WWII DIARY OF
COMMODORE RAMON A. ALCARAZ
January 4,1943. Today we got S.O, BC Hq, relieving Sr Insp Antonio C Diano '19, Trfd BC Hq Manila. I am designated Actg Sr Insp effective this date. (The Senior Inspector Post is what was known as PC Prov Comdr before). As Actg Sr Insp, I made courtesy calls on the Governor, Chief of local Kempei-tai and Japanese Army Garrison. In my conversation with N Vizcaya's Gov D Quirino, I noted that he is converted as a rabid pro-Jap in contrast with his young son, Jose or Joe, a fanatic pro-American who used to bring food from my kitchen to American POWs in the local garrison. The Gov house is just across the street from my residence, we are close but strange neighbors.
During my call with local Japanese military heads, I informed them of the desire of barrio people from Bagabag and Solano to form neighborhood association watch to help us in our peace and order effort. They were happy to hear about the idea and I even requested if Japanese instructors can be assigned to teach them 'radyo taisho' which is Japanese calisthenics popular in the military. They also promised me to do that. My purpose in bringing this subject is to have a reason to gather the men of Capt Guillermo Aban in Bagabag; and of Capt Fernando Asuncion in Solano for training while laying low. In this manner, they can perform guard duties and basic drills - valid reason to assemble our underground men.
January 6,1943. Yesterday, I got a P2,000.00 remittance from the local PNB Bank sent by Don Juan Elizalde as he promised for our intelligence fund. This will help a lot for the travels of SA Pablo Naval, my special liaison with LCol Manolo Enriquez.
This morning, I had an hour private secret conference with Capt Guillermo Aban and Capt Fernando Asuncion, COs of two companies laying low in Bagabag and Solano. I told them about the neighborhood association idea approved by the local Japanese military as a means to assemble their men for "radyo taisho" training exercises when Japanese instructors become available. I alerted them to be ready when I set the dates after I get the schedule from the local Japanese Garrison under Captain Ikeda. Needless to say how happy and excited are Capts Aban and Asuncion at the prospect of assembling their men again without fear. I cautioned them to act naturally as humble barrio inhabitants interested in the peace and order of their neighborhoods. Before they departed, I also gave Capts Aban an Asuncion Special Agent of BC I.D. Cards like the one issued to SA Pablo Naval to facilitate their contact with me.
January 8,1943. I visited Capt Ikeda of the local Japanese Army Garrison at his office this morning and he received me cordially. While we were having tea, he announced that the instructors I requested to teach "radyo taishyo' to the barrio neighborhood association of Bagabag and Solano are ready for three Saturdays sessions starting next Sat which will be Jan 16 followed by Jan 23 and Jan 30. Capt Ikeda thinks three teaching sessions will be enough. I am elated Capt Ikeda is interested in the idea that shows those 'barrio people have the proper attitude'. We agreed that the first training session starts at 0800H at Barrio Paniqui, Bagabag followed at 1000H at nearby barrio Ibung, Solano. Capt Ikeda expressed his desire to witness the first training session January 16 and we agreed that we will ride together in his car.
After returning to my office, I summoned Capt Guillermo Aban and Fernando Asuncion and late in the afternoon, had a conference. I told them about the 'radyo taisho' training schedule for the next three Saturdays starting Jan. 16, furnishing them each the printed schedule - 0800H in Bagabag and 1000H in Solano. I told them I will introduce them as barrio captains and your men are members of your neighborhood association eager to perform barrio watch. That many of them were former trainees and had some military training before. From then on, we will play it by ear. However, I asked them to prepare the barrio very well on Jan 16 as Capt Ikeda will be with me and I want to impress him.
January 16,1943. Per schedule, we left Bayombong for Barrio Paniqui, Bagabag to teach the Barrio Neighborhood Watch "Radyo Taisho" I arranged with the Japanese Army, early today on a convoy of two Japanes Army Vehicles, a car and a truck. Capt Ikeda and I took the car followed by the small truck with two Japanese Taisho Instructors and a squad of my BC men under Sgt Norberto Aquino as security. We arrived at Paniqui before 0800H with 50 Neighborhood Watch of Capt Gullermo Aban lined up to welcome us. I introduced Aban to Capt Ikeda as the local barrio Captain. Ikeda seems impressed at the friendly attitude of the people and without much ado, the two Japanese Instructors took over and started teaching Aban's men Radyo Taisho at the spacious barrio school ground. Radyo Taisho is Japanese calisthenics used in their basic military training and all BC men know it. My purpose here is to get the blessings of the local Japanese military to assemble our men that will help in neighborhood watch or guard, to perform Radyo Taisho and later certain military drills during the time they are laying low. Capt Ikeda, I and many others watched the training which went through smoothly with very favorable remarks from Capt Ikeda. My BC men under Sgt Aquino helped a lot. The training terminated at 0900H, Capt Aban prepared breakfast for us which Ikeda at first hesitated to partake.
After we have eaten, I keda thanked Aban and the barrio people of Paniqui. We then proceeded to nearby Barrio Ibung, Solano arriving there at 1000H with Capt Fernando Asuncion with his barrio watch lined up to welcome us at the school grounds. After introducing barrio captain Asuncion to Capt Ikeda, the Japanese instructors started teaching the barrio watch Radyo Taisho which was easily learned with the help of my BC men. Capt Ikeda was also impressed with what he witnessed at barrio Ibung, specially old man everyone call Lakay Molina. The people are peaceful and friendly. We stayed at barrio Ibung up to 1100H, after which we returned to Bayombong.
During our return trip, Capt Ikeda said he was impressed of the neighborhood watch idea and added that the people can live happily and contented only when there is peace and hopes that more towns in Vizcaya will follow the example of the barrio people he witnessed himself. This was the first time he had visited these two outlaying barrios at the foot of Cordillera Mountain whose approaches are ideal for ambuscades. He thank me for providing security and an enlightening trip.
January 21,2003. This morning I had a most pleasant surprise, two prominent visitors, Spanish Aviator Capt Juan Calvo known for his solo flight from Manila to Madrid in mid-30s, and Col Alfredo Ramorez '14, former Comdt, UST ROTC, both with the 14th Inf Intelligence of Col. Enriquez. They cover their travel as traders with dry goods in their truck and wanted a BC pass to facilitate getting through BC check points which I granted.
After briefing them of the condition of peace and order in Vizcaya with my good rapport with local Japanese military authorities, Col Ramirez informed me of recent developments since our meeting at Miss Lulu Reyes place last month. He said the Japanese are clamping on guerrillas that early this month, a counter-intelligence unit under one, Gen Baba started at Kempei-tai Hq in Manila. The Sakdalistas set up their own informant network called “Makapili” reporting directly to Baba. Raids were made often and it was reported that Col Thorpe operating from Mt Pinatubo was captured near Ft Stotsenburgh, while Capt Joe Barker was captured in Manila and both are now in Ft Santiago. Col Ramirez also reported that guerrilla leader Ralph McGuire was captured and executed. The Colonel also cautioned me to be very careful. They left later for Cagayan province whose Sr Inspector is my classmate Leoncio Tan '28.
January 23,1943. This morning I passed by Capt Ikeda's office with my BC Squad for our scheduled Saturday Taisho Training Instructions. Capt Ikeda told me he can not come with me as he has some official schedule this morning but he loaned me his truck that we used with his two Taisho Instructors. We proceeded to barrio Paniqui, Bagabag where "barrio Captain Guillermo Aban" and his neighborhood watchmen were waiting in the school grounds. Without much ado, Taisho Instructions started at 0800H with my BC men assisting this time. The Instructions were executed very well I could see how impressed the Japanese Instructors were at their students enthusiasm. While the instructions were going on, I told Aban who was with me on the sideline, to start close order drills after we leave. Also beginning tonight, he can maintain two posts at the extremities of the barrio where they can start performing guard duties as part of their renewed military training.
Taisho Training Instructions terminated 0930H in Bagabag and we proceeded to barrio Ibung, Solano where "Barrio Captain Fernando Asuncion" and his men were waiting and started Taishyo Training at 1000H. Like at Barrio Paniqui, the men at Barrio Ibung performed very well with enthusiasm and while they were going into the motions, I gave the same instructions to Capt Asuncion about conducting close order drills and guard duty training, the same instructions I gave Capt Aban.
Taisho Training in Solano terminated 1130H with the Japanese Instructors saying their students in Solano as well as in Bagabag performed so well that they felt they have completed their job in two sessions. I was happy to hear what they said and requested that they make that report to Capt Ikeda. We arrived back in Bayombong at noon and thank Capt Ikeda for the services of his two Instructors for a job well done.
January 26,1943. After my Taisho Training visit in Solano three days ago, I instructed SA Pablo Naval to see me that afternoon in my office in Bayombong. In the privacy of my office, I instructed him "as soon as ready" to proceed to Baguio area where our Grla Comdr, LCol Enriquez is "laying low in hiding" to give the following report: "Peace and order in Vizcaya is good as the guerrilla units there are under my complete control; my rapport with Japanese military authorities is also good with their blessing on our neighborhood association idea wherein Taisho Instructions were given twice, and the authorized assemblies gave us opportunity to further military training. When I arrived in Bayombong early last Nov, there were a dozen American POWs that included LCol E Warner, original 14th Inf CO and LCol Theodore Kalakuka, emissary of Gen Wainright in the surrender process after the fall of Corregidor. Warner surrendered to Kalakuka and their combined efforts in collaboration with the Chief of Police of Jones, Isabela caused the capture of LCol G. Nacar, who, I understand, was executed. Early last month two American POWs, LCol Kalakuka and a Lt Ziegler, died of dysentery and malaria and were burried at the local Catholic Cemetery. Before the end of last month all American POWs were transferred to Cabanatuan POW Camp." Since this report will be delivered verbally, I asked Naval to repeat what the message is and to my satisfaction, he covered all subjects verbatim.
Today, my being Actg Sr Inspector of Vizcaya ended with the arrival of Inspector Sergio Laurente '21. After a formal turnover this afternoon, I accompanied him to the Provincial Capitol to pay a social call on Gov Quirino and other officials. He was received cordially as he has a pleasing personality. At the start of the war, Laurente was provincial PC Comdr of Ilocos Sur and when the Japanese landed there Dec. 10,1941, he was taken by surprise, immediately captured and earned the distinction of being the first Filipino USAFFE to become POW. From the way I size him up, I think we will have a very pleasant camaraderie although he graduated from the old PCA nineteen years before I graduated from PMA in 1940.