January 1942
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Month January 1942

January 30—31, 1942

Nothing unusual.

January 31, 1942

There is too much wishful thinking. There are too many pseudo-generals. Too many opinions on what the USAFFE will do next and when the next bombs will be dropped.

I have adopted an attitude of resignation. I take what comes. There is no use trying to reform the world. We are mere specks in the vast universe. Our personal wishes are like dust on a wide field.

My mind is in my work. If everybody just sticks to his own work, the world might run better. There is too much minding of the other fellow’s business.

Lim Ki Chao, 704 Uaya, has 50 bales of Hessian cloth for about 75,000 standard rice sacks. Price: ₱32.00 per 100, ex-store. May be sewed in 12 days. Fernando Sy Cip, 85 Valenzuela, has 50,000 empty rice sacks. Price: ₱65.00 per 100, ex-bodega. San Jose Rice Mill, corner Rents, and Juan Luna—no stocks. Sacks are a major problem.

Rice sellers must be placed on salary basis. What salary? That will be determined later. Each stall may engage two helpers each with a wage of ₱1.00 a day.

It was decided that Japanese supervisors will be paid on a salary basis.

It was also decided to place in our hands all cash proceeds from sales in the market.

The NARIC will handle the distribution of flour. Initial supply will be 5,000 bags.

Salaries of the NARIC, CEA and National Trading Corporation, personnel have been approved. The boys will be glad.

Mr. Mori called me to Malacañan. He inquired about the National Development subsidiaries.

Well, it has been another busy day—and month.

January 31, 1942

HQ, MIS, Bataan

Good news. Troops of Segundo have reentered our new lines. They escaped Jap encirclement by clambering precipices on Western coast for two days and nights. The men looked thin, haggard, half-dead. They all have a new life. Segundo arrived with troops dressed in a private’s uniform. Japs were slow following initial successes. Some boys, unfortunately, fell while clambering through very steep precipices. In some cases, men were stepping in ledge only half-foot wide. Some of the wounded were left to mercy of Japs. Others were carried by companions. I will try to see either Feling Torres or Manny Colayco. They belong to the 1st Regular –if they are still alive.

There seems to be a move to change Gen. Segundo. Col. Berry will replace him, I understand. I don’t think Segundo is at fault. His troops have been fighting since December in Camarines. His men are recruits, volunteers, mostly untrained civilians. His division has not had a bit of rest since campaign in Southern front and when Japs first attacked Bataan front, they chose his sector.

Plans are being laid to send ships to Visayas to get food supply. Some officers may be sent on trip.

Two boys from Manila are now under investigation. They are Norman Reyes and Luis Albert. Norman claims he came to Bataan because he wants to broadcast over Voice of Freedom. He is a radio announcer. Major Montserrat is now questioning him. Leonie says Norman is O.K. They may send him to Corregidor but the General does not want to take chances. Japs have many spies. Leonie vouches for Norman. Luis Albert says he came here to get money for wives of soldiers left in city. He says he was sent by Red Cross. Major Javallera doubts Albert’s story. He will be sent to HPA. The General is very cautious.

No raid today. Funny, but I never pray for no raid.

January 30, 1942

HQ, MIS, Bataan

 

Filipino officers in USAFFE may get same pay as Americans, according to General. There is no reason why an American should get higher pay than a Filipino doing the same job with the same rank. Both are undergoing the same risks and both are human beings. To hell with the superior air of some Americans!

Beautiful message from MacArthur to Roosevelt. Wrote Mac: “Today, January 30th, your birthday anniversary, smoke-begrimed men covered with the murk of battle rise from their fox-holes in Bataan and batteries in Corregidor, to pray reverently that God may bless immeasurably, the President of the United States.”

Heavy raids today. Japs hit Cabcaben and Mariveles airfields.

Saw P.I. Army planes flying at three o’clock in the afternoon. Three of them. Good sign.

Reports from City indicate people cheered by raid on the 27th. Manilans started shouting recklessly. Some said: “They’ll be back in a week.” Japs started to run and hide, according to operatives. It must have been a great day in the old city.

No confirmation of rumors about Batangas landings.

Received letter from Mr. Romulo.

The General repeated his intention to send me on secret mission to Manila.

The general joked me. He said all unmarried girls in Manila will be married to Japs. “Too bad about your G.F.,” he said.

 

(later)

 

Operative just arrived from Manila. He carries a note from mama. He says the folks are all well and that Mrs. Osmeña was at home when he gave them my note. Mrs. Osmeña wrote a small letter to the Vice Prexy. Leonie also received a note from Annie and a knitted sweater. This is a great day!

January 30, 1942

Still no bombs.

People are still hoping, wishing. Man lives on hope. He is not satisfied with the present. His eyes are fixed towards the future. The present is a more transition, as far as he is concerned. Man will continually reach for the stars. He will never reach them.

The NARIC may ration sugar, according to Mr. Terada.

Must choose 10 responsible dealers or contractors. These will distribute sugar. Must hold them responsible.

Price must be fixed to dealer and public.

The Army will open sugar bodegas.

Dealers must secure the sugar from the bodegas. If they have motor transportation, passes will be issued.

Sugar is sweet. Bombing, said a friend, is sweeter. I prefer to reserve my judgment. I still remember the wisdom of a childhood story: when you open your mouth, flies go in.

January 29, 1942 — Thursday

A dull and warm day with occasional breeze. I have been busy attending to correspondence from the Headquarters of the Philippine Army. I am happy to learn that my family is in good health. The President is improving although his slight rise in temperature beginning at noon.

January 29, 1942

HQ, MIS, Bataan

Japs have encircled the 1st regular. I wonder what will happen to the boys there. This is a great calamity.

Apparently, Japs crawled through precipices of Mt. Natib. After penetration, they made a flank maneuver and concentrated fire on rear of Segundo’s line.

Reports from radio indicate Japs are wild about their victory in Singapore. Jap planes have dropped copies of Tribune announcing Tojo’s independence promise and Tribune page carrying signatures of members of executive commission agreeing to Jap aims.

Ration reduced. Food supply fast decreasing. For brunch, we get two handfuls of rice.

The general said he might send me to Manila or Nueva Ecija one of these days.

Morale slightly on downgrade. Some skeptical about convoy.

Had a silly discussion on a silly subject with Fred and Leonie. “Are whores capable of true love?”

 

(later)

 

False alarm. Major Javallera came in shouting: “I have sighted the spearhead of convoy.”

Called up off shore patrol to check up. Officer in charge says: “Its just the gun-boats in Corregidor. They moved over to the other side.”

Men are weary. Some still full of hope. I have often seen men stand on high cliffs gazing out into the sea looking for the convoy.

Rumors that a Negro Army has arrived and landed in Batangas.

Rumor that the convoy has reached Visayas.

While going to HPD this afternoon a plan strafed truck before my car. I dove out of car and hid in clump of bushes on side of precipice. Bruised my knees.

(later)

Fred had a tiff with an American lt. who refused to obey Fred because he is “a Filipino captain”, Fred put the Yank in proper place. Congrats.

January 29, 1942

Here’s baloney for the cold stores: “The University of Santo Tomas,” according to the Tribune, “was bombed, clearly exposing the inhumanity of America.” I know Sto. Tomas was not bombed. Everybody knows that too. This type of propaganda does more harm than good to the Japanese.

Mr. S. Terada has been relieved by G. Nakaihima. Terada will leave for the provinces on an army mission.

Must call staff to discuss how to increase gradually the price of rice to dealers. The increase must be imperceptible. The price may be raised to ₱6.50 including sacks. Dr. Abes reported that  A. Abes had a nervous breakdown and that he would need about 2 or 3 weeks rest.

Noya informed me that the request for more fuel for trucks would take 2 or 3 weeks before the Army approves it. Red tape, that’s what it is! Must act on several things:

(1) Irrigation project must not be cut off. Call Fragante.

(2) Stop slaughter of carabaos. These animals are needed for work in the fields.

(3) Seeds must be saved for the planting season.

Must remember to ask Mr. Noya if he knows of any Japanese who can make straw bags out of rice straw. Sacks will be a major problem. Saw a little boy waving his fist at a sentry. Not even children…

January 21-29, 1942

I went to Calamba for a week of rest, taking advantage of the trips which the administrator of Hacienda Real had to make with his car back and forth to Manila. On our way to Calamba, we were behind a luxurious car displaying a Philippine flag. It was the car of General Artemio Ricarte, self-exile in Japan during these past year, in protest to American sovereignty. The newspapers made no mention of his arrival. A number of persons informed me that the Japanese brought him back to make a pro-Japanese campaign. From the news I gathered from various sources, the regions between Manila and Calamba about 56 km. from the capital are the least damaged by the looting and destructive forces of the invaders. Calamba was bombed for being a center of communications but the damage negligible. About five or six bridges on the way to Calamba were blown up by the USAFFE in its retreat, as well as the bridges to Batangas and Tayabas. Meanwhile, the price of sugar has soared due to heavy demand. One could see a long procession of caretelas going to the Central to purchase sugar. Within a few days the stock was sold out. The Real of Calamba is presently the most fortunate of all sugar centrals in Luzon. It stores more than 11,000 sacks. Moreover, it has resumed milling activities. The other centrals were either damaged by the war, looted, or sealed by the Army. If ever they could mill, they cannot sell their sugar since the Japanese Army takes it all, paying what they could pay. American and British-owned centrals, on the other hand, have been confiscated. Don Benito Razón, former president of the Letran Alumni Association, and who had been managing the Canlubang Sugar Central since half a year ago, invited me to dinner. As in other places, the people in this town have fled to the mountains, even if no significant destructions have occurred here. Now that the “milling” season has started, the workers are returning to their work, although milling operations are only at half capacity. The bridges are destroyed and transport to have sugar cane is lacking. Besides, all the sugar produced goes to the Japanese. Due to the good relationships existing between the plantation administrator and the military commander of Calamba, the administrator was able to secure all the permits he needed for the use of cars and wagons to operate the central and sell sugar without restrictions. He was even allowed to reconstruct a broken wooden bridge needed for the hauling of sugar cane and for public use. He is being assisted by an old Japanese employee who has remained faithful to him, preferring to return to the hacienda after being released by the Army rather than taking advantage of the New Order to further his own interests.

January 28, 1942

HQ, MIS

Bataan

 

Gap in western sector widening. Japs penetrating Segundo’s line in force. 1st regular division in wild retreat. Hell has broken loose in this area. Many dying, dead.

No reinforcements can be sent to bridge gap. No more reserves. 1st regular given up for lost. Japs following successes slowly, surely, cautiously.

USAFFE line will be shortened to stabilize and consolidate front. All divisions packing up to make last stand on Pilar-Bagac road. If this line, if this last front line breaks, our days are numbered.

Went to eastern front to see conditions there. Everybody is moving, retreating, to avoid being outflanked.

Saw Jesse Hocson of Ateneo pep band. He is a lieutenant. He said they were told to retreat. He was looking for Juan Fernandez, Capinpin’s aide. Jesse looked very tired.

Leonie who was with me was looking for Manny de Leon but the 201st engineering corps had changed area. We saw Fr. Karasig S.J. who offered us some coffee which we gladly received. Karasig asked me about Morita. He said “Let’s not talk of the fighting.” The father was in a good mood.

Saw Jaime Mercado walking ahead of his troops. Jaime had the same familiar stride but he was very black, sunburnt, unkempt. He looked very much older. His troops were retreating.

Saw Toto Cruz towering over all around him. Leonie talked to him.

Everything down the road troops were groaning under their packs, hastily moving back to the new line. The boys looked weak, thirsty, hungry, dirty, and very, very tired. Some were sleeping in the roadsides to get some rest.

January 27-28, 1942

Nothing unusual. The President is improving. January 27 at 6:30 p.m. I went to the top of Malinta Hill to see Manila. What a disappointment. Manila was in total darkness due to the bombing of Nichols Field and Nielson Airport the previous night by some U.S. Army planes.

January 28, 1942

No bombs today.

All Manila is talking about last night’s bombing. Some think the reinforcements have arrived in Corregidor. Others claim it was just a nuisance raid. A friend of mine said he hears somebody say that the USAFFE is now in Pampanga. Some of the boys in the office celebrated.

I prefer to keep quiet and to reserve my own opinions. One cannot be too careful these days. Those who show that they are overjoyed may get into trouble. Discretion is the better part of valor.

Meeting of the directors of the Philippine National Bank held at Malacañan. Chairman Vargas presided. Present were: Alunan, Sison, Carmona, Vargas and myself.

The Yokohama Specie Bank will lend ₱5,000,000 to the Philippine National Bank at 2% interest. ₱4,000,000 will go to the P.N.B. and the remaining ₱1,000,000 will go to the Bank of the P.I. The Bank of Commerce has ₱500,000 of its own. These three banks will open.

It was decided that withdrawals would be limited to ₱500 per month. Withdrawals for industrial investments would have to be done by permits.

Discouraging reports in the provinces given by Gallego, de los Reyes, Santos and Cojuangco. Reign of terror in the provinces. Organized banditry. Acting Governor Ysip of Nueva Ecija killed. Relucio beheaded. Maeyama, Japanese pacification campaign leader, wounded in Caranglan. Same condition exists in Bulacan. Death stalks in every corner.

Lt. Takeda, through Mr. Noya, approved the payment of salaries of the personnel of the National Trading Company. Payday is a great day.

I wonder what’s afoot. Mr. Ishiwata has requested the office address of Tommy Confessor. He also wants to know Tommy’s home address. That’s right, where is Tommy? He has not shown up lately. He must be up to something.

I wonder if they’ll bomb Manila tomorrow. Hell. I’m always wondering about many things.

January 27, 1942

HQ, MIS, Bataan

Vic’s birthday. I wonder how he is celebrating it. Am very homesick.

Fred has a good story depicting state of unpreparedness of Philippines when war broke out. He said he asked a friend: “What is your family doing to prepare in case of war?” And his friend replied: “In our house we are always preparing but not for the war but for the next party!”

The General expressed the opinion that ROTC training was quite impractical. Too much emphasis he said on “Squad right, Squad left”. “Many weeks were spent,” he pointed out, “preparing for this or that parade”.

I told the general that in cadre I was taught how to plant and beautify the camp garden. But none of us ever fired a single rifle shot. I told him I told this to the President when I graduated from cadre training in Murphy. My group belonged to the first batch drafted, I pointed out.

The general said that this war has shown that more emphasis should be placed on jungle fighting: silent deployment, sudden concentration, timely retreat, camouflage, infiltration, ambuscade, sniping.

Bad news: Japs have penetrated Mt. Natib through center of line of 1st regular division. Boys of 1st regular are in wild retreat. Many of them are given up for lost.

If this penetration widens, entire USAFFE line must fall back on reserve lines –the Pilar-Bagac road. This is our darkest hour. I’m praying for the convoy. Come on America!

(later)

Heard several front-line boys will get citations: 2 Americans and 6 Filipinos. Will try to get complete dope about their deeds. One Scout recommended for Congressional Medal.

January 27, 1942

Manila was bombed at 9:30 p.m. We were all in Gabriel’s house. All of a sudden the windows began to shake and there were dull explosions that shook the house. Anti-aircraft guns started firing immediately. The children began to shout and rejoice. Reprimanded the boys for shouting. They must not show their feelings. Our Japanese neighbors put out their lights.

Will sleep early. Will they bomb again tomorrow? Can hear the drone of a plane. Another bombing? No, it is Japanese.

January 26, 1942 – Monday

The President is improving. He has spent all day in the tent. He complained of extreme weakness after returning from the toilet inside of the tunnel.

January 26, 1942

HQ, MIS

Bataan

 

Maj. Gen. Basilio Valdes and Major Carlos Romulo dropped at our Command Post this morning. Romulo said they would go to the command posts of Generals Lim and Segundo. They want to see “a little bit of action”.

They got a bit of it when they docked at Cabcaben this morning. The Japs bombed the docks again just when they were jumping out of the torpedo boat.

The General informed Romulo and Valdes that snipers have penetrated lines of Segundo. He told them to proceed with caution. I accompanied Valdes and Romulo down the steep hill leading to Base Camp.

We walked through a small trail skirting the side of a hill, crossed a narrow stream by jumping on boulders amid the stream so as not to get our shoes wet.

Valdes and Romulo rode in a Command Car. They had the driver put the top down so they can watch planes. Japs generally strafe cars in Bataan roads. I told them they would get a lot of dust in their faces. Valdes said: “Never mind the dust. What counts are the bullets.”

Romulo shook my hands before riding the command car and then he looked at the hill we had just descended. “Quite steep,” he said. “Quite steep.” I felt like saying “STEEPENDOUS.”

 

(later)

 

Col. Willoughby was just here. He talked with the general. He was wearing a doughboy’s cap. I thanked him for the uniform. In fact, he noticed I was wearing it.

Raid from three to six this morning. Saw some of the wounded piled on trucks being rushed to field hospital. Many died.

 

(later)

 

Missing mama terribly. Prayed for her.

January 26, 1942

Must encourage the people to do some home gardening. Every available backyard should be planted to vegetables. The Bureau of Plant Industry can provide the seeds to interested parties. Planted tomatoes, cabbage, pechay and radish in my garden. This will help increase the food supply. “Little drops of water make an ocean; little grains of sand make a mountain…”

Things don’t look so rosy in Singapore. The radio says that the three main Japanese mechanized columns smashed through the western, central and eastern sectors of the Malay peninsula penetrating through the 130-kilometer radius of the British Far Eastern base. Looks like the sun that never sets on the British Empire will set on the East.

Many society boys and girls now ride on streetcars. This will do them a lot of good. Soft life begets softies. Youth when tempered in fire, becomes stronger—like steel.

Curfew has been extended from 8 to 10 p.m.

The Japanese have no sense of humor. I was at a party at the Manila Hotel. Seated beside me was a Japanese major. A Japanese civilian, who has been in the States, introduced a hostess to me in joking terms: “Dr. Buencamino, I would like you to meet this young girl. She is thin because the price of rice is exorbitant.” Some Filipinos present got the joke and laughed. I did too. But the Japanese major got sore. He looked at the Japanese civilian angrily and said very tersely “After office hours, no talkee business. Understand?“ The Japanese civilian bowed respectfully and apologized. Must remember to give him my condolence, the poor man!

My statement has not been published. I thought so.

January 25, 1942 – Sunday

At 1 a.m. the lights of the house went out. Both the President and Mrs. Quezon were nervous. He made me call the phone central and inquire why we had no lights. They feared an act of sabotage. The phone operator informed that there was slight trouble in the power plant but it was being repaired. At 1.15 a.m. the lights came on again. The President who had dressed ready to return to the tunnel, undressed again and went to bed. At 7:15 a.m. we returned to the tunnel.

The President spent a better day his temperature is coming down. At 5 p.m. he informed us that he did not want to sleep in the house and that he would sleep in the tent.

January 25, 1942

HQ, Intelligence Service, Bataan

 

Talked to some of the boys of the 21st at the front yesterday. Japs have tried to penetrate their lines during last few days but to no avail. Boys are complaining about very little food ration. Many were very anxious to get a smoke.

Japs have dropped a lot of “surrender” leaflets in front lines. Leaflets are about the size of the palm. Front sheet reads: “Ticket to Armistice”. Lower caption states: “You and any number of your friends can walk with these leaflets to our lines. We shall bring you back to your homes.” Back cover of “ticket to armistice” carries picture of some home in Manila or picture of Jap soldiers playing with Manila kids. Almost everybody in front line keeps these tickets as souvenir. There are no cases of desertion. The men know that this is a dirty Jap trick and that they will shoot any of us on sight.

Boys in 41st division are raring to attack Japs. Some of their patrols found the dead body of a young girl. She was evidently abused. Her hair was recently curled. Her dress was smeared with blood. Her finger nails still had manicure. She was a pretty Filipina. Her handkerchief was partly torn. On one side of the handkerchief was the name Erlinda. Troops under Lim have adopted as fighting motto: “Remember Erlinda!” Leonie is now writing a radio script for Voice of Freedom on Erlinda.

Corregidor censored part of our SYIM stuff for tomorrow. Fred had an article describing hard life in Rock, the damp air of tunnel as I described to him and the boxes of ammunition inside the main tunnel. Corregidor claims this gives out information to enemy. Fred explained to the General who in turn called up Corregidor that the intention of SYIM editors was to make boys in the front feel that men in Corregidor are sharing hardships with them; that SYIM editors merely want to paint Corregidor officers in better light, because boys in front think that fellows in Corregidor are having an easy life while boys in Bataan fight and starve. The article remains censored.

During broadcast this evening, I slipped into Montserrat’s tent and got some of Javallera’s canned goods. Now Javallera suspects Montserrat took it. The two majors have decided to separate tents. Major Javallera will put up another tent. He says “It’s better to be alone.” Major Montserrat feels the same way. The general is already aware of the canned stuff mystery. He told me he suspects it is Major Panopio taking the canned goods. Meanwhile Fred, Leonie and I are having the time of our lives laughing at the old fogies. Leonie suspects the doctor knows we three have something to do with the canned goods of Montserrat and Javallera because he has seen us eating in private and laughing to ourselves. Fred said “Let us plant the empty cans in the doctor’s tent.” Leonie suggested: “Let Philip put it under the general’s cot.” The plot thickens…

 

(later)

 

Heard that a certain Capt. Wermuth, an American, will be given a third or fourth decoration for distinguished service…

January 25, 1942

The News Division of the Japanese Army has requested me to write my opinion regarding Premier Tozyo a promise of independence. Shall I write the truth? Shall I tell them that I don’t believe they’ll give us independence? Here’s a note from Mr. Terada: “I shall appreciate it very much if you will prepare your statement for publication.”

This is what I gave the News Division: (I bet they won’t publish it.)

Complying with the request of the News Division of the Japanese Army of Occupation, regarding Premier Tozyo’s statement of Japan’s present war aims and her desire to grant Independence to the Philippines, I have this to state:

‘I consider my work in the Food Administration and the NARIC as technical. Therefore my feeling is that we have our leaders to help shape the major policy of the nation. I am ready to obey orders to the best of my ability and within the means at my disposal’.

In these days, silence is golden.