WWII DIARY OF
COMMODORE RAMON A. ALCARAZ
Oct. 1,1942. Yesterday morning, upon learning the ship that will take us, the newly commissioned BC officers to their assignments in Visayas and Mindanao will leave Manila in four days, I decided to enter San Lazaro Hospital. My cousin, Dr A D Lipana UST '27 has a classmate who is an official at the hospital and was able to make arrangements that I be admitted as emergency patient ostensibly suffering from severe malaria. This way, I thought I will miss the ship and my Lanao assignment.
At 0800 this morning, an ambulance from the hospital took me from my Tennessee residence in Malate and effective today, I am a patient at San Lazaro Hospital "suffering from severe malaria duly recorded with high fever".
I sent a letter to BC Hq, copy furnished my friend Lt Fukushima, about my hospitalization. I also requested my cousin to make sure the documentation of my hospitalization and illness are complete for any future investigation.
Oct. 7,1942. Maj Suguiyama, the Japanese kempeitai supervisor of BCA, sent an investigator to San Lazaro Hospital to find out details of my hospitalization. Apparently, he learned I was unable to take my ship to Lanao that left three days ago (Oct 4). The hospital furnished all the documents about my case from the time I was admitted Oct. 1 to the present. In my own testimony, I said I had a severe recurrence of malaria with high fever early morning of Oct 1 when the ambulance of San Lazaro Hospital came to my rescue. At present, my malaria attacks are subsiding and perhaps in a week, the hospital can release me. The investigator who seemed sympathetic to me confided that Maj Suguiyama is furious and if it can be proven I was malingering, he will send me to Fort Santiago as an example. I can only have my fingers crossed and hoped for the best.
Oct. 11, 1942. Being a Sunday today, I got a special half day evening pass starting 1500H from the San Lazaro Hospital to visit my sick wife with the provision that I will return immediately should there be a surprise check by BC Hq. Providentially, after alighting from my bus at Taft Ave corner Tennessee St, walking eastward towards where my wife resides, I was surprised to see Maj Manuel P Enriquez (Manolo) our Tactical O at PMA, walking in opposite direction near Colorado St corner. Manolo seems surprised too to see me and since my wife's residence is only a block away, I invited him to come with me for a private talk.
I knew Maj Enriquez is not supposed to be in Manila as he is the ExO of LCol G Nakar of the 14th Inf Guerillas in Cagayan Valley. After arriving home and finding my wife's fever had subsided, Manolo and I secluded ourselves in a private room. Maj Enriquez told me he is on a secret mission for the 14th Inf. I told him I was paroled to the BC and my predicament is that I refused to go to my assignment in Lanao. He claimed to have a man at BC Hq named Maj Pedro Jaminola. Manolo then asked me, "If I can have you assigned in N. Vizcaya where my units are, are you willing to work with us?" Without hesitation I answered in the affirmative. He said he will contact Maj Jaminola accordingly and that he will be in touch with me later after he got my wife's address and phone number. With that understanding, Manolo left. I am very hopeful that Maj Enriquez can do something to help me out of my predicament. Meantime, I stayed with my wife who felt much better by midnight when I returned to the hospital as if nothing happened.
Oct. 16,1942. Yesterday my wife received a coded note at our Tennessee St residence from Maj Enriquez which, in effect, stated that he was able to contact his man at BC Hq and for me to prepare for the "good news." He also stated that when I get the note he will be back to his unit but that I will hear from him later. And so today, I requested San Lazaro Hospital to release me from the sick list as I "have recovered completely from my malaria".
At 1000H today, I left the hospital, went home and reported to BC Hq at 1500H. The Adm O directed me to the Misc Casual Gp with instructions to report every morning. This Gp is composed of BC officers waiting to proceed to their new stations. I wonder if I still have to proceed to my original Lanao assignment otherwise I may be back at the hospital if there ever is a ship for me.
Oct 23,1942. Since my release from the hospital more than a week ago, I have been reporting daily to Misc Gp, BC Hq commuting between our Tennessee home and BC Hq. Am still apprehensive about the result of the investigation ordered by Maj Suguiyama about my failure to report to my designated station, Lanao. Today, I got the good news apparently clearing me. The hospital records and my written testimony proved the validity of my hospitalization. I also understand Lt Fukushima believed my malaria story.
Today, BC Hq issued orders rescinding my Lanao assignment. In another paragraph of the order, I am assigned to BC, Bayombong, N. Vizcaya with orders to proceed thereat on first available transportation. It is apparent that Maj Enriquez has a man at BC Hq with this development.
Oct. 27,1942. My San Lazaro Hospital maligering helped me escape that Mindanao assignment and in the process, my providential contact with my former PMA mentor Maj Mauel P Enriquez, ExO 14t Inf Guerillas of LCol G Nakar, made possible my new assignment in Bayombong, N Vizcaya. I look forward to going to my new post, specially what Maj Enriquez has in store for me. I plan to go to Bayombong alone leaving my family in Manila to adjust to my new environs but my problem is transportation. It is a problem nationwide. There are no public transportation anywhere since the Japanese occupation.
Last night, a man visited me at home with a note of introduction from Maj Enriquez saying that bearer, Pablo Naval, is his man from N Vizcaya that may be of help. With regards to transportation, Mr Naval confirmed no public transportation but only private business traders using trucks are available going to Cagayan Valley. And so today, Mr Naval accompanied me to Azcarraga St and helped me book with Mr Go Beng, a chinese merchant leaving Manila Nov 3 arriving Bayombong Nov 4. Mr Naval also suggested that I check in Bayombong Hotel on my arrival there as he will make reservations for me when he returns by the end of the month. Now that my transportation problem is solved, I started preparing for my journey to Cagayan Valley where the 14th Infantry is operating. Before Mr Naval departed I asked him if it is possible I could meet Maj Enriquez Nov 4 or 5, or before I report to the Senior Inspector, BC in Bayombong who does not know my arrival date.