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.

January 12, 1942

HQ, Intelligence Service

Bataan

 

Met Leonie Guerrero, Salvador Lopez, and Vero Perfecto as I was leaving the command post of the 2nd regular division.

Leonie will be assigned to our unit, Lopez to Corregidor and Perfecto will join the Signal Corps in Little Baguio.

Brought Leonie to our HQ. He and I are in the same tent. The General has assigned Fred, Leonie and I to job of putting out daily news sheet for soldiers in Bataan and Corregidor. Name suggested for publication is “See you in Manila”. Corregidor will furnish us with paper, stencils will be provided by Philippine Army Headquarters in Mariveles. Romulo called up and said the appointment of Leonie is in process. He will be made 1st lieutenant, Lopez will also be 1st lt. and Perfecto, sergeant.

Visited hospital in Base Camp. The sick were in make-shift bamboo beds. Many are afflicted with malaria. Others with dysentery. Some are suffering from bullet-wounds, others from shrapnel injuries sustained during shelling and bombardment. Every day hundreds of boys are being brought to hospital. Doctors in hospital work 24 hours. Medicine used are leaves of plants and herbs. Doctors know when there is heavy fighting in front due to truckful of wounded brought to hospital while fighting is in progress. It is a heart-rending sight to see boys with open wounds diving on the sand when planes fly overhead. Wounds have to be cleaned all over again. Many shell-shocked cases. Sulfa-thiasol works miracles to injuries. But supply is very limited now. Some boys are suffering from vitaminosis. Weighed myself in hospital. I have lost ten pounds already. Got some quinine. I think I have malaria.

 

(later)

 

Name given to Jap observation plane by boys: “FOTO JOE!” Name given to our mess hall “Tom’s Dixie Kitchen”. Between ourselves we call the General “B.P.” e.g. “Buck Private.”