resolved itself into a dilemma –either to avoid showing them that the Filipinos were antagonistic to the Japanese, or else to let them occupy the islands industrially; that one of the leading Japanese had passed en route from a ceremonious visit to Australia (a pretext) and that he (Q) had been ill (also a pretext) and postponed seeing him until the last minute. That this Japanese had dismissed the Japanese Consul General from the room during the interview. That Quezon had told him very frankly how the Filipinos felt about their lands, but had put off trade discussions. We talked of the purchase by the Government in my time of the Sabani ranch on the remote east coast of Luzon. [Quezon remarked that this was “blackmail” by an American who had acquired it when he was a Judge of the Philippine Land Court.] That the United States Senators who had raised a fuss about the possible purchase of it by Japanese had been inspired by that man.

Said also that the Filipinos had blocked the use of this man’s ranch to the north of Sabani (now W.H. Anderson’s), by closing the land access to this property.

Quezon said Harding had been very fond of him and liked his opposition to Governor General Wood –that if Harding had lived longer, Quezon would have gotten rid of Wood sooner.

I asked him about the vast iron fields in Surigao which I had reserved by Executive Order for the Government. He said he had already had nibbles from the Japanese and one of them was coming here soon about that, but ostensibly on another errand.

P.M. Becker from Aparri appeared with his two sons asking to have them put in the Philippine Army. Saw General Reyes and think it is fixed.

At my request, former Speaker Manuel Roxas came to see me. Said he was going to his province tomorrow to consult his people as to whether he should accept the post of Secretary of Finance. I told him I had been requested by Quezon to ask his opinion of the plan to use part of the Government currency reserve and exchange standard funds (which are 4 times larger, together, than required by law) to purchase silver at the present low rate, and by issuing silver certificates at a “pegged” rate to make a vast sum for the Treasury –he objected first because the price of silver might go lower on account of the very artificial market for silver in United States, and secondly because they might lose (part of) the 2 million pesos of interest at 2% now obtained in the United States.

He next asked me what I was doing in relation to the Friars haciendas –I told him and he seemed satisfied except as to the constitutionality of my proposed Land Commissioner’s decisions fixing tenure and rents. He observed that the English constitution was not written as was that in the Philippines. I replied that the Philippine constitution gave to the Government the right to expropriate Friar Lands –“yes” he said “and the right to adjudicate relations between landlord and tenant.” Well, he said, “we might do it by establishing a Landlord & Tenant Court.”

Roxas then speculated on the result of the next presidential elections in the United States. Said that if a conservative Republican were elected, he might listen to Stimson,  Davis & Hurley on Philippine policies, but not if a man like Borah were elected. I said, yes, the West is for getting rid of the Philippines, but I thought F.D. Roosevelt was going to buy his reelection by the expenditure of public money and that my grand-children were going to be burdened 50 years hence in repaying the debts incurred by F.D. Roosevelt’s joy ride.

Talk with Reyes, new Chief of Staff of the Philippine army –tired and old, and unaggressive, hardly able to cope with new problems.

I asked Quezon whether there was any plan afoot to recreate the Government of the Department of Mindanao and Sulu –he said that he was not sure, but feared it would be considered as a “step backward” –he intends to accomplish the same object by designating some one member of the Government to act for him– that nobody realized how great under the constitution was the power in the hands of the President of the Philippines.

I wonder why Osmeña is laying so low nowadays?