January 6, 2018

A Brief History of the Tuy Unit FAIT

The Fil-American Irregular Troops, otherwise known simply as FAIT, was founded by the retired US Army Colonel Hugh Straughn and was made up of US Army soldiers and Filipinos who refused to surrender to the Japanese in 1942. Although primarily operating in Rizal Province, the guerrilla outfit also operated in Batangas, including the town of Tuy. In this 1947 document1, a brief history of the Tuy Unit of the FAIT is provided by one Apolinario R. Apacible, Executive Officer of the unit, likely as an attachment to the unit’s request for recognition by the United States Army. This transcription has been edited here and there by Batangas History for spelling, grammar and punctuation.

[p. 1]

FIL-AMERICAN IRREGULAR TROOPS
(UNDER COL. HUGH S. STRAUGHN)
TUY UNIT

----------

A BRIEF HISTORY

When the Japanese troops entered Manila on January 2, 1942, the city was dressed in sorrow; it was draped in black. The sun was completely hidden in the heavens as billowing smoke from scuttled ships and oil and gasoline dumps which were set afire rose to obliterate and snuff the light of liberty under which the Filipino people used to live. Added to the mantle of mourning were smoke arising from enemy-bombed targets in Manila and Cavite which had been burning unabatedly for days.

Manila was lost, but fierce fighting was going on in Bataan and a fiercer fighting still was going on under the throbbing breast of the unconquerable people. After the fall of Bataan, the love for freedom manifested itself. Posterity should be thankful that the world produced freedom-loving men, one of whom was Major Domingo A. Tuguigui, to single out one among them, who sacrificed his precious blood that other men might live – live not a life of appeasement with the enemy that he might live unmolested, but a life of dignity and honor, unanswerable to his God, to his fellowmen and more so to his conscience!

The Tuy Unit of the Fil-American Irregular Troops has the signal honor of having Major Domingo A. Tuguigui as its organizer and founder.

Immediately after the fall of Bataan, Domingo A. Tuguigui busied himself in espionage activities in and around Manila under the employ of Col. Salvador B. Billo, his uncle, who was then with personal contact with and at that time financier of Col. Hugh S. Straughn. After the capture of Col. Billo by the Japanese Kempei Tai sometime in August, 1942, Major Domingo A. Tuguigui learned that he was also being shadowed by the enemy. He immediately went to the hometown of his wife, Mrs. Marieta B. Tuguigui and on September 3, 1942, organized, with the assistance of Major Vicente Calingasan, the Tuy Unit of the Fil-American Irregular Troops under Col. Hugh Straughn. Appointments and oaths of officers and men were issued and taken in September 1942. Original appointments with oath papers were sent to the headquarters of Col. Jorge Espina in Batangas who commissioned him to issue appointments and take oaths.

Major Domingo A. Tuguigui was a man of action and, under him and Major Vicente Calingasan, his unit was also active. [The] Most important accomplishment in the early days of the Unit was the maintenance of 2 escaped American soldiers from Corregidor, Patrick Mellody and Harold Guentner, under the care of Capt. Tomas Panaligan, Major Calingasan and Major Domingo Tuguigui. The two were hidden and care for in barrio Toong, located at the foot of Batulao mountains. Sometime in February 24, 1944, they were taken to Mindoro to join Major Phillips. They were escorted personally by Major Domingo A. Tuguigui and Capt. Tomas Panaligan, but upon setting foot on Mindoro shore, the Japs were there to welcome them. Unfortunately, Harold Guentner was captured. Patrick Mellody, Capt. Panaligan and Major Tuguigui were able to escape. Patrick Mellody reached the headquarters of Major Phillips, while Major Domingo A. Tuguigui and Capt. Tomas Panaligan were able to return to Batangas.



[p. 2]

Immediately after the organization of the unit on September 3, 1942, the Unit at once organized a propaganda section which operated 2 radio receiving sets, one owned by Capt. Tomas Panaligan and the other by Capt. Galicano Afable, both members of the propaganda section of the Unit. Incidentally, Capt. Leonardo Almanzor, also a member of the propaganda section, is an experienced stenographer and could take radio news broadcasts from San Francisco daily in shorthand and transcribe them on the typewriter. The typewriters in the office of Capt. Clemente Sale, the incumbent municipal treasurer and the municipal mayor’s office were always used when doing the transcribing job. Several copies were made. Translations into the local dialect were also made and typewritten copies sent to the non-English reading folks. English transcribed notes were sent to other guerrilla units of the neighboring municipalities like Nasugbu, Balayan, Lian, Calatagan, Calaca, Lemery, Taal, Batangas and even as far as Manila. As Jap spies were lurking here and there, even the convents of Tuy, with the benevolent consent of 1st Lt. Eufrosino Leuterio, attached chaplain of the Unit, and even the gutters of the municipal building of Tuy, places which used to be least suspected to nest anti-Jap activities, were the very places where the receiving sets were kept and news broadcasts taken. To those who heard the “Voice of Freedom,” the broadcasts were like a shot in the vein to give them renewed life and joy. For America was speaking, America was promising, America was fighting, MacArthur was returning! The way may be lined with crosses from New Guinea to the Philippines, but democracy and freedom must return here and with American arms, the Filipinos were willing to fight side by side with the Americans until the enemy has recoiled to his homeland and learned his lessons there. Such a desire was not wanting in the officers and men of this Unit. They were biding their time and limited themselves to keeping up the morale of the people high by means of effective propaganda activities, protecting the civilian population against lawless elements, liquidating Japanese-hired spies like the notorious Norberto Nonales of Nasugbu, Batangas and his men. Nonales was killed together with his men right in the middle of the town of Tuy under the direction of Major Vicente Calingasan in September 1943. Nonales was responsible for the unearthing of arms and ammunition, also gasoline in Nasugbu which the retreating USAFFE men left in the wake of their systematic retreat. Besides this, he was a constant menace to the peace of the people as he committed abuses here and there.

On January 12, 1943, Major Domingo A. Tuguigui went to Manila and the day following, he went to the Samanillo building to see an important guerrilla figure in connection with his guerrilla activities. He did not know that he was being followed by the Japanese Kempei Tai. He was arrested in Fort Santiago. There, he suffered untold punishments – punishments inflicted beyond a human being’s capacity to endure, calculated to fleece from him some information regarding his guerrilla activities. But Domingo A. Tuguigui held on for had he squealed, his officers and men would have tasted the fangs of Fort Santiago like him, perhaps some of them may not have lived to continue the fight for which he died. Thrice, he was brought to his cell unconscious as a result of the brutal punishments the enemy inflicted on him in his vain effort to gather information regarding his guerrilla organization. But he preferred to die or preferred to die slowly or lived in the torture chambers of Fort Santiago where men lived in the future and died in the present – where men lived in the light but groped in the darkness – where men pondered the imponderable – where men did not hope for there was no hope – men’s only repose was the Almighty and the All-merciful GOD!

[p. 3]

Daily, from slits in his cell, Major Domingo A. Tuguigui could see victims’ heads chopped off and carried away in kerosene cans. Even innocent children were no exceptions. Could there be barbarism lower than this or mockery on civilization more debasing than this? Was there a challenge of civilization bolder than this?

Sometimes, the devil lifts his finger from the victim. On February 14, 1945, Domingo A. Tuguigui was released from Fort Santiago and he was received royally by his officers and men in Tuy. Major Domingo A. Tuguigui was more determined than ever to continue the fight for freedom. With Major Vicente Calingasan and Major Apolinario Apacible, they set on their mission of sabotage.

The Dai Nippon Beseki Kaisha was a Japanese commercial entity which was run and financed by the Japanese Army. It was engaged in raising and cultivation of cotton to feed the hungry mills of Tokyo. The municipality of Tuy, Batangas was one of the towns in western Batangas included in the Army’s program to raise cotton materials for the mills. The intelligence officers of the Tuy Unit of the Fil-American Irregular Troops instructed the men of the Unit, who were mostly farmers forced to raise cotton, to throw away the fertilizers supplied them and at night uproot the cotton plants halfway when they were blooming, being careful that they were not to be noticed by the Japanese inspectors upon their inspection. The sabotage was successful. The Japanese cotton cultivation in western Batangas, especially in the municipality of Tuy, was a complete failure. For two years, they tried cotton mass cultivation; for two years, they failed miserably. The period mentioned was from September, 1942 to September, 1944.

As mentioned somewhere in this history, Harold Guentner was captured in the shores of Abra de Ilog, Mindoro, sometime on February 24, 1943. He was brought to the Japanese garrison at Central Don Pedro, Nasugbu, Batangas. On March 2, 1943, Major Vicente Calingasan was apprehended by the Japanese soldiers from the Central Don Pedro Garrison at his home in Tuy. Capt. Tomas Panaligan and Major Domingo A. Tuguigui were also wanted. Fortunately, they were still away at the time. When they reached Balayan, they were tipped by the intelligence operatives of the Unit that they were being hunted by the Japanese. They hid. Major Vicente Calingasan was garrisoned at the Central Don Pedro for 37 days and suffered the dreaded water cure; hanging by the back hand tied for 12 hours, this punishment being repeated for days and days; the inverted hanging; beatings by baseball bat all over the body and several more processes of punishment only the devil and the Japanese could devise. Capt. Venancio Baon also underwent the same punishment for his activities in the Unit. The charges against him were that he was keeping arms and financing the guerrilla organization of the FAIT in Tuy, and the charges against Major Vicente Calingasan were that he was responsible for the death of the Japanese hired spy Norberto Nonales, together this his men, that the supported and maintained 2 Americas in Toong and placed them under the care of Capt. Tomas Panaligan (referring to Cpl. Harold Guentner of 242-H 6th Street, St. Helens, Oregon) and Pfc. Patrick Mellody of Spaulding, Buffao, New York. The family of Cpl. Harold Guentner is now in constant correspondence with Capt. Tomas Panaligan; that he kept radio receiving sets or allowed others to keep them in the municipality of Tuy; that he was a member and co-organizer of the Tuy Unit of the FAIT; that he kept in his custody several unreported arms and ammunition; and supporting the guerrilla organization in Tuy. Major Calingasan and Capt. Venancio Baon preferred to



[p. 4]

suffer the punishment inflicted on them rather than give any information regarding their guerrilla activities and the Tuy Unit of the FAIT. Of course, they were tenacious and brave, and to them, the Unit owes a lasting debt of gratitude.

Capt. Antonio Apacible, 2nd Lt. Apolonio Apacible, 1st Lt. Pedro Macalalad and 2nd Lt. Cosme Bayaborda were also arrested by the Japanese soldiers and brought to the Central Nasugbu Garrison on April 1, 1944, but evidence against them being insufficient, they were only held for a few questioning regarding their guerrilla activities, all of which questions they satisfactorily answered, after which they were sent home but warned that any time they might be arrested and shot. Major Apolinario Apacible was wanted at that time, also Major Domingo A. Tuguigui and Capt. Tomas Panaligan. Capt. Venancio Baon was set free on April 6, 1944. He was arrested three times in immediate succession. Harold Guentner was executed by the Japs in the Central Garrison sometime in the beginning of April, 1943. Major Vicente Calingasan was brought to Los Baños and finally set free on April 9, 1944.

Major Domingo A. Tuguigui was all the time busy organizing the guerrilla units of the FAIT in neighboring municipalities. He was the man who suggested and convinced Major Rodolfo Bahia and Major Amador Deguito to organize the Balayan Unit of the Fil-American Troops. He also helped Capt. Casilao, an ex-USAFFE man, organize the Nasugbu Unit of the FAIT; Col. Baquilar, organizer of the Calaca Unit of the FAIT. When all these Units were organized and ready to receive arms, Major Domingo A. Tuguigui went to Mindoro of February 20, 1944 to contact Major Phillips, who was then in contact with General MacArthur’s headquarters in Australia. At dawn, March 5, 1944, he returned in a small sailboat, but the boat was fired upon and sunk by the Japs in Balayan Bay. He was able to escape and continued in hiding until April 18, 1944, when he was arrested by Capt. Godofredo Manalo of the puppet Philippine Constabulary and turned over to the Japanese captain at the Garrison in Nasugbu. He was unheard from since then until a certain Froilan Noble of Lemery, Batangas told his wife, Mrs. Marieta B. Tuguigui about his death, which took place on a motor launch in the middle of the sea between Mindoro and Batangas on May 8, 1944. Soon after, Major Vicente Calingasan took command until its induction into the Blue Eagle Command on October 15, 1944.

But due to the haste and, therefore, lack of time with which the fusion into the Blue Eagle Command was made and the lack of [an] adequate means of communication, the officers and men of the Tuy Unit of the Fil-American Irregular Troops who now appear in the attached roster were not include in the merger. These men were not wanting in patriotism; they were not wanting in the spirit of struggle in the darkest hours of the occupation and liberation; they were genuine guerrillas; they were simply missed in the merger or induction into the Blue Eagle Command.

Independently, the unattached officers and their respective men were active in the campaign against the enemy during the fight for liberation. 1st Lt. Dominador Santos and his men on Feb. 2, 1945, with 3 rifles and a handful of hand grenades, were able to kill 11 Japanese in Tulo, Bayudbud, Tuy and capture 1 Japanese soldier. The prisoner was presented as a souvenir to the Headquarters of the 11th Airborne Division in Nasugbu, Batangas. Capt. Venancio Baon utilized his transportation facilities in transporting the helpless civilians to safety, which was Nasugbu.

2nd Lt. Arcadio Avena and his men engaged the enemy in Dao, Tuy on February 4, 1945 in a pitched battle for several hours. Lt. Avena received a severe wound on the hip, but he and his men were able to kill 7 Japanese.

[p. 5]

2nd Lt. Cornelio Carandang and his men engaged the Japanese in Magahis, Tuy on February 5, 1945 for several hours, killing 18 Japanese who were caught taking dinner after liquidating the guard. Lt. Carandang suffered no losses.

2nd Lt. Agapito Rodriguez, with 16 of his men, on February 8, 1945 encountered the enemy, about 40 strong, and engaged them in battle for 6 hours lasting from 1 to 7:00 in the afternoon, killing 18 Japanese. Lt. Rodriguez suffered no casualties. The remnants fled under cover of darkness.

Capt. Jose Carandang gathered arms and ammunition for the men during the fight for liberation. Although he was not able to procure enough rifles, he was able to secure several hand grenades for the men. The rifles did not come from the 11th Airborne Division, but borrowed from friends and sympathizers. The hand grenades came from sympathetic American troops and from the 11th Airborne Headquarters in Nasugbu, which was then distributing them freely to guerrillas.

As the officers and men of the Unit who were not included in the fusion with the Blue Eagle Command at the time thought that they got a raw deal, which they later on learned that it was not so, the main reason being that there was not sufficient time to contact them, they reported to no one regarding their campaign against the enemy during the fight for liberation and satisfied themselves with the thought that they were fighting for freedom and posterity and that their founder and organizer, Major Domingo A. Tuguigui, should not have died in vain.

----------

I hereby certify that the above statements are true and correct.

[Sgd.] APOLINARIO R. APACIBLE
Regt’l Executive

↓ Scroll down to leave a comment.

Notes and references:
1 File Number 110-63, Tuy Unit FAIT, United States National Archives, downloaded from Philippine Veteran Association Office.

🙏 Kindly consider sharing this article on your social media accounts to keep this site free for students and lovers of Batangas History.

If you wish to make a donation to Batangas History, click on the Donate button below:

Leave a comment: