Organization of the Rainbow Regiment, Malakas Division AUSA - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Organization of the Rainbow Regiment, Malakas Division AUSA - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Organization of the Rainbow Regiment, Malakas Division AUSA

The Rainbow Regiment was a guerrilla organization founded by patriotic citizens from western Batangas. To learn more about the group, please refer to this article on Batangas History, Culture and Folklore. This document1 is the first of a three-part series on the organization and activities of the guerrilla group.

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Guerrilla Files


As early as May 1942, escaped USAFFEs and civilians began organizing resistance groups. The lack of arms and close vigilance of the enemy prevented the early consolidation of the different units. However, intense and effective propaganda was vigorously conducted to keep the faith of the people and to bolster their morale. Intelligence work, sabotage, securing of arms and training were secretly done and the various groups were finally consolidated on a solid basis.

The early organizers in western Batangas, comprising the municipalities of Balayan, Tuy, Nasugbu, Lian and Calatagan were the following:

Major Rodolfo G. Bahia of Balayan, Batangas, 1st Lieutenant in the USAFFE
Major Amador Deguito of Balayan, Batangas, a very active and dynamic leader
Major Vicente Calingasan of Tuy, Batangas, a well-known leader and former mayor of Tuy
Major Jose T. Unson of Balayan, Batangas, a prominent citizen and influential leader
Colonel Mariano H. Cabarrubia of Balayan, Batangas, with residence at Nasugbu, Batangas, Capt. USAFFE, a distinguished Army Officer.

Colonel Mariano H. Cabarrubia was a former officer of the Philippine Constabulary of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. He is [a] well-known officer with a distinguished record. He had been assigned in western Batangas and people in all walks of life liked him. He was neutrally looked upon as the logical leader in the region. He became the adviser of the FAIT units in western Batangas and eventually the CO. He was planted in the Constabulary by Colonel Jorge Espina, Co, FAIT, Batangas province in order to secure arms and ammunition vitally needed and to gather intelligence reports about the Japanese activities. He was also S-2 of the Fil-American Irregular Troops of Hugh Straughn (0-2515) for Batangas.

The RAINBOW REGIMENT, Malakas Division, AUSA, had undergone five phases of organization. The first phase was from May 1942 to 30 April 1943. The organization was authorized and affiliated to Col. Hugh Straughn ((0-2515) of the Fil-American Irregular Troops. The second phase was from 1 May 1943 to 23 June 1944 when the organization was formally transferred under the FAIT for the province of Batangas. The third phase was from 23 June 1944 to 23 September 1944 when the organization was named Cabarrubia Guerrilla Unit. The fourth phase was from 24 September 1944 to 31 January 1945 when the organization was renamed the “MALAKAS REGIMENT,” Malakas Division, AUSA. The last phase was from 1 February 1945 to 13 June 1945 when the organization was attached to the United States Army through Major Jay D. Vanderpool.

Major Rodolfo G. Bahia and Major Amador Deguito organized two battalions at Balayan, Batangas. In the early part of August 1942, Major Amador Deguito went to the Sierra Madre Mountains to contact Colonel Hugh Straughn (0-2515), founder and CO of the Fil-American Irregular Troops. He was able to contact the Colonel at his mountain hideout. He was authorized

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to organize units in western Batangas and affiliate them to the FAIT. On 15 August 1942, the Battalions of Majors Bahia and Deguito became the Bahia-Deguito battalions under the Fil-American Irregular Troops of Hugh Straughn (0-2515).

In the municipality of Tuy, Vicente Calingasan organized a battalion and he became the CO with the rank of Major. The unit was affiliated to the FAIT. In Nasugbu, Mariano H. Cabarrubia, who had barely returned from the prison camp of Capaz, organized a battalion and placed Petronilo Sapico, Chief of Police, as the CO with the rank of Major. Members of the different battalions in Balayan, Tuy and Nasugbu came from the five municipalities comprising the western Batangas region.

On 28 April 1943, Colonel Cabarrubia was ordered by the CO of the FAIT for Batangas to consolidate the units of the Fil-American Troops of Hugh Straughn in western Batangas. On 1 May 1943, the different battalions were consolidated and became the 6th Regiment of the Fil-American Irregular Troops of Hugh Straughn (0-2515) for Batangas under the overall command of Jorge Espina. The Bahia-Deguito Battalions became the 1st Bn, the Tuy Battalion of Vicente Calingasan became the 2nd Bn with Calingasan as CO with the rank of Major and the battalion of Nasugbu became the third battalion with Major Sapico as the CO. Thus, the FAIT in the western region was formally transferred to the FAIT for the province of Batangas. Due to his meritorious services, Mariano H. Cabarrubia was appointed on 1 June 1943 as the CO of all the units of Batangas FAIT in western Batangas with the rank of Colonel. On 15 December 1943, due to the rapid expansion of the unit in Balayan, a regiment was created for Balayan alone. Colonel Cabarrubia organized the three battalions into a regiment and placed under the command of Major Mariano L. Martinez who was later promoted to the grade of Colonel. The commanding officers of the different battalions were: Major Rodolfo G. Bahia (alias Roman Gomez) for the 1st Bn, Major Amador Deguito (alias Ador Dionisio) for the 2nd Bn and Major Jose T. Unson (alias Isagani Maglaya) for the 3rd Bn. Colonel Cabarrubia and Major Martinez served under the aliases of Jose Javier and Lorenzo San Juan, respectively.

CPs were established for the regiment and the different battalions. For Nasugbu, the CP was at Tala, while for Tuy, it was at Bayudbod. The regimental CP for the new regiment at Balayan was at the house of Capt. Francisco Hernandez. For the 1st Bn, it was at Navotas and the 2nd Bn was at Ermita. The CP for the 3rd Bn was located at the barrio of Caloocan. Col Cabarrubia established different CPs located at Munting Indang, Tumalim, Munting Latag and Kay Igtiw at Nasugbu and at Pitak in Tuy. The combat companies were to be found in these CPs and the combat patrols always reported to the nearest one in their zones of operations.

In the latter part of December 1943, through Captain Francisco Hernandez, Major Bahia was contacted by operatives of Major L. H. Phillips who came from GHQ, SWPA and arrived at Paluan, Mindoro on 13 November 1943. A few days later, Colonel Cabarrubia was contacted at his HQ by Captain Emilio Macabuag, representing Major Phillips and Lt. Marcelino Mosquera of Peralta’s 6th Military District. The two operatives gave several “Australian” grenades to the Colonel and cigarettes and chocolates with “I shall return” MacArthur. The enthusiasm of the guerrillas was stirred and the morale of the organization rose higher. In exchange, important intelligence reports were given and cooperation and help assured. When

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a radio transmitting and receiving station was established by Major Phillips at Cape Santiago, Calatagan, Batangas under the care of the “Major Phillips Unit” of Captain Macabuag, the combat unit of the organization aided in maintaining its security. Valuable military information was furnished. Many Japanese ships were sunk by United States submarines during the operation of this station.

On or about the middle of March 1944, the Japanese conducted a general raid in Mindoro and Batangas. An American, Harold Guentner, one of the Americans we had sent to Mindoro through Capt. Macabuag, was caught and brought back to Batangas. Majors Bahia, Deguito, Calingasan and Capt. Demetrio Hernandez of our unit in western Batangas were arrested by the Japanese. Major Bahia and Deguito and Captain Demetrio Hernandez were executed while Major Calingasan was released a few months later. Col. Cabarrubia was also arrested but was released because no one would identify him as a guerrilla. Col. Espina and Major Tuguigui were also arrested and both were later killed. All the officers of this unit were apprehended an, on 4 April 1944, were arrested and imprisoned in the Japanese garrison at Nasugbu. Col. Cabarrubia hastily prepared the combat unit to rescue the imprisoned officers, but the attack was not consummated because the officers were later released. Although freed from prison, the Japanese maintained [a] close watch on the movements of the guerrilla officers. In spite of the close watch of the Japanese, the different battalions were reorganized and active again in spite of the loss of the leaders. The battalions at Balayan that lost two of the leaders reorganized and selected Major Jose T. Unson as the leader. On the other hand, Col. Cabarrubia reorganized also the battalions at Nasugbu and Tuy. Thus, the organization was again active.

On 2 June 1944, the FAIT of western Batangas became the “CABARRUBIA GUERRILLA UNIT” under the command of Col. Mariano H. Cabarrubia. The Cabarrubia Guerrilla Unit was composed of five battalions. The different battalions were: 1st Bn, Nasugbu, under Major Petronilo Sapico; 2nd Bn, Tuy, under Major Vicente Calingasan; 3rd Bn, Lian, Tuy and Calatagan, under Major Antonio Mendoza; 4th Bn, Balayan, under Major Jose T. Unson; and 5th Bn, Balayan, under Major Aretemio Malayabas. The CP of each battalion was located as follows: 1st Bn at Tala, Nasugbu; 2nd Bn at Bayudbod, Tuy; 3rd Bn at Bolbok, Tuy; 4th Bn at Ermita, Balayan and Caloocan, Balayan; and 5th Bn at Canluran and Canda, Balayan.

On 24 September 1944, the Cabarrubia Guerrilla Unit was renamed the “RAINBOW REGIMENT,” Malakas Division, AUSA. The good work begun in 1942 continued to be performed with added energy and determination. The unit had made contact with another party from Mindoro that succeeded Major Phillips. The party was under the command of Lt. Commander George F. Howe (alias Nicholson). Members of the unit helped in maintaining [the] security of another radio station established at Mt. Luya, Calatagan, overlooking Balayan Bay. Major Calingasan accompanied Sgt. Gerald Berg of Commander Rowe’s party in photographing Corregidor from Patungan. At this time, the Rainbow Combat unit composed of three hundred well-armed men was very active in patrolling the western region, giving protection to the helpless inhabitants from Japanese atrocities and from [the] activities of outlaws.

On 31 January 1945, the 11th Airborne Division landed at Nasugbu, Batangas. At that time, the combat unit had been engaged in fighting the Japanese following the “combat order” for all guerrillas issued by Major Jay D. Vanderpool. Colonel Ca-

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barrubia reported to Major Vanderpool. Colonel Cabarrubia reported to Major Vanderpool at hour 1000 and presented his unit, including the combat companies of three hundred fully armed men. Through Major Jay D. Vanderpool, the Rainbow Regiment was attached to the United States Army until 13 June 1945 when the combat unit was processed at Camp Murphy, Quezon City.

Notes and references:
1 Box 258, Entry 1094, Philippine Archive Collection, Record Groupo 407, United States National Archives, downloaded from Philippine Veteran Association Office.
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