Conflicting directives on firearms surrender
The diary of the deputy governor narrated that on August 12, Major Yanase left for Baguio City while Governor Clapp was ordered to report to Manila for further instructions from the Japanese Civil Affairs office.
Before departing, Gov. Clapp instructed my father to proceed back to Ifugao, and re-emphasize among local officials his policies in extending aid and protection to hiding Americans and Pilipino soldiers, and surrender of firearms being held by civilians.
Dr. Clapp added that “it also the order of Col. Horan and Captain Guitters to their soldiers in hiding to lay down their arms in obedience to the order of General Weinright. I assured him of the safety of any white or soldiers in hiding in my jurisdiction but doubted the surrender of every firearm as he desired.”
“He left and I prepared to start for Ifugao with my policeman, hiking 84 kms. Because the (Japanese) army does not want me to ride with them, with the pretext that there was no space. I hike the distance all right, passing through short cuts via Hapao. On the way I had been thinking over and over whether to back to the office or disappear (making it appear) as if something happened to us from Bontoc to Ifugao.
“My reason for passing via Hungduan was to meet Lt. Cloggy and for me to reach the evacuation of my family without being seen by anyone ... I hiked two days under rain and shine, and upon arriving at Hapao, Sgt. Alfredo Bunol still in his uniform met me and I advised him to continue hiding, and to advise all his men to do the same, telling him that in due time I may join them.
“I told him to contact Lt. Cloggy. And he handed me a letter from Captain Manalo who advised to tell the people to hide their firearms.”
Deputy Governor’s family held hostage
“Upon my arrival at the barrio where my family evacuated, I found out my family was taken to Kiangan by the garrison officer who sent policemen and soldiers to order their immediate move to the central (poblacion).
“I suspected something wrong especially when I was at Bontoc undergoing strenuous investigations. I rushed to the central despite darkness; and as soon as I arrived, my family was at home. My wife told me that the next day I started for Bontoc, a patrol went to Nagacadan (evacuation area) and ordered them to come to Kiangan.”
Atrocious Kiangan garrison officer relieved
Towards the end of August, 1942, Mayaoyao Mayor Balajo and some of his councilors presented themselves to the garrison officer, Lt. Kawano, who berated them for not reporting early. My father was also angrily reproached “for having reported him to Major Yanase”.
“On August 31, Lt. Takakoru arrived to relive Lt. Kawano who will stay in Banaue. I went to see the new garrison officer and I recognized him to be the one in the office of Major Yanase. He was friendly and he called for a meeting and lunch with the local officials and prominent citizens of the town.
“During lunch, he implored sincere cooperation of the people and then finally went on to his stories of his experiences at Bataan, how they captured it. He boasted and bragged how brave they were and despised the Americans as cowards.
“He even jokingly told us that with his ‘god’, the bullets were friendly to him for they only passed between his legs, arm pits, overhead and all around him without touching his clothes or skin, ‘showing how poor marksmanship your soldiers are.’”
Lawig & Mabatobato villages burned
Meanwhile that same day, “... he ordered two policemen to go to Lawig and Mabatobato to deliver a letter to Captain Manriquez (guillera officer) who was suspected to be those vicinities. Mr. Paredes, father-in-law of Capt. Manriques was investigated about him and his soldiers. Mr. Paredes denied any knowledge of them and was released (from the garrison). “On Sept. 6 the next day, he and I were called again wherein he was told to proceed to Lawig and Mabatobato to get his family to Kiangan. The garrison officer suspected that the soldiers with Captain Manriquez are staying with his family in the area.
“Mr. Paredes left very early on September 8, and late in the afternoon of that day, I was surprised to see the soldiers with their officer and Mayor Dulinayan starting for Lawig and Mabatobato. On September 11, they returned after burning Mabatobato and Lawig, bringing along the entire family of Mr. Paredes without Mrs. Manriquez.
Mayaoyao officials/citizens alerted
“On the midnight of Sept. 13, I was called to the garrison by Lt. Takakora and he wanted me to prepare to go with them to Mayaoyao the next day. I told him that I cannot go with his patrol for the reason that I am busy making my reports to the governor and Major Yanase. He did not insist.
“Early the following morning, I telephoned the Mayor of Banaue, Mr. Apilis to secretly send a runner to Mayaoyao Mayor Balajo that the patrol of Japanese is underway to his district. I was rather very uneasy about their going there because Mayor Balajo told me secretly and confidentially that the members of the constabulary under Lt. Tomaliwan are still in Mayaoyao. Of course, I instructed him to inform Lt. Tomaliwan to move his HQ further away from town so as to avoid being caught by surprise since the Japanese used to patrol at night.
“I believed that Mayor Balajo respectfully requested the constabulary Lt. to move away from the town for their own safety. But to insure about it, and to inform the people and local officials to be prepared for the coming of the patrol, a runner is necessary.”
Japanese Patrol annihilated in Mayaoyao
“On Sept. 18, I got information that the Japanese patrol to Mayaoyao was ambushed.
“This was confidential information. I kept it secretly but it became known to the town folks. I gave warning to them to shut their mouths if they wanted to be out of trouble. I began to believe the rumor and information when I was frequently called to the garrison and always questioned of the presence of any ‘bandits’ in Mayaoyao.
“Of course I denied everything, reasoning out that the mayor and councilors of that district came here just a couple of weeks ago and they reported no ‘bandits’ in that area. Within myself, I said, sure, there are no ‘bandits’ there and in the Mountain Province but there are elements of our army still moving about against you.
“On the 23rd of Sept. I received a secret message that about 30 Japanese soldiers including some civilians were killed by the constabulary under Sergeant Nabara. It further informed that Mayor Balajo is missing.
“The details revealed that the Japanese patrol guided by Mr. Domingo Guzman and his son of Banaue went to Mayaoyao where the mayor, other local officials and a crowd of residents received them well.
“But when the patrol was to return to Banaue, they burned the barracks of the constabulary who earlier move out and were hiding about a kilometer from the town. They posted themselves by the trail to wait for the Japanese returning to Banaue. The position of the constabulary soldiers was very strategic on a higher ridge and the enemy was practically in a pocket below and exposed to them.
“All the Japanese soldiers were certainly killed but they also killed 11 civilians who were too quick to approach the enemy positioned along the trail on the slopes of camote plantations. It appeared that some of the Japanese soldiers were only wounded and still alive to shoot the approaching native spear and bolo men. Two Japanese soldiers were probably able to roll themselves down into the thick bushes below the camote plantations and remained there till darkness enveloped and hid them. These two were nevertheless killed by the natives at Ducligan in Banaue the next day.
“It was found out that Lt. Takakora succeeded in his escape because he was able to hide at the edge of a mountain landslide near the camote plantation. He proceeded to Banaue following the ridge on the other side of the ambush site and came out at Ducligan, only to be killed by the native residents.
“Lt. Takakora pretended to shoot with his revolver but the natives sensing that he run out of bullets approached at a spear distance and thrust him to death with several spears. One constable from the village came and finished him off with a single shot.
“So there you are, his ‘god’ was helpless from the bullet and spears of his own enemy that killed him, and ended his boasting and braggadocio,” my father wrote.
To be continued...
Note: The narrator is the youngest son of the late Luis I. Pawid of Kiangan, Ifugao and Angeline Laoyan of La Trinidad, Benguet. He is a journalist by profession, former town Mayor of La Trinidad, Benguet, and former Executive Director of the defunct Cordillera Executive Board, Cordillera Administrative Region. He now resides in New Jersey, USA.