April 1942
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Month April 1942

April 30, 1942

Submitted to Mrs. Escoda the following list embodying the urgent needs of war prisoners in accordance with wishes expressed by officers and men now in Capaz.

I. FOOD

A. Organization: N.F.W.C., Girl’s Scouts, etc.

B. Necessary items: 1, rice; 2. mongo; 3. salt; 4. sugar, panocha; 5. camote, cassava, gabi; 6. lime, calamansi; 7. galletas, biscuits; 8. bananas, papaya, mangoes, guavas—any kind of fruit in season; 9. coffee, tea, ginger; 10. milk; 11. salted eggs.

II. MEDICAL SUPPLIES

A. Organization: Department of Health

B. Necessary items: 1. quinine, iodine, mercurochrome; 4. disinfectants (kreso, lysol, bichloride); 5. alcohol; 6. muslin for bandages; 7. tape; 8. cotton or kapok; 9. sulfathiazol.

III. CLOTHING

A. Organization: Women’s Committee

B. Necessary items; 1. undershirts, shirts, shorts, sweaters, socks; 2. blankets; 3. shoes, slippers; 4. towels.

IV. FINANCE

1. Personal solicitation. 2. Contribution in kind.

V. TRANSPORTATION

A men’s committee to take charge of arrangements for trucks, jitneys, etc., to transport personnel and supplies.

VI. UTENSILS

1. Cooking; 2. forks, knives, spoons, pans, bottles; 3. pitchers, basins; 4. rake, shovel, pick, brooms; 5. empty cans for glasses; 6. tissue paper; 7. empty gasoline cans for water and water wagons.

VII. DISTRIBUTION

1. Bureau of Health; 2. Women’s committee. 

VIII. FIELD WORKERS

Field workers operating under groups in charge of distribution are to be limited to Bureau of Health doctors, nurses, social workers There must be a strong, aggressive, efficient leader.

IX. GENERAL SUPPLIES

1. fuel; 2. cigarettes; 3. matches

The chief consideration is time. Relief must reach the camps with as little loss of time possible if more deaths are to be averted. Average deaths per day according to more accurate reports are over five hundred.

The Japanese are still very strict. They do not permit visitors. They prohibit relatives from sending food and medicine to the captives.

There is a rumor that one of the staff officers of the Japanese Army called Gen. Homma’s attention to the inhuman treatment accorded Filipino and American war prisoners. Gen. Homma was said to have answered: “Let them die, to atone for the thousands among us that also died.”

Today’s Tribune shows pictures of Recto, Yulo and Paredes drinking a toast with Japanese staff officers in a Malacañan reception.

Teofilo Yldefonso, world-famous breaststroker, several years Far Eastern Olympics’ record holder, died in Capaz. He was wounded in Bataan. In the concentration camp, gangrene developed in his wounds. No medicine could get to him. He died in a lonely nipa shed.

Today’s Tribune carriers a front-page item in bold type entitled “Correction” which gives an idea of Japanese mentality. The story follows:

“In yesterday’s editorial we made a mistake using the words ‘His Imperial Highness’ instead of ‘His Imperial Majestry.’ We hereby express our sincere regret about the matter.”

The Japanese soldier is not merely fired with patriotism. He is also inspired by a religious motive. The Emperor is his god.

Philip’s intimate friend, Johnnie Ladaw, was reported killed in Bataan, two hours after surrender. He was machine-gunned by a tank. Johnnie was No. 3 national ranking [tennis] player. He defeated Frank Kovacs of the U.S. at the Rizal court several months before the war.

When I look at our tennis court, I seem to see him. He was always smiling. Maybe he died smiling…

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April 30, 1942 – Thursday

At sea.

April 29, 1942 – Wednesday

7:30 a.m. We were advised by Captain Nelson, commander of the President Coolidge that a plane had been catapulted from the Richmond to locate the St. Louis a bigger U.S.N. Cruiser which was to meet us.

At 10 a.m. the St. Louis was on sight. Alarm was sounded, the soldiers rushed to their respective guns, and pointed them towards the direction where the cruiser was coming from. The cruiser Richmond immediately changed course and sailed to meet it with everything ready for battle. As the St. Louis approached and its identity was revealed calm reigned again in our ships. Then the Richmond returned to the Navy base somewhere in the Samoan Islands and the St. Louis escorted us. I saw Capain Nelson who informed me that he does not fear submarine attack, nor airplanes. The only possible attack would come from a ‘surface raider’ and we would be able to handle the situation.

Quite warm. Had lunch and dinner in the President’s cabin and stayed on deck until 1 a.m.

April 29, 1942

Emperor’s birthday. All houses were required to display the Japanese flag. Gen. Homma, Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Army, declared that Japan has succeeded in driving out the power of the United States and Britain in the Orient. Chairman Vargas expressed his gratitude “for the many acts of benevolence of the Imperial forces.”

In Camp O’Donnell, a nephew of mine, Tirso, died because no medicine could be given him. The Japanese Army prohibits the sending of medicines to the sick in Bataan.

Attended a party in Malacañan in honor of the Emperor’s birthday. There was plenty of food. I could not eat. I was thinking of the men starving in Capaz.

April 27-28, 1942

At sea. It is quite warm as we are now near the Fiji and Samoa Islands and approaching the equator. The sea is calmer.

April 28, 1942

According to the Tribune, the Department of Agriculture and Commerce is forming the necessary organization with which to carry out the out the plan to increase and stabilize rice production. The different steps to be taken in this respect, according to information, will be embodied in an Executive Order to be issued by Chairman Jorge Vargas of the Executive Commission, to whom the plan outlined by the Department regarding this matter has been referred for approval.

The Tribune this morning also reported that the Director of Plant Industry and experts of the Military Administration have come to an understanding as to how the Philippines can be made to produce enough rice to meet her own needs.

I’m glad our officials are taking a deep interest in the rice situation. I only hope the plans will not remain plans. Action not plans will stave off impending hunger.

April 27, 1942

The old ways of eating malagkit rice are again in vogue with the scarcity of wheat flour. There is the puto, a neat mound of boiled rice, served with sugar and grated coconut. Other popular variations: champurado, bibingka, ampaw, palitaw, maja blanca and suman.

A Philippine Red Cross unit has been formed by the Executive Commission with the approval of the Japanese Army. The newly created Commission is distinct and independent from the present Red Cross Society which is a chapter of the American Red Cross.

Landings at Cotabato and Parang, Mindanao.

Overheard a conversation at the dressing room of the Philippine Club between two old friends.

“Yes siree, now it’s my turn. I was down during the American regime. Now I’m on top. I am a big shot (expanding his chest), if I may say so myself.

“Well that’s the way with the world. Sometimes you’re up and then you’re down. That’s why they say the world’s round. It turns.”

“You bet, it turns. Now I’m in the government. I am in the Propaganda Corps. (Here he paused while fixing a Japanese flag in his boutonnière.) Ah, I spoke before the war prisoners in Capaz yesterday. It was quite a speech.”

“You mean, the Japanese let you go inside the camp?”

“Sure. Not only that. I gave a speech before thousands of Filipino war prisoners.”

“That’s interesting. What did you say to them?”

“I told them Japan will drive the Anglo-Saxons out of the Orient. Asia for the Asiatics! I told them that Japan came to the Philippines to liberate the Filipinos.”

“Liberate the Filipinos? Liberate them from what?”

“Don’t you read the papers? From Anglo-Saxon imperialism!”

“And what did the Filipino prisoners say?”

“They applauded heartily.”

“And I suppose after your speech they freed the prisoners?”

“No. You know, war and all that.”

“I don’t understand. I thought they came to free the Filipinos. Now more than 40,000 are prisoners.”

“What are you trying to do, contradict me, contradict the Japanese?”

“No, I am just clarifying things.”

“I think you are pulling my leg. People like you under Anglo-Saxon influence. There’s nothing like Japan. Nothing like the Japanese!”

“That’s right, nothing

“What did you say?”

“Nothing… Absolutely nothing.”

April 26, 1942 – Sunday

Attended Sunday Mass at 7:45 a.m. Very rough. Mrs. Quezon and the girls did not attend.

At 11 a.m. The U.S.N. Cruiser Richmond arrived to escort us. The Australian Cruiser returned to Sydney. The Richmond is much bigger and has two planes on board.

Being on the Date line, Sunday is repeated.

April 26, 1942

The concentration camp in Capaz for Filipino and American war prisoners looks like a graveyard. Only there are no tombs and mausoleums and headstones. Instead, there are thousands of walking corpses, breathing skeletons, lying, sitting, crawling, shuffling aimlessly in a bare, treeless, sun-scorched, desert-like area. Capaz is the bivouac of the living dead.

Everywhere suffering humanity walked, squatted, slept, died. There was a cold chill in my heart as I beheld the gruesome sights wrought by the war: a blind officer begging for water to quench his thirst; a young soldier pale and yellow with malaria, shivering on the sand; an old colonel with a blackened leg begging for medicine; an Igorot private shouting deliriously; hundreds of youths with tattered, blood-splattered rags clamoring for food to appease their hunger; an officer on a crutch wandering pointlessly; thousands of dust-begrimed, mud-stained, bony, skeletal, emaciated, sunken-eyed youths fighting for the slow drops of water trickling from a single faucet; hundreds lying limply on the ground waiting for the eternal sleep; a rigid corpse with a smile on his face.

I arrived in Capaz at one o’clock after taking lunch in a nipa hut in Angeles with Arturo Tanco and Dr. Katigbak. In a small house in Capaz, we met Dr. Agustin Liboro and young Enrique Albert. They were preparing medicines for the sick. They did not know how they could send the medicines, but they were going to try their best. The Japanese prohibit the sending of medicines to war prisoners in the concentration camps. They have not permitted the Red Cross nor any relief organization to give succor to the prisoners.

Oscar Jacinto accompanied me to the town convent. There I met Victor Tizon, mayor of Capaz, and Fr. Marcos Punzal. We were told that the only persons authorized to enter the prison camp were: the governor, mayor and teniente del barrio. I persuaded Mayor Tizon to please accompany me inside the camp. I told him I wanted to look for my son. There were rumors that he is sick.

We passed through a narrow, dusty road crossing the camp. On either side of the road were the temporary shelters for the prisoners: on our left were the Filipinos and on the right, Americans. Many prisoners were carrying tins varying in size to fetch water. The main problem in the camp was water. I was told afterwards that the lives of many young boys could have been saved if water could have only been given them.

I saw the camp hospital. It was no hospital at all. It was a morgue. The men were piled on the floor without pillows nor covering. There were no medicines and very limited food and water. It was a transitional station between life and death. A doctor said mortality in the camp was as high as a thousand a day. Some claim it was more.

For a while we had to stop our car. There was an endless line of stretchers. The American soldiers stood at attention. We took off our hats. I counted 60. They were to be buried in a plot reserved for the dead. One soldier carrying a stretcher suddenly knelt and collapsed. He too was dying.

Outside the camp were thousands of mothers, fathers, sweethearts, relatives, friends, trying to see their loved ones. But the sentries were adamant, stern, strict. Their bayonets were fixed, their fingers ready on their triggers. Around the camp, there were makeshift look-out towers with guards armed with machine-guns. Any prisoners approaching the barbed fence by one meter would be shot.

I saw Mrs. Ciocon. She was there all day waiting for an opportunity to see her son. Mrs. Zobel was there too. Jake, she said was an orderly in the Commandant’s office. Mrs. Gruet was also there. She was able to reach the Commandant’s office. “What do you want?” said the commander curtly. “Please,” she said in tears, “is my son alive? Is he in camp?“ The Japanese looked at the records, read the names, then he stood at attention, bowed low, paid homage to the mother of a war hero. “Madam,” he said, “your son is now in a better place.”

As it was getting dark, we decided to return home. Before leaving, I gave a bundle containing a can of coffee, some sugar and quinine capsules and sulphathiasol to Mayor Tizon. “Please,” I said, “try to give this personally to my son.”

On the way home, we met more people in cars and trucks and jitneys and carromatas going to Capaz. I saw Dr. Escoto and he told me that he was able to go inside the camp. “Philip is sick,” he said.

When I arrived home, I told my wife and kids about the sad conditions of the prisoners in Capaz. To break the loneliness, I told my daughter Neneng, to switch on the radio.

A Filipino official was giving a speech praising the magnanimity of the Imperial Japanese Army.

 

 

April 24-25, 1942

At sea moving north east.

April 24, 1942

Made a guide on how to apply for rice ration for provinces short of supply.

1. Take an accurate census of your provinces.

2. Based on 300 grams milled rice (uncooked) per person per day, make an estimate of the needs of the provinces per day, per month and for the whole period of scarcity. Indicate deduction that can be made for any local harvests.

3. Have the provincial governor and the provincial commander (army) recommend the ration requested.

4. The request for rice ration will have to be approved by the Military Administration (Manila) at the former Department of Agriculture building. (At present, approval is made by Col. Uzaki). Said office will also determine the quantity and method of rationing for the provinces.

5. Once approved, take to the NARIC, 732 Evangelista, corner Azcarraga.

6. Present price: 117.50 per cavan, no sack, ex bodega. Deposit for sacks: 40¢ each. No checks accepted. Prices subject to revisions

Mr. Inada is getting more despotic, day by day, he slapped another employee.

The newspapers are filled with stories on the kindness of the Japanese. Pictures of Japanese soldiers playing with Filipino children and pictures of Japanese soldiers giving food to Filipino war prisoners.

The Japanese indulge in self-deception.

April 23, 1942 – Thursday

At 11 a.m. the destroyer left us and an Australian Cruiser escorted us. Sea quite rough. Mrs. Quezon and daughters sea sick.

April 22, 1942 – Wednesday

Nothing unusual . Trip rough but comfortably cold. The only inconvenience is the black out which is a real “black out” from sunset to sunrise.

April 22, 1942

Received information that there is plenty of camote in Pangasinan, particularly in the municipalities of Bautista and Gerona; mongo, in the municipalities of Bautista and Gerona; mongo, in the municipalities of Urdaneta, Villasis and Binalonan; corn is almost all municipalities. There is no outlet for these products at present because of the dislocation of transportation and the lack of fuel. Must ask the Military Administration to take a hand in the purchase of these valuable food products for distribution and marketing.

Several prisoners of war have escaped from camp. That is like escaping from death.

April 21, 1942

Capas, Tarlac

F.C. Camp

Joined the grave-detail. We buried those that died this morning. Some of the graves yesterday were not dug deep enough. The bodies buried yesterday have been unearthed. The sand here is clayish because the cemetery is too near the river.

One of the boys we buried had a little piece of paper in his pocket. We opened it. It was the copy of a citation awarding him for exceptional bravery in an attack in Bataan.

(later)

Most of the boys in the camp are very depressed. They feel that “it will be a long time before we are released.”

Many are disappointed with our leaders in Manila. “All they know is to give speeches and make promises!” “Why don’t they resign from their posts if the Japs do not want to release us?”

Personally, I don’t think we will be released until all resistance in the islands has ceased. The Japs are afraid that when we are strong enough, we might start trouble again. Besides, they want to make up for the thousands of Japs who died in Bataan. The more among us that die here, the better for them.

(later)

Collecting impressions of everyone here about Bataan. It will make a book someday. Am also listening to everybody’s experience during the long walk from Bataan to this prison camp.

Apparently, the Japs gave every barch more or less the same kind of treatment, although some groups got very much worse treatment.

Consensus is that at least 15,000 died during that bloody march. Japs bayoneted men who could not keep up with the pace. Very little rest was given. Some were shot for trying to escape.

For example, there was an old soldier who took off his shoes because of blisters. Suddenly, one of the Japs clubbed him on the head. A relative of the clubbed man charged at the Jap. Both fellows were tied to a tree and slowly tortured. Their shouts could be heard by all those around, but no one was allowed to look.

Someone said that in Orani, everybody was searched. One fellow was found with Jap money in his pocket. The Jap soldier said in broken English: “Why you have Jap money? So maybe you take that from dead Jap soldier! O.K… Now you die!” And he was bayoneted in the lungs. According to the one telling the story, the Jap money was given by a Japanese officer who bought the boy’s watch.

After such exchange of stories, everybody ends the conversation with the remark: “Someday we will get even, someday.”

Very few boys in camp think that Corregidor will be able to stand. Quite a number are disappointed at America. They ask: “Where is the convoy she promised?” The great majority believe, however, “in due time, when American factories get going, Japan will be beaten.”

Must stop writing. It’s getting dark. We have no lights here.

Two boys are humming a duet. Kundiman again. I like kundimans. They are soft, plaintive, full of feeling, lonely, very lonely.

They have stopped singing. Somebody in the group is weeping. I wonder why.

(later)

Just ate another camote. Superb.

[diary does not resume until September 21, 1944]

April 21, 1942 – Tuesday

Got up early, finished packing, paid my hotel bill and rushed to house of the President. 9:30 a.m. returned to Hotel Chevron, to pick Vice President Osmeña and we drive to the dock. Boarded the President Coolidge. I was given cabin 207. The Vice-President 208. At 11:30 a.m. General MacArthur and his staff arrived to bid us good trip. The ship sailed at 1 p.m. An Australian destroyer escorted us.

April 20, 1942

F.C.C.

Capas, Tarlac

Found a good friend, Toots Rivera. He is in charge of one of the kitchens. He gave me two “camotes.” It was a feast.

We talked about the long walk from Bataan to this place. He estimates that about 18,000 perished in that bloody march. Someday I intend to write about it, if I don’t die here myself.

Heard from him about the cruel death of Martin de Veyra. A squad of Japs stopped de Veyra and asked him to give them his pocketbook. watch. and ring, according to Rivera. “Then one of the Japs,” explained Rivera, “started to shout at de Veyra.” Apparently, de Veyra did not want to give his ring, for sentimental reasons, said Rivera. The Jap got angry, he fixed his bayonet and thust it on top of de Veyra’s right eye. De Veyra dropped on the Japs feet, and he was left on the ground. No one was allowed to lift him.

I told Rivera that one of the sights I never forget was a dreadful hole about the size of a small well, near Lubao, Pampanga. There, the bodies of American prisoners, who dropped on the ground because they were too weak to walk, were piled high. Others were bayoneted when they refused to stand because their legs could no longer lift their haggard bodies. Inside the “hole” were many snakes crawling over the bleeding bodies of the Americans. I noticed three or four were still alive…

I also saw one American Major shout in desperation: “Hell, you damn Japs, go ahead and kill me, KILL ME! KILL ME! I CAN’T WALK ANYMORE– KILL ME!” The Jap killed him with a cruel blow that smashed the American’s cranium.

April 20, 1942 – Monday

I went out with Vice-President Osmeña to the center of the city. Left him there and went to the President’s house. At 10 a.m. I went to General Sutherland’s office. Discussed with him important matters.

11 a.m. Rushed to Chevron Hotel, Mr. Pick, President of the Victorian Tennis Association called on me. We drove to the Bank of New South Wales where the Davis Cup, emblem of tennis supremacy is deposited. He showed it to me. He was very kind and advised me that I had been made an Honorary Member of the Victorian Tennis Club.

Had dinner at Florentino’s. Went to the movies to see That Night in Rio. When I got home I found a note that Colonel Sher wanted to talk to me. I rushed to Menzies Hotel. Saw Colonel Sher.

April 19, 1942

Concentration Camp

Capas, Tarlac

Great day. Dr. Escoto of the Red Cross was able to enter our camp. He was called by the Camp Commander because the Jap guard is sick. He passed our quarters, gave medicines for the boys with dysentery and malaria. He left bottles of quinine and sulfa-thiasol to the medical officers. I asked him if he could give a letter for my family. He said make it small and short so I can keep it in my pocket without the guards noticing. They might search me. I wrote: “Dear Mama and Papa: How are you? I love you.” It was a silly letter.

I am not feeling well. I have a fever everyday. There is nothing to do but pray. I pray as many rosaries as I can. It makes me feel better.

Pimentel and Fernando are sure to die, according to a medical officer…

 

(later)

 

Met a fellow whose name I don’t remember now. He said he asked the doctor to see his family for him, but he forgot to give his address.

Col. Alba told us today that one prisoner was shot while trying to escape.

April 19, 1942 – Monday

Attended Mass at President Quezon’s house. He asked us to stay for breakfast. At 10 a.m. I went to General MacArthur’s Headquarters to finish some important matters. Returned to Chevron for luncheon.

At 1:45 p.m. Mr. Robertson (Robby) picked me up and we drove to the Victorian Tennis Club where I was the guest of Mr. & Mrs. Harry Hopman. It is on the center court of this club that the important Australian Tennis tournaments and also the Davis Cup games are held. The two center courts were reserved for us. We had marvelous games. I played very well. Paired with Hopman we played against two very good players and we beat them 6-0. The second set was not played as it was ‘tea-time.’

From the club we drove to Mr. & Mrs. Hopman’s house which is near the club for sandwiches and drinks. I had to leave at 6 p.m. as I had a dinner engagement.

At 7 p.m. Vice-President Osmeña and I attended a family dinner given in the home of Mr. & Mrs. Purges and their attractive daughter Valerie.