Thursday 29th November 2018

It all started with an email to the Philippine Cricket Association (PCA) back in 2011. I explained my passion for cricket and my experience and expressed a keen interest to somehow be involved with cricket in the Philippines, the homeland of my mum.

Within a day a gentleman by the name of Iain Sinclair replied. Little did I know that correspondence would begin a journey that would take me to different corners of the globe competing at the international level, introduce me to a community of people who are fiercely passionate about cricket, and awaken inside me a deep desire to connect authentically with my Filipino heritage.

It has been a busy couple of days since flying from Sydney to Manila. The flight was delayed for three hours. It gave me and a new Filipino national team player, Grant Russ, from Townsville in Queensland, the chance to get to know one another and share stories from our cricketing past.

I spent my first night in Manila with Karweng Ng and his wife, Hannah. Wanga and I have been roommates on tour ever since Hong Kong in 2015. It was great to catch up with him, see where he lives and finally meet his lovely wife. I had planned to do some shopping on my first day in the Philippines but a combination of jet lag, the crippling humidity and smog got the better of me. I slept instead. I felt much better by the afternoon and was ready for a hit with Wanga and newly appointed national coach, Mark Pekin. We used the tennis courts at the International School Manila where Mark works as the Sports Coordinator. There was something surreal about being on top of a high rise building overlooking the bright lights of Manila, using a bowling machine on a tennis court and backing yourself to keep balanced and hit through the line. By the end of our one and a half hour session we were dripping with sweat. It felt great to get bat on ball.

This morning PCA general manager Faisal Khan and I attended a media conference at the National Press Club. The journalists showed a genuine interest in cricket and were hungry to know about the team, our chances of success and some of the basic principles of the game. Faisal and I really enjoyed the experience. It’s easy to talk about a game I love and a team of players who are united in their love of cricket and the Philippines. I feel immensely proud to lead them.

We arrived in Tagatay this afternoon. All of the national teams are staying at The Serviced Residences at Kasa Luntian. The apartments are spacious and there is plenty of room to stretch and roll.

This evening we had a team dinner at the hotel restaurant. Conversation bubbled along as we reflected on the last tournament in Bendigo, Australia, and openly expressed our goals for the week ahead. Tomorrow we have an official team training at the ground in Cavite. I can’t wait. It’s all about to get very real.

Jono

March 30, 1959

Manila Airport, 5 am. The I.S.’s [Igor Stravinsky’s] count their baggage—ras, dva, tri, chetiry—over and over, like rosary beads. The U.S. Cultural Attaché, a Mr. Morris, accompanies us to the Manila Hotel, where a dozen eager porters pack us into our rooms. Old Manila is black and grim, except for pretty lattices and grilles, and the translucent mother-of-pearl “capiz,” or clamshell windows. The shores of the Bay are lined with hundreds of “night clubs,” in reality, tiny two-customer booths and simple Coca-Cola carts. They are a squalid sight now, at daybreak, but after we have seen the labyrinth of orange-crate dwellings inside the old walls, they seem almost gay. Drive to Taytay and Lake Taal, stopping at the Church of Las Piñas, on the way, to hear a bamboo organ. Built by a Spanish friar who had no metal, the organ—keys, pedals, seven hundred and fourteen pipes—is entirely bamboo. A young monk plays Gounod’s Ave Maria for our alms. The sound is like a choir of recorders: sweet, weak in volume, badly out of tune.

The road leaving Manila crosses salt flats, and the shoulders of the highway are heaped with bags marked asin, the dialect word for salt. One other common sign is Sari-Sani, the Chinese for sundries, but all directions and most billboards are in English, because the eight major Filipino dialects have made no progress toward consolidation. Beyond the flats, at the edge of the jungle, a police roadblock warns us of banditry in the neighborhood. This both alarms and encourages the I.S.’s. The road is hemmed in at first, by thick canebrakes, and at times it is entirely canopied by liana. The only signs of habitation— bamboo huts on stilts—are in the coconut and banana groves, but we see only two people, men carrying red-shakoed cocks. Halfway to Taytay a carabao herd crosses the road.

Taytay is high and treeless, and the natives carry black umbrellas against the torrid sun. A bus with all its passengers asleep is parked along the roadside. They are merely observing the siesta, of course, but they look as though enveloped by poison gas. All other Taytayans clamor to be photographed and to sell us fruit. A few say “Happy New Year,” but the only other “English” syllables they know are “Coca-Cola,” which product appears to be the economic index of the whole community, judging by the monuments of empty cases. We eat at the Taal View Lodge, with a panorama of the volcanic lake a thousand feet below.

Dinner at the U.S. Embassy with the Bohlens, who obviously enjoy exercising their Russian, which they speak with an attractive American drawl. We spend most of the evening looking at photographs taken during their Russian term, but they also show colorslides of the Banaue country in northern Luzon. Two geologists were decapitated in this region a week ago, probably because of suspicious questioning, and in one frightening photograph a Banaue warrior charges toward the camera brandishing a spear, though his intention, says the Ambassador, was not to throw the spear, but to sell it. We ask the Bohlens about José Rizal, the Philippine “Washington” and “Goethe,” whose statues fill Manila’s parks and whose biography fills its bookstores, but the Ambassador considers Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere to be “competent literature, no more.” The Bohlens say that dog meat is a delicacy in the islands, edible even in high society, and that markets exist where the buyer may select his canine still in the quick. The Bohlens have had to hide their poodle since its arrival in the country, so great is the native appetite and the danger from dognappers. During dinner, the Ambassador opens the screen doors for more ventilation, and a large rat leaps inside. It is not found by the time we leave.

We try to sleep with our lights on, hoping they might discourage the musical geckos on the wall—“chirp, chirp’—and the cockroaches and other monsters on the floor from joining us in our beds.

May 16, 1943

Shoreham Hotel.

Quezon busy writing a letter in his own hand to Osmeña in answer to a brief submitted to him by the latter. This is the opening gun in the contest between the two for the presidency of the Commonwealth after November 15, 1943. Quezon read me the salient points of Osmeña’s brief, all of which were citations as to the constitutionality of a government-in-exile. Quezon now points out that all of Osmeña’s authorities refer to formerly independent states now (or formerly) in enemy occupation; these examples are irrelevant, since the Philippine Commonwealth has never been an independent government and the issue now lies between the United States and Japan–so the whole subject is in the hands of President Roosevelt, and he alone can decide what part of the Commonwealth Government and of its constitution are in force today. This leaves little doubt that Quezon will remain as President of the Philippines even after his present term of two years, expiring December 31, 1943, has run out. This would bar Osmeña from enjoying the two years as President to which he was elected by the Philippine people, just before the invasion by the Japanese. Since Quezon is being privately advised by Justices Murphy and Frankfurter, there can be little doubt of the outcome. Opinion around headquarters is that Osmeña will not offer serious resistance.

The part of Osmeña’s offer to Quezon which aroused the latter’s indignation was the proposition that Quezon should continue to live in the magnificent suite in the Shoreham when Osmeña assumed the presidency, and that Quezon should become President of the Council of State, which as he points out was the same old suggestion made to me as Governor General in 1919, [sic] when Osmeña tried to persuade me to disassociate myself from the new Council of State under his own presidency–a proposal which I then rejected.

At all events, Quezon feels that Osmeña’s offer to him now is “insulting.” I have no idea of the contents of Quezon’s letter of reply and probably never shall know but I consider it now practically certain that Quezon will remain as President until at least the Philippines are reoccupied. I had previously told him I did not believe that Roosevelt would tolerate any other plan.

Whether this is politically wise for Quezon is another matter. As Trepp says he weakened his political future when he left Corregidor, and the present project that he shall hold the presidency of the Commonwealth for the two years for which Osmeña had been elected president by the Filipinos, while practically unavoidable, will weaken him still further with the people at home. Quien sabe?

Meanwhile the Japanese radio announcements of statements by leading Filipinos continue to unsettle Philippine headquarters in Washington–however, these are now considered either as downright Japanese lies, or else as statements made under duress. Collier ‘s, May 22, 1943, publishes a recent statement by George Vargas: “It becomes our pleasant duty to share the joy of liberated millions… victory for Japan is victory for the Philippines.” At the same time, the Japanese radio announced that Vargas’ son had been sent to Tokyo to the University–ostensibly for study, but we assume, as a hostage for his father’s “good behaviour.” Manuel Roxas is in his own home in Manila, under “protective custody.” Generals Lim and Capinpin have apparently issued statements that the Americans let them down in the Philippine war and they are in favour of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Both of these Generals are now at liberty.

There is evidently still a great deal of ill-feeling among those who surround Quezon (but not in his own mind) because of the failure of the United States to make any effort to relieve Corregidor, after all the abundant promises made to that end in the early stages of the invasion. Mrs. Bewley, who brought her daughter out just before the fall of Corregidor in an American Navy plane to Freemantle, Australia, is still bitter about the lack of effort made by the United States in the theatre of the Philippines. Her husband is a prisoner in Manila–or at Los Baños. Her plane was the only one of the three that got through. One was shot down over Corregidor and all on board lost; one fell in Lake Lanao and all were drowned. This was the end of what had frankly been considered a “suicide mission.”

Quezon took me out for a long drive. I tried to get his mind fixed on pleasant thoughts–got him to tell me of the making of Tagaytay ridge into a resort now by the new road only 40 minutes from Manila–the resort is at 2,500 feet altitude–plenty of water (and wind!).

At Malacañan he has cleaned out the slaughter house and dog pound across the Pasig River and all other “smelly things” on the swampy land opposite the Palace and has turned it all into a park–where I used to shoot snipe! He fears the Japanese will destroy Malacañan if they have to evacuate the Islands. So far they have done no damage there and have not even occupied the Palace.

Secretary Knox told him the Japanese could have taken Dutch Harbor if they had tried; now their occupation of Kiska and Attu really made no difference–we could get them out whenever we cared to try.

Quezon thinks Roosevelt tried to get us into the war immediately after the fall of France but that the American “isolationists” prevented this at that time; it was Pearl Harbor that was the immediate cause of our fighting.

May 29, 1936

A. D. Williams at my office. A few days ago, he was called before the Cabinet to advise on new taxation. Quezon wants a transportation tax on all forms of travel. Cabinet members wish to devote the cedula tax to school purposes only, thus making it more popular.

The President went today to Cabuyao, Nueva Ecija to see a new church dedicated. A. D. Williams is to take him on Monday to Silang to see the route of a new road to Tagaytay thus cutting thirteen kilometers off the run. Quezon stopped this road construction several years ago (not to favour the wishes of Aguinaldo?). Now he wants to see it go through, but says he apprehends a “kick-back” because he (Quezon) is interested in the land syndicate at Tagaytay!

Luncheon with William Shaw at Wak-Wak for Andres Soriano–about 150 men–terrific din of talking and later of noisy jazz music. One’s voice is strained trying to converse. Say with Clyde Dewitt, and had a very interesting talk over the Archbishop and his business interests here. His Grace appears to be losing all along the line.

Hoskins greeted Secretary Rodriguez as “Governor” (he was formerly so in Rizal) and remarked that a governor of a province had more power than a Secretary of Department. “Yes” said Rodriguez “especially nowadays”! He has just been replaced by Secretary Alas as President of the National Development Co.

Small dance in the new downstairs cabaret at Malacañan. The heavy rain from 5-8 p.m. had flooded parts of the Palace, which we entered on planks. Quezon appeared late. He asked me if I noticed the speed with which he signed the Executive Order proposed by Unson for transferring Engineer Island and the lighthouse service to the Bureau of Customs. This is the second time lately he has emphasized his rapid executive action–Why?