Today is Bataan Day. The Philippines Free Press Blog has three articles to commemorate Bataan Day:
False rumors and false hopes demonstrates the confusion caused by rumor and propaganda during times of war.
I saw the Death March recounts the feelings and behavior of Filipinos who saw Filipino and American prisoners brutalized by the enemy.
World War II in the Philippines attempts to explain the great harm caused Philippine society by the experience of the Japanese Occupation.
Americans call their World War II veterans “the greatest generation.” They are our forgotten generation.
Here is an extract from the War Diary of Gen. Basilio Valdes, chief of staff of the Philippine Army during the war:
February 4, 1942 – Wednesday
I awoke at 7:20 a.m. It was too late to attend Mass, so I continued to sleep. I got up at 9 a.m., and found Manolo in the house arranging the food supplies received from the SS Legaspi. He told me that Captain Andres Soriano was in the tunnel. I saw Andres and we invited him to have an improvised luncheon with us. He ate voraciously. We again had supper together and he will spend the night with us at the house. He will go to Bataan tomorrow with me. After the dinner the President sent word that he wanted to converse with Soriano. They went to the tent while I went to USAFFE Headquarters to phone General Francisco regarding our trip tomorrow.
I returned home at 10 p.m.
February 5, 1942 – Thursday
Got up at 5 a.m. Shaved, took a bath etc. At 6:45 a.m. left the house for the dock with Vice-President Osmeña, Chief Justice Abad Santos, Captain Andres Soriano, Major B. Diño, Medical Service and Lieutenant Jose Abad Santos, Jr. The launch Baler took us to Cabcaben where we arrived at 7:20 a.m. General Francisco, General McBride, Colonel Sellick, Colonel Jalandoni and Major Gavalen were waiting for us. On three cars we proceeded to the evacuation area N-1 which is near Cabcaben. The camp has been recently organized to accommodate the civilians that evacuated from the towns recently occupied by the Japanese and from the mountain regions which fall within the zone of battle. General McBride informed me that the first information that they had received was that the evacuees numbered about three to four thousand. This figure was wrong because there were about ten thousand already. The camp was fairly well organized each family having built a small bahay kubo under trees so as not to be seen from the air. The problem of sanitation is serious. There were some places with a strong odor of human excreta. I talked to the doctor in charge and to the evacuees. From this camp we walked through fields to the Base Hospital N-2 U.S. Army which is about half a kilometer from this camp. We met the Commanding Officer Colonel Vander Broughest and he took us around to the various wards, all placed in the open air. I saw many Philippine Army officers and enlisted men, and also some U.S. Army. I distributed some packages of cigarettes and they were all happy to get a good smoke. I also distributed matches and soap. In the front these three articles are in great demand. Soap is so scarce that officers and men have to wash their underwear, without soap, and use them again without ironing. I was surprised to see among the wounded Lieutenant Orobia and Lieutenant Molina of the Air Corps. They were wounded in the battle of Aglaloma where 200 Japanese were able to land.
Upon leaving the hospital we took the cars again and proceeded to the Command Post of General Francisco which is in Km 166. He was busy studying maps and giving orders. I walked to Manolin’s place which is about 300 yards from General Francisco. Lieutenant Colonel Roxas and other Medical Officers were all together. Manolin had his bed and tent nicely fixed under a large tree. While at General Francisco’s Command Post I phoned to Lee Stevens who is a Captain and is assigned under Colonel Quinn in Motor Pool N-2 at Lamao point. I asked him to meet me at San Jose but unfortunately we were delayed and he left before I could see him.
From General Francisco’s place we went to General McBride’s Command Post situated in the interior of the forest. While we were seated there having a cup of coffee, a Japanese plane passed by and circled around apparently on observation. General Marshall came from his Command Post to talk to me regarding the pay of civilian laborers. He was under the impression that the Commonwealth Government was paying them per diems in addition to their pay from the U.S. Armies. I informed him that this was not true. We talked with Colonel Fischer who is handling the G-2 work of the H.P.D.
From here we proceeded to base hospital N-1 which had been transferred from Limay to “Little Baguio”. It was neatly kept. Colonel Duckworth the Commanding Officer took us around the wards and operating rooms. I saw for the first an X-ray unit similar to the ones we ordered before the war broke out and which we never received.
Then we proceeded to Km.172 the old Command Post of General Francisco which has been transferred by Colonel Luna into an evacuation hospital. Further into the interior of the forest the evacuation camp N-3 for civilians was being installed under the supervision of Captain Gonzalez Infantry U.S. Army and Dr. Baltazar of the health service, brother in law of Lieutenant E.D. Rufino. Nice place now. I believe it will be damp during the rainy season.
Then we proceeded to the evacuation camp N-2 for civilians situated above Mariveles. There were serveal families from Bacolor. They were happy to see us. A young lady approached me and said: “General, how is Charito(Nucay), your little girl”? “I believe she is all right”, I answered. “Give her my best regards, I am Socorro Sarmiento, her teacher in the Assumption Convent”. What a coincidence! To find in “no-mans land”, living the life of a soldier, the teacher of my child.
Then we proceeded to the Headquarters of the Philippine Army where I conversed with the officers and discussed with them several problems presented to me for decision.
From here we went to Barrio San Jose near Mariveles. This hour (3 p.m.) being the time when the Japanese planes invariable bombard the airfield at Mariveles, General McBride suggested that we take the cut-off. I readily approved not only because I realized that the Mariveles road was an inferno every afternoon, but also because I was not familiar with the cut-off. I did not regret having taken this decision. The road is really picturesque, crossing the mountain ridge giving the traveler, a wonderful airplane view of the surrounding country and the Mariveles bay.
On the road we passed the prison compound. General McBride invited us to see it. It is a huge place surrounded by two walls of barbed wire three meters apart. Within the compound the prisoners were separated into small sections. In the left corner there were two enemy aliens (Germans); they looked well fed and contented. In an middle section there were ten Japanese wearing a black blue Kimono which had white letters on the back P.O.W. (Prisoner of War.) I was informed that they had ten prisoners from the Philippine Army and I asked to see them. I was allowed to enter the compound but I was made to leave the pistol with the guard outside. Lieutenants Ponter and Medden U.S. Army did the same thing. As we entered two additional guards rushed to the rear part of the compound and guarded us while I talked to the men. I found that 7 out of the 10 were in for desertion. I investigated them briefly and I became convinced that the charge of desertion could not be proven. They were soldiers left behind when their units changed positions in the battle line and had been lost. As a matter of fact they had been asking for the position of their units.
From here we continued our trip to Barrio San Jose, Mariveles, where the launch Baler was waiting for us. We arrived at 4:50 p.m. Just as we stepped out of the cars and began walking down the cliff to go to the beach we saw three Japanese planes returning from their bombing expedition to Mariveles and apparently were on their way to Cabcaben.
The wind was blowing hard and the waves were larger than usual making it hard for us to board the launch. We were finally carried by sailor to a boat which took us to the launch.
We arrived at Fort Mills at 6 p.m. Too late for dinner, had to dine at the house.
February 6, 1942 – Friday
The President called a Cabinet Meeting at 9 a.m. He was depressed and talked to us of his impression regarding the war and the situation in Bataan. It was a memorable occasion. The President made remarks that the Vice-President refuted. The discussion became very heated ,reaching its climax when the President told the Vice-President that if those were his points of view he could remain behind as President, and that he was not ready to change his opinion. I came to the Presidents defense and made a criticism of the way Washington had pushed us into this conflict and then abandoning us to our own fate. Colonel Roxas dissented from my statement and left the room, apparently disgusted. He was not in accord with the President’s plans. The discussion the became more calm and at the end the President had convinced the Vice-President and the Chief Justice that his attitude was correct. A telegram for President Roosevelt was to be prepared.
In the afternoon we were again called for a meeting. We were advised that the President had discussed his plan with General MacArthur and had received his approval.
February 7, 1942 – Saturday
9 a.m. Another meeting of the Cabinet. The telegram, prepared in draft, was re-read and corrected and shown to the President for final approval. He then passed it to General MacArthur for transmittal to President Roosevelt. The telegram will someday become a historical document of tremendous importance. I hope it will be well received in Washington.
As a result of this work and worry the President has developed a fever.
February 8, 1942 – Sunday
Attended Mass early (6.30 a.m.) in the tunnel of Battery North also know as Battery Kysur.
The President’s temperature continues, not very high, but he feels uneasy.
Passed the night in the house. SS Legaspi sails for Panay.
February 9, 1942 – Monday
The President is feeling better. His temperature is down. He had dinner in the house with his family. Planned to spend the night in the house; however at 10:30 p.m. a terrific explosion was heard which shook the windows and doors. After a few minutes General MacArthur telephoned advising the President to return to the tunnel as he feared the Japanese were shelling the island. The President & Mrs. Quezon left right away. I remained. After ten minutes General MacArthur came personally to the house to tell me not to go as it was all safe. The President did not return.
February 10, 1942 – Tuesday
The Japanese were shelling the rock. Only two hits – no casualties.
February 11, 1942 – Wednesday
Had a Cabinet Meeting. The reply of President Roosevelt to President Quezon’s radio was received. No, was the reply. It also allowed General MacArthur to surrender Philippine Islands if necessary. General MacArthur said he could not do it. The President said that he would resign in favor of Osmeña. There was no use to dissuade him then. We agreed to work slowly to convince him that this step would not be appropriate.
He dined at the house. He feels better. Morale is better. Went home at 4 a.m. (to the tunnel)
February 12, 1942 – Thursday
The President had a long conference with General MacArthur. Afterwards he sent for me. He asked me: “If I should decide to leave Corregidor what do you want to do?” “I want to remain with my troops at the front that is my duty” I replied. He stretched his hand and shook my hand “That is a manly decision; I am proud of you” he added and I could see tear in his eyes. “Call General MacArthur” he ordered “I want to inform him of your decision.” I called General MacArthur. While they conferred, I went to USAFFE Headquarters tunnel to confer with General Sutherland. When General MacArthur returned he stretched his hand and shook hands with me and said “I am proud of you Basilio, that is a soldier’s decision.”
When I returned to the room of the President, he was with Mrs. Quezon. She stood up and kissed me, and then cried. The affection shown to me by the President & Mrs. Quezon touched me deeply. Then he sent for Manolo Nieto and in our presence, the President told Mrs. Quezon with reference to Manolo, “I am deciding it; I am not leaving it to him. I need him. He has been with me in my most critical moments. When I needed someone to accompany my family to the States, I asked him to do it. When I had to be operated I took him with me; now that need him more then ever, I am a sick man. I made him an officer to make him my aide. He is not like Basilio, a military man by career. Basilio is different, I forced him to accept the position he now had; his duty is with his troops”. Then he asked for Whisky and Gin and asked us to drink. Colonel Roxas and Lieutenant Clemente came in. We drank to his health. He made a toast: “To the Filipino Soldier the pride of our country”, and he could not continue as he began to cry.
In the afternoon, I had my blood typed. I am type “O”.
February 13, 1942 – Friday
Nothing unusual. I took my tetanus injection, first dose, and ordered my dog tags prepared, to be ready for duty on the front.
February 14, 1942 – Saturday
6:30 a.m. left Corregidor for Bataan on a Q boat. The sea was very rough and it could not make any speed.
I arrived at 7:30 a.m. at Cabcaben. Colonel Hill and General de Jesus were waiting for me. I gave some instructions to General de Jesus and then left with Colonel Hill in a command car for the Command Post of General Lough. It was a hard trip through newly constructed trails in the mountains. The dust was terrible. We reached a place in the mountain where the trail ended. Then we had to hike up-hill. We reached the Command Post of General Lough at 10:45 a.m. There I met General Lough and his staff, General Lim and his aide, Lieutenant Santos, General Capinpin Captain Angel Tuason. I had a letter for Bubby Tuason from Loling, that had been smuggled out of Manila by someone. As soon as he received the note he began to cry. I patted him on the shoulder and told him to cheer up. I talked to General Capinpin and General Lim regarding the morale of the officers and men. At 11 a.m. while I was talking to them we heard the roar of airplane engines. I was told that there were 12 bombers and four pursuits. They encircled around again and again. They flew so low that we could distinctly hear the characteristic whistle that the bombers have. General Lough ordered that everyone stand near the entrance of the dug outs. Suddenly we heard the explosions caused by the bombs dropped towards our left probably some artillery placements. At 11:30 p.m. when we realized that the danger had passed we hiked back to our car and proceeded to the Command Post of Colonel Catalin Commanding Officer of 21st F.A. He was waiting for me on the road together with Major Villarreal and Lieutenant Aquino.
He showed me his post. I inspected his Command Post and discussed with him the phases of military situation and the morale of the officers and men.
Left his Command Post for the offshore patrol base at Lamao. Major Villarreal offered to go with me to show me the new place, as Captain Jurado, had transferred his Post to another place, as his former place had been bombed by enemy planes.
When I arrived there I found Lee Stevens waiting for me. He is a captain Q.M.C. USAFFE. We talked for a while and ate a luncheon prepared impromptu by Captain Jurado. He served Carabao meat. It was not bad. Before I left Lee gave me a letter to be opened only in case of his death. Lee is the Commanding Officer of a motor pool. His place was recently bombed.
From this place I rushed to the Philippine Army Hospital at Km. 172 to inspect. The conditions not as good as I would like them to be. The ward tents are dark and give the impression of poor ventilation. The general arrangement is poor. I instructed Colonel Luna to discuss the matter with Colonel Janairo, Chief engineer.
I left the Philippine Army hospital with Colonel Hill & Major Cruz for the Command Post of General Marshall. Washed up and had dinner with him. Proceeded afterwards to Cabcaben to take the Q boat which was waiting to take me to the rock. Colonel Browley of the Staff of General Moore asked to be allowed to come with me. I was happy to authorize him to do so.
On the way from General Marshall’s Command Post to Cabcaben, Colonel Browley told me that he had just inspected Anti-Aircraft batteries in Mariveles and praised the Philippine Army unit. He said that the two outstanding batteries or Anti-Aircraft units there was one American (Colonel National Guard) and one Philippine Army composed of our trainees from Fort Windt 90% and Scout Filipino N.C.O. 10%. The American unit has 14 planes to its credit; the Philippine Army unit 12 planes. The previous day two Japanese planes who were apparently on a bombing mission to Mariveles make a dive to attack our unit. Our boys received them with a heavy barrage and brought the two planes down with only 40 rounds of ammunition consumed.
When we arrived at Cabcaben, the sea was very rough, and the Captain of the Q boat had difficulty in docking it. Finally he was successful. We arrived at Corregidor at 6:30 p.m. I saw the President to report my trip and then went home for supper.
February 15, 1942 – Sunday
Attended mass at 6:30 a.m. At 9 a.m. the President called a meeting of his war cabinet. The matter of our possible exit from the rock was discussed. It was shown that the President could be of more help to General MacArthur and the general situation outside of the rock. The President conferred after with General MacArthur. He readily saw our point of view, to which was added my frequent report regarding the physical condition of the President. General MacArthur promised to radio asking for a submarine.
The Japanese are shelling Corregidor from the Cavite coast, probably Ternate. Killed one American Soldier and wounded five.
February 16, 1942 – Monday
General MacArthur reported that all was O.K. The submarine would be arriving Thursday.
The Japanese are still shelling us but they hit the water.
We dined on the SS Legaspi. We had just finished when two shells, fell on the dock near the boat. All the laborers ran away. We had to leave the boat and go to the tunnel.
February 17-18, 1942
Finally arrangements for our departure were completed.
February 19, 1942 – Thursday
I spoke with the President and asked him for permissions to go to Bataan. At 1 p.m. Major Velasquez and I, on the launch of the Apo, went to San Jose, Mariveles. Captain Lee Stevens and Mr. Boquer took advantage of our boat to return to Bataan. We arrived at San Jose. Lee, Boquer and Major Velasquez proceeded North. I waited for General de Jesus. In the meanwhile, I inspected Captain Bautista and Major Turingan’s coast defenses. I saw the Bautista family of Malolos who were near Captain Bautista’s place.
When General de Jesus arrived I went to visit Mrs. Segundo, and Mrs. P. Martelino and Mrs. A. Martelino who are camped near the U.S. Cavalry camp inside of the forest Km 167. From there I went to the Philippine Army Ordinance Depot to inspect. Neat, well kept. Men doing good work, however, I am worried about all the Enfield rifles that are stored there, in case the enemy brakes through our lines.
Then I went to the Command Post of General McBride where we discussed the situation of the civilian population and the morale of the troops. He is very understanding of the Filipino psychology and our needs.
At 4:15 p.m. I returned to San Jose. I wanted to return early to be in Corregidor for dinner. We celebrated Mrs. Quezon’s birthday we ordered a cake.
When I arrived I found that all the baggage was ready to leave. I rushed home to get my things ready, packed rapidly and saw that my things were sent to the dock. Then I went to the dock with Colonel Nieto.
As we were leaving the tunnel, the truck that was to carry important boxes arrived with the guards. The officer in charge told me that the enemy was shelling the dock. We waited l/2 hour and then we proceeded. We supervised the loading of all baggage, rice and other cargo on the barge which pulled out at 11 p.m. for the SS Don Esteban. All the members and personnel of the Presidential party with the exception of President, his family, his war cabinet & Colonel Nieto left at midnight, en route for an undisclosed destination. The captain was given sealed orders.
February 20, 1942 – Friday
I was informed this morning that the Don Esteban cleared the mine zone at 2:30 a.m. The President informed me that we would leave the tunnel at 10:30 p.m. I was kept busy all day attending to important correspondence and matters that needed special attention. The President was in excellent spirits. I was depressed and sad. I did not want to leave; I do not want to go. I feel that it is my duty to stay with my troops and suffer the same suffering and the same end. But General MacArthur objected to my remaining either in Corregidor or in Bataan. He told the President in my presence that it is his opinion that my presence in Visayas or Mindanao was of greater importance.
At 7 p.m. General Sutherland came to see me to give the citations for General MacArthur, General Sutherland, General Marshall, Lieutenant Colonel Huff, and Colonel Hill for the Commonwealth Distinguished Service Star. I could bear it no longer. I told General Sutherland that they had been very unfair with me, by sending me far from my troops in the field. I was not able to control my feelings and I cried. I told him that I would refuse to leave unless I got a written order from the President. An hour later he brought me an order signed by the President. Being a soldier I have no other alternative but to obey.
General MacArthur with General Sutherland arrived at 10:25 p.m. As per schedule we left the tunnel in three cars at 10:30 p.m. Car N-1 carried the Vice-President, The Chief Justice and Colonel Huff. Car N-2 carried Baby and Nini Quezon and myself. Car N-3 carried General MacArthur, General Sutherland, the President, Mrs. Quezon and Nonong. We went to the dock and boarded a launch that took us to the Submarine Swordfish, one of the large ones the U.S Navy has. We left Mariveles at about 11:30 p.m. I read and talked until 1 a.m. when I went to sleep on top of the dining table.
On this day, 64 years ago, the country heard the following broadcast on the Voice of Freedom by Norman Reyes:
Bataan has fallen
(Read over “The Voice of Freedom,” from Corregidor, on April 9, 1942)
Bataan has fallen. The Philippine-American troops on this war-ravaged and blood-stained peninsula have laid down their arms. With heads bloody but unbowed, they have yielded to the superior force and numbers of the enemy.
The world will long remember the epic struggle that the Filipino and American soldiers put up in the jungle fastnesses and along the rugged coasts of Bataan. They have stood up uncomplaining under the constant and grueling fire of the enemy for more than three months. Besieged on land, and blockaded by sea, cut off from all sources of help in the Philippines and America, these intrepid fighters have done all that human endurance should bear.
For what sustained them through these months of incessant battle was a force more than physical. It was the force of an unconquerable faith – something in the heart and soul that physical adversity and hardship could not destroy. It was the thought of native land and all that it holds most dear, the thought of freedom and dignity and pride in those most priceless of all our human prerogatives.
Our men fought a brave and bitterly contested struggle. All the world will testify to the almost superhuman endurance with which they stood up until the last, in the face of overwhelming odds.
The decision had to come. Men fighting under the banner of an unshakable faith are made of something more than flesh, but they are not impervious to steel. The flesh must yield at last, endurance melts away, and the end of the battle must come.
BATAAN HAS FALLEN! But the spirit that made it stand – a beacon to all the liberty-loving people of the world – cannot fall!
All of us know the story of Easter Sunday. It was the triumph of light over darkness, life over death. It was the vindication of a seemingly unreasonable faith. It was the glorious resurrection of a leader, only three days before defeated and executed like a common felon.
Today, on the commemoration of that Resurrection, we can humbly and without presumption declare our faith and hope in our own resurrection, our own inevitable victory.
We, too, were betrayed by Judases. We were taken in the night by force of arms, and though we had done wrong to no man, our people were bound and delivered into the hands of our enemies. We have been with mock symbols of sovereignty, denied by weaklings, lashed with repeated oppression, tortured and starved. We have been given gall to drink, and we have shed our blood. To those who look upon us from afar it must seem the Filipino people have descended into hell, into the valley of death. But we know that the patient and watching men who said their simple prayers in the hills of Bataan, have not lost faith, and we know that the hushed congregations in the churches throughout the land, drew from the gospel as Mass renewed hope in their resurrection. To all of them we give today the message of the angel of Easter morning: “Be not afraid, for He is risen.”
We, too, shall rise. After we have paid the full price of our redemption, we shall return to show the scars of sacrifices that all may touch and believe. When the trumpets sound the hour we shall roll aside the stone before the tomb and the tyrant guards shall scatter in confusion. No wall of stone shall then be strong enough to contain us, no human force shall suffice to hold us in subjection, we shall rise in the name of freedom and the East shall be alight with the glory of our liberation.
Until then, people of the Philippines, BE NOT AFRAID.
Jose Calugas, who won the Medal of Honor at Bataan.
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