A Narrative History of the Maculot Battalion - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore A Narrative History of the Maculot Battalion - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

A Narrative History of the Maculot Battalion

The Fil-American Irregular Troops (FAIT) was a large guerrilla organization formed by the retired American officer Hugh Straughn. It had many units operating around Luzon, including Batangas. Among this was the Maculot Battalion which operated in the town of Cuenca, Batangas. The unit was among those that were officially recognized as elements of the Philippine Army in the service of the Armed Forces of the United States in the Western Pacific during World War II. In this document1, a historical account of the Maculot Regiment is provided as part of the requirements for its application to be officially recognized as an element of the Philippine Army in the service of the United States Forces in the Western Pacific.

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: Narrative history of the Macolot Regiment.

: To the General Headquarters,
   Philippine Army

Immediately after the outbreak of the Pacific War, the undersigned left his home in Batangas, Batangas, and evacuated to the barrio of Bayoyoñgan, Talisay, with his family. While in this locality, the idea of organizing a Guerrilla Unit came to his mind, primarily to help in the preservation of peace and order, protection of public interest and, secondly, to have a force prepared to cooperate with the American forces in their fight for the preservation of democracy and the right of the small nations to live an independent existence. Convinced of the wisdom of the plan, he proceeded to Cuenca.

It was in the month of February, 1942 when he left Bayoyoñgan for Cuenca, and upon arrival at the place, he started a whispering campaign to win supporters of his plan. Encouraged by the spontaneous response of those to whom the idea was revealed, he immediately proceeded to organize the staff of officers with instruction to proceed in the enlistment of men for their respective companies. By May, 1943, the number of officers and enlisted men constituting a Regiment of four (4) Battalions including the Headquarters Battalion was completed.

In April, 1942, just a few days after the fall of Bataan, an incident of interest worthwhile mentioning in this narrative because of its relation with the organization was the arrival at Bayoyoñgan of four American officers, namely: Capts. Farrel and Gregory and Lts. Kramer and Georgensen, who escaped from Bataan. Being one of the fifteen prominent persons in the abovementioned barrio who took care of said officers while hiding in the mountain, the undersigned with his fourteen companions became wanted by the Japanese Military Police in Lipa, Batangas, the matter having been reported by the Sakdals in Bayoyoñgan. From that time, great precaution had to be taken to avoid discovery by the Japanese of the existence of the organization. In spite of the secrecy of movements, the organization became known to the Japanese authorities thru the activities of their spies. There was no other alternative left but to hide in the mountain of Cuenca with a few of his men. While thus hiding, he traveled secretly from place to place to wit: San

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Jose, Mataasnakahoy and Bauan to win more sympathizers for the organization, and to his surprise, all those interviewed were easily won over to join the Unit. In this travel, the people were warned to be aware of the spies and bad elements who, taking advantage of the chaos and confusion then existing, posed as guerrillas to extort money, food supplies and clothing from the civilian populace. As already stated above, by May, 1943, the quota for one Regiment was filled, but enlistment proceeded and at this writing, the number of officers and enlisted men is sufficient for two Regiments as may be seen int the roster submitted to the Headquarters of the Fil-Americans in Manila.

From the beginning of the year 1943, the activities of the organization was limited to the training of men in their respective localities by able officers who had previous military training, in checking subversive activities and in preventing undesirable elements from carrying out their evil designs as given in the preceding paragraph hereof. It is deemed worthwhile mentioning here that guerrillas from other towns used to come once in a while to Cuenca to extort money, food supplies and clothing from the civilians. The question of stopping these evil practices of some guerrilla groups was a difficult task, but orders were given to all Battalion Commanders to instruct their respective officers to assign guards in their respective communities to watch for the intruders and to place them under arrest. This was quite a difficult task but the battle was won. None of the intruders succeeded. They were put under proper control for the organization was primarily committed to the ideal of service and the protection of public interest even to the extent of sacrificing their lives.

At the outset, the question of joining a bigger organization was deemed in order but difficulty of travel and communication was a great handicap. However, in July 1943, the late Lt. Col. Dionisio Medrana, an organizer of the Marking’s Guerrillas, came to Cuenca and a conference between him and the undersigned took place at Dita, Cuenca. At the conclusion of the interview, it was agreed that this outfit should join the Marking’s. The roster was then prepared for one Regiment and duplicate copies of said roster were given to him. As to whether or not the roster reached the General Headquarters of the Marking’s Guerrillas, nobody knows. All that is now on record is that two months after the conference at the barrio herein mentioned, he was captured at Pulo Islands, brought to Batangas and escaping from jail, was shot to death at barrio Tinga, Batangas. After the death of Lt. Col. Medrana, the communication with the Marking’s guerrillas was cut and the organization was again at a loss with reference to connection.

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On the invitation of the late Major D. Reyes of the Fil-Americans and at the time acting as Liaison Officer of the late Colonel Espina, a conference was held on February 28, 1944 at Alitagtag. Present in the conference from this Guerrilla outfit were the undersigned, Majors E. P. La Rosa, J. M. Cuevas and J. Limbo, Capts. P. Larcia, A. Briones and A. Dipasupil. Nothing of importance transpired in the conference as the conference [conferers?] were unable to come to terms. It was only agreed that the Espina faction operating in Alitagtag and in towns adjoining at Cuenca, San Jose and Mataasnakahoy should not interfere with all matters affecting this sector.

Simultaneously with the conference mentioned above, an emissary was sent to Mindoro with a view to seeking connection with the organization of the late Col. E. Jurado. To Lt. A. Marasigan fell the obligation of undertaking the task. The trip was not fruitful.

Having been informed of the existence of a branch of the Marking’s Guerrillas in Tiaong, Tayabas, under the command of Gen. Vicente Umali, and having in mind the general welfare of the organization, Capt. P. Larcia was chosen as liaison officer to confer with the herein mentioned general for the revival of the former connection with the Marking’s Guerrillas. Upon his return with all the papers relating to the steps to be taken before this Unit could be accepted, preparations of the rosters of officers and enlisted men were made. Upon completion of the roster, same was brought personally to Tiaong by Majors E. P. La Rosa and Lt. Manuel Torres. Again, the organization was connected with the Marking’s Guerrillas and it received orders from the headquarters of Gen. V. Umali until late in December, 1944, when the Guerrillas in Batangas under the commands of Colonels P. Pasia, G. Luansing Jr., M. Farol, F. Gagalac, and A. Laurel unanimously voted separation from the command of Gen. V. Umali, commander of the PQOG, formerly Marking’s Guerrillas. As to the cause of the separation, it is deemed highly improper to make mention of the same hereon.

This declaration of independence from Gen. Umali’s faction was prompted by the desire of the different Guerrilla Commanders in Batangas to unify their forces under one command, but lack of material time made the realization of the objective impossible. Each unit, therefore, had to act independently of each other from January 1, 1945. This state of affairs, however, did not in the least affect the noble objectives for which these different guerrilla organizations were created. When the American forces landed at Nasugbu, all guerrilla leaders presented themselves one after another offering the services of their respective Units in fighting the enemy.

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During the intervening period from September, 1944 to February 12, 1945, the Regimental Headquarters of this Guerrilla outfit was located a Kalamayin, a sitio within the jurisdiction of the barrio of Dita, Cuenca, along the shore of Lake Taal.

One day in October, 1944, the Headquarters was raided by a contingent of Japanese patrol consisting of more than 30 men guided by spies, but none was captured. Two civilians were tied by the hands but later on they were released. It was also in this Headquarters where the most trying moments in the life of this Organization were experienced by the Staff and men of the Headquarters Company. Shortage of food supply was acute and, most of the time, the guerrillas had to go on with two meals a day consisting of camotes, bananas and corn with only one-third (⅓) of rice. This situation lasted until February 12, 1945, when the Regimental Headquarters was moved to Polo Island. It is gratifying to note that all the officers and men of the unit who were there in active service underwent this most trying experience with admirable patience and forebearance.

Upon being informed of the landing of the American forces in Nasugbu on January 31, 1945, a conference among the officers of this Unit was held in the afternoon of the following day (Feb. 1), and in this conference, it was decided to evacuate all the people living along the shore of Lake Taal from sitio Lumampao, Cuenca, to Kinalaglagan, Mataasnakahoy to Polo Island. Orders were then issued to the different Sector Commanders of the Unit to commandeer all the sailboats along the seashore from Lumampao to Kinalaglagan for the transportation of the people thereof to the said island. This step was deemed imperative because the Japanese forces stationed in Cuenca, more particularly those who occupied Dita and Mataasnakahoy, had already started the massacre of civilians including women and children. The evacuation commenced on February 5, and in most cases the sailboats were manned with the guerrillas. Sailboats in great number were seen on the sea day and night loaded with men, women, children, food supplies and other personal belongings. When the news of this evacuation reached the people of Alitagtag and those living in the northern barrios of San Jose and Lipa, they also left their homes, brought whatever little provisions they could carry, went to the nearest point where they could be picked up by the boats and sent their respective requests for transportation to the Headquarters of this Unit on Polo Island. This burdensome task was shouldered by the direct management and supervision of this Organization for almost two months. It was estimated that the number of people

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evacuated to the island during this period was more than 30 thousand. In a place where people are overcrowded, preventive measures touching upon sanitation are indispensable, hence the need of detailing a number a number of guerrillas to look after the cleanliness of the premises and surroundings of the buildings in the evacuation center. The people were also required to provide toilet facilities for each family.

Peace and order should be maintained. For this work, a sufficient number of guerrillas had to be detailed to perform police duties in the locality. Petty robberies and other petty offenses committed against individuals and the government of the colony were tried in the Regimental Headquarters by the Judge Advocate of this Unit, Capt. A. Lubrin, an attorney by profession.

Since the arrival of the American forces in Nasugbu, the need to contact the Commanding Officer of all the guerrilla forces in Southern Luzon was thought in order. On March 1, 1945, the undersigned, with Capt. A Briones and ten enlisted men left Polo Island for Nasugbu via Tagaytay. At Nasugbu, it was learned that Major Vanderpool was the American officer in charge of the guerrillas, but he was in Parañaque. After three days’ stay in the herein mentioned town, the party left for Tagaytay, and upon arrival thereat, the ten enlisted men were ordered to return to Polo Island, leaving behind Capt. A. Briones and the undersigned. Parañaque was the next point to visit. Arriving in Parañaque late in the evening of March 4, arrangement for an interview with Major Vanderpool early the next morning was made. At about 8:00 a.m. of the following day, the interview took place in his office. A note was handed to the undersigned to be presented to Capt. Schommer, who was then 2nd in command of the guerrilla forces. After reading the note, a short interview took place in which he outlined the activities to be pursued by this guerrilla outfit. He put his points in writing. On the whole, the outline covered intelligence activities of vital importance to the United States Army. Arriving at Polo early in the morning of the next day (March 6, 1945), a conference among the officers of the Unit was called to inform them of the results of the trip, giving emphasis to intelligence work. Intelligence operatives were then ordered to proceed to Mataasnakahoy and Cuenca to get vital information with sketches for the Guerrilla Headquarters at Tagatytay.

Reports on the arrival of the American forces in Alitagtag on March 7, 1945 was received at the Headquarters in the afternoon of the next day. As stated in the first paragraph of this narrative, one of the objectives of this Organization is to help and cooperate with the American forces in fighting the

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enemy. The undersigned immediately called all his officers to a conference to inform them of his determination to leave for Alitagtag with sixty men of this Unit including officers the next morning, March 9, 1945. Of the sixty men in the group, only twenty (20) were armed. Arriving at Alitagtag in the afternoon of the same day upon being informed that the Commanding Officer of the 158th Infantry, Col. Shoemaker, was in Pinagcurusan, the party proceeded to this place. Met by the sentry at the entrance to the place where the Colonel was, he told the undersigned to retire as he (Colonel Shoemaker), was then very busy. Highly disappointed but not discouraged, the party returned to Alitagtag. In Alitagtag, there were but a few people. All the members of the party were tired and hungry. Someone must be approached for food and sleeping quarters. While in town (Alitagtag), it was learned that Mayor Telesforo Reyes had his residence at Calumpit, a kilometer and a half to the northeast of the poblacion. The party proceeded to the place and when he (Mayor Reyes) was informed of the needs of the party, preparations for dinner were at once made. He gave us for sleeping quarters a building previously occupied by the Japanese garrison located on the east side of a hill east of the evacuation cottage.

It was in these sleeping quarters where the party was surprised by a contingent of Jap soldiers at approximately 5:30 a.m. of the following day (March 10, 1945). Caught unaware as most of the men were still asleep, confusion reigned at the start. Most of the men jumped out of the window, but when they heard the command to return and deploy, those who were armed returned and deployed at stratetic points. After thus placing them, the order to fire was given, the undersigned taking personal command of the situation. Fighting ensued and [the] exchange of shots lasted for over two hours. Of the twenty armed on the side of the guerrillas, only nine arms could be considered satisfatory, the rest being mostly native guns called paltiks. The Japanese were armed with machine rifles, rifles and two machine guns. They numbered about fifty. Five Japanese were killed and many were wounded. Shortage of ammunition forced the party to retreat. This incident was productive of encouraging reaction on the part of American forces. Colonel Shoemaker immediately sent for the undersigned, ordered an officer of his Regiment to take him (undersigned) to Lemery on a jeep with a letter to the Supply Officer of the 158th R.C.T. to give him firearms available in stock and he was given fourteen garand rifles. The arms gave life and strength to the unit.

Considering that the occupation of the town of Alitagtag by the American forces was incomplete without displaying the U.S. and Filipino flags, this unit, with a brief ceremony, placed the two flags side by side at the balcony of the Municipal Building. Once more in four years’ period, the two flags were seen by the people floating side by side announcing to the world the dawn of a new day and that justice, liberty and democracy were here again to disappear no more.

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In the afternoon of March 11, 1945, [a] report on the presence of approximately thirty Japs in sitio Amatong, barrio of Pila, Bauan was received in the Hq. of Col. Shoemaker. Asked by the said officer if this Unit could handle the situation, forty men under the command of the undersigned rushed to the place, but the Japs were gone already. Spending the night in Pila, the party was well entertained by the people. Maj. J. Mendoza, of this unit, a native of said barrio, joined the party, thereby strengthening the force a little. After taking breakfast in the morning of the following day, March 12, 1945, a man came with the report that four Japanese were seen in a ditch between Pila and Molawin. The party proceeded to the place and a scouting party was sent ahead to locate the position of the enemy with the rest of the force deployed on the hill east of the ditch with instruction to fire when the scouting party gave the signal to fire. After the first shots from the guerrillas, the Japs replied and fighting ensued. In about an hour, the Japs stopped firing and an order to advance was given. Five men were assigned to search the ditch while the rest were on the watch in the east side ready for action in case of trouble. After covering approximately 100 yards to the south, the Japanese fired and, from the gun reports, it was made plain that the enemy was superior in number. Those in the ditch got out and an order to deploy was given with the guerrillas again occupying the former position. From this position, exchange of shots was resumed with a portion of the Japs occupying the southwest side and the rest the south end of the ditch. At about 4:00 p.m., a platoon of American soldiers came, but after about half an hour, they left leaving instruction that the guerrillas move back about 100 yards because mortar shelling would be made. In thirty minutes, shelling commenced. As the shells fell far ahead from the position occupied by the guerrillas, an order to advance to their former position was given. Once there, firing against the enemy was resumed. The Japs were forced to retreat and when they came out running across the field, it was found out they were over a hundred. While they were thus retreating with their machine rifles and machine guns barking, the guerrillas continued to advance and soon, they disappeared from sight. It was about 6:30 p.m. already when fighting stopped. A scouting party of 12 men was sent to scout the place, and 20 Japs were accounted as killed. One of the guerrillas was seriously wounded, but he survived and after a month of confinement at Muntinglupa hospital, he came back and is now again in active service.

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From March 13 to 18, 1945, the activities of the Unit were mostly patrol work with the American soldiers to different places where Japs were reported hiding. In one instance, eight men of this unit with eight Americans met trouble with ten Japs east of Bungahan, Cuenca, and they killed three of them.

In the morning of March 19, 1945, all the men of this Unit it Alitagtag marched to Cuenca with the 158th R.C.T. under Colonel Shoemaker. That same day, Cuenca was occupied by the American forces. In the afternoon, the Unit moved back to Alitagtag and stayed there until March 22, when the whole force established its Headquarters in Cuenca. Once in Cuenca, the undersigned made an effort to contact the Commanding Officers of the 756th Field Artillery and the 11th Airborne Division, then operating in this locality. He succeeded in meeting Col. Kane, commanding the 756th F.A. and Major Lewis, commanding a battalion of the 11th Airborne Division. Col. Kane asked for 14 men of this Unit who were assigned as guards in the perimeter of his Artillery outfit. Major Lewis gave [an[ order that he (undersigned) should report every morning ot the battalion S-2 to receive instruction as to the activities to be done each day. The orders were complied with to the letter. In the first conference with the S-2 of said battalion, the need for intelligence reports similar to those required by the late Major Schommer was emphasized. It was also added that everyday, a number of the men of this Unit would be utilized as guides. These requirements were observed.

A few days after the occupation of Cuenca, Major Schommer arrived at Alitagtag and later on stationed himself at Dominador, Alitagtag. The undersigned went to see him for an interview. After a brief conversation about the activities that this Unit would have to do in cooperation with the American forces, he said he would soon transfer to Cuenca and the undersigned should report to his CP daily. The order was carried out and all assignments with reference to intelligence activities and patrol duties were complied with up to their departure from this place.

The day before their departure, he (undersigned) was called to a conference by Major Schommer and he was told that the American forces would soon move out of Cuenca and that the responsibility of providing protection to the civilian populace, who were then ordered to their homes, would fall upon this Organization. Taking the situation as a challenge for duty, there was no other course to take, but to assume the responsibility.

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From the date of [the] departure of the American forces from Cuenca up to the writing of this narrative, there were already sixteen encounters with the Japs in the vicinity of the town and in the Macolot mountain area. Our headquarters were attacked three times in the darkness of night and in the barrios of Ibabao and Dita, the Japs made three successive attempts to penetrate said barrios on the nights of June 22, 23 and 24. Our men stationed therein were able to repulse the enemy. In the evening of June 26, an unknown number of Japs came down from their mountain hideouts and stole three heads of cattle. Report of this occurrence was received early in the morning of the same day, and immediately a patrol unit of twenty men under the command of Lt. Briones was dispatched to pursue the enemy. Climbing to the very summit of the mountain, they surprised the Japs at the mouth of a cave. Opening fire upon sight of the enemy, they got two of them. The rest fled and, following the trails taken by the Japs, they saw traces of blood on the ground and on the grass showing evidence that some of those who escaped were wounded. Lt. Briones presented to the Headquarters the left hand of each of the Japs killed. Reports of all these encounters stating the number of Japs killed in each instance were submitted to the G-2 and to Major Alexander of the 11th Airborne Division stationed in Mataasnakahoy.

Training of men in active service had to be continued. Likewise, scouting and patrolling should continue as a means of providing protection to the civilian population. The Japanese menace still existed in the Macolot mountain area. Oftentimes, the Japanese came down from their mountain tunnels at night to do damage to the people. It was, therefore, imperative that the guerrilla outposts be maintained in the poblacion and in the barrios of Ibabao and Dita with an adequate number of armed guerrillas for day and night patrols.

In all, the encoungers [we] had with the Japs in Alitagtag and in Cuenca as mentioned elsewhere in this report, this unit suffered the following casualties:

March 10, 1945 Cpl. QuintinCadacio - Calumpit, Alitagtag
Cpl. Gavino Magpantay - Calumpit, Alitagtag
March 22, 1945 Pfc. Andres Rosales - Emmanuel, Cuenca
March 23, 1945 Sgt. Dionisio La Rosa - Mambug, Cuenca
March 31, 1945 Cpl. Faustino Mañgundayao - Dita, Cuenca
April 7, 1945 Pvt. Juan Magpantay, Lumampao, Cuenca
April 16, 1945 Pvt. Juanito Jumarang - Poblacion, Cuenca

The following were wounded and treated in the Military Hospitals in Lemery, Mandaluyong and Muntinglupa:

March 10, 1945 Capt. Benjamin Ilagan - Calumpit, Alitagtag
March 10, 1945 Cpl. Faustino Mañgundayao - Calumpit, Alitagtag
March 12, 1945 Pfc. Faustino Cortiguerra - Munlawin, Bauan

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March 31, 1945 Lt. Paolo Arada - Ibabao, Cuenca
March 31, 1945 Cpl. Juan Remo - Ibabao, Cuenca

In addition to the casualties above reported, the following officers and enlisted men were also picked up, tortured and killed by the Japs while on intelligence missions to get vital information for the Headquarters of this Unit:

Jan. 8, 1944 1st Lt. Lucio Matulac - Dita, Cuenca
Nov. 27, 1944 2nd Lt. Hermogenes Briones - Pob. Cuenca
Feb. 3, 1945 Capt. Mariano Larosa - Dita, Cuenca
Feb. 3, 1945 1st Lt. Agustin Olea - Dita, Cuena
Feb. 3, 1945 1st Lt. Apolinario Larosa - Dita, Cuenca
Feb. 3, 1945 2nd Lt. Gaudencio Torres- Dita, Cuenca
Feb. 3, 1945 2nd Lt. Arcadio Marasigan - Dita, Cuenca
Feb. 3, 1945 Cpl. Manuel Jarena - Dita, Cuenca
Feb. 3, 1945 Cpl. Apolinario Jarena - Dita, Cuenca
Feb. 3, 1945 Pvt. Santos Torres - Dita, Cuenca

After the departure of the American forces from the Cuenca sector, the Unit had again to depend upon the townspeople for subsistence. The undersigned thought of attaching the unit to the 11th Airborne Division to relieve the people of the burden of supplying food to the force, but on second thought, this idea was given up because of the Japanese menace already mentioned hereof. The Unit had to stay to continue fulfilling their obligation of providing protection to the people and helping them in the maintenance of peace and order in the locality. It was quite a difficult task but it was a sacrifice worthwhile rendering to the people who had already suffered much from the Japanese brutalities. The guerrillas in active service had to go on with only two meals a day because of the limited supply of food, but in spite of this, they gladly stuck to their duties knowing that the needs of the country should be over and above their personal interests and welfare.

Coming to arms, this outfit started with a few pistols, revolvers and some native shotguns known as paltiks. A small reinforcement of American rifles was received in Alitagtag from Col. Shoemaker and in Cuenca from Col. Moreno. But up to date, the supply is still inadequate.

This narrative will be considered incomplete without dedicating a few lines to those generous individuals who supported and helped maintain the organization during its days of trials and sufferings. Among those individuals were Mr. Eliseo Silva of Mataasnakahoy, Mayor Santiago Luna of [the] same municipality, Atty. Eulalio Chavez, Dr. Honesto Chavez, Mr. Domingo Laredo, the late Mr. Sinforoso Jusay, the late Manuel Cuevas, Mr. Braulio Limbo, Mr. Simeon Jarena and late Mr. Mariano Mendoza, all of Cuenca. These men should be recipients of deep gratitude from each and every member of the Macolot Regiment.

[Sgd.] PEDRO PASIA, Colonel
Regimental Commander

Cuenca, Batangas
July 18, 1945

Notes and references:

1 MACULOT BATTALION FAIT, File No. 110-67, downloaded from PVAO.
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