A Brief History of the Pioneer Balayan Town Guerrillas FAIT Part I - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore A Brief History of the Pioneer Balayan Town Guerrillas FAIT Part I - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

A Brief History of the Pioneer Balayan Town Guerrillas FAIT Part I



The Pioneer Balayan Town Guerrilla Unit was one of many units of the large Fil-American Irregular Troops (FAIT) organized by the retired American Colonel Hugh Straughn at the onset of the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. This guerrilla organization had many such units operating in other towns of Batangas, including the town of Balayan. The Balayan unit was organized by Majors Rodolfo Bahia and Amador de Guito. Hence, it was also referred to as the Bahia-Deguito unit. In this document1, a brief history of this guerrilla unit is provided as an attachment to its application for recognition as an element of the Philippine Army in the service of the United States Armed Forces during the liberation of the Philippines.

This page is a TRANSRIPTION of the original document.

Guerrilla Files

[p. 1]

Balayan, Batangas


The fall of Bataan and Corregidor did not mark the end of the Filipino armed resistance to the Japanese invaders. Although the organized stand of the valiant Fil-American troops collapsed with the surrender of the two above-mentioned fortresses, yet sporadic and passive, at times, active resistance against the new masters continued with unabated force till the day of reckoning. The “death march to Bataan” and the so-called “release” of thousands of emaciated, starved prisoners the more convinced Filipinos to continue the fight, to the sweet or bitter end for the things that they have learned to love so dearly and which were taught to them by America — freedom and democracy, freedom of expression, freedom from fear, etc. It was not a gamble on their part in an effort to choose between the good and the bad. They knew before hand that they were fighting a worthy cause.

Thousands died in the prison camps of Capas and elsewhere. The Filipino people were aroused to pent-up fury by the successive appalling crimes committed by the ruthless Japanese invaders and it is no exaggeration to say that all Filipinos, with a very few negligible exceptions, men, women and children, young and old, learned or ignorant, rose up to the occasion to find expression to the pent-up fury engendered

[p. 2]

in their hearts and joined whatever movement, no matter how feeble it might have been, to hasten the day of redemption. The freedom of the Philippines rose up “like a Phoenix” from the ashes of their dead at Capas, Bataan and Corregidor.

On the day of the occupation of Manila, the enemy seemed to have inaugurated a policy of attraction with the too much abused, sugar-coated slogan: “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.” In an attempt to attract the best elements of the Filipinos to their side that they might set an example to their followers to join them to accede to the arrangement where Asia would not be for all nor for the Asiatics but for the Japanese alone, the Japs created a puppet government that would be at their beck and call in the furtherance of their imperialistic designs. The Japs tried to pull the wool over our eyes. But the Filipinos would not be fooled. For underneath the honeyed coating, we saw that it was, in reality, a vigorous policy of blood and iron against the tremendous majority of recalcitrant groups of Filipinos who, although unorganized and not militant, would not swallow the principles and mode of living of the Japs. It would be too much to say that the Japanese really believed that the Filipinos had been cowed into submission. The contrary was true. The Filipinos were beaten in an open battle, but the Japanese were not able to subdue the inner spirits that found expression in the sporadic killing of several Japs here and there, in giving a helping hand to some escaped American prisoners, who were clothed and fed at the risk of the very lives of their keepers, of the financial

[p. 3]

and moral support of orphans and widows of soldiers who gave their all in the battlefields of Bataan and Corregidor. This emotion found crystallization in the formation of underground societies and guerrilla organizations so that the hardhips and difficulties that are often the lot of a beaten but rebellious people, may in some way be ameliorated in order to prepare them morally, mentally, and physically, for the day when the sun of freedom will once more shine on these blessed shores — hence the formation of the PIONEER BALAYAN TOWN GUERRILLAS, BAHIA-DEGUITO UNIT, FIL-AMERICAN IRREGULAR TROOPS.


On June 10, 1942, at the Balayan Post Office, some met as though casually to map out plans for a guerrilla organization. Present were Dr. Rodolfo G. Bahia, a physician, Mr. Vicente Galvez (pharmacist), Mr. Amador Deguito (chemist), Mr. Ceferino C. Deguito (postmaster), Mr. Galicano Afable (USN Res.), and Mr. Domingo Tuguigui (Protestant Preacher and alter Regional Guerrilla Commander). Dr. Bahia, who had been with the USAFFE in Bataan, and Amador C. Deguito, with ROTC training, were designated to recruit men and organize their respective battalions. Both leaders began working with zeal and easily enlisted hundreds of Balayan citizens for underground work. Having completed the organization of the unit by affiliating with Col. Hugh V. Straughn commanding the Batangas division No. 02515, Fil-American Recognition also was extended by the Batangas Unit commanded by Col. Espina.


Sometime in 1943, Messrs. Jose Arrieta and Francisco

[p. 4]

Montalbo, both from Col. Espina’s staff at Batangas, came to Balayan, with the intention of placing the BAHIA-DEGUITO Battalions under a united command. Failing in this, the matter of reorganization was left to Col. Domingo Tuguigui, who was appointed regional commander over all units in Calaca, Balayan, Tuy, Lian, Calatagan, and Nasugbu. Col. Tuguigui divided Balayan into three sectors each under a CO as follows: the eastern sector in [the] charge of Major Deguito, the western sector in [the] charge of Major Bahia, and the rest of the town in [the] charge of Major Jose Adlaw Garcia, a former PC sergeant.


Major Jose Adlaw Garcia had been a PC before the war, a local policeman, and chief of the Balayan Volunteer Guards at the outbreak of the war. When the Dai Nippon Boseki KK (The Jap Cotton Co.) established its office in Balayan, nobody wanted to work for it. The Japs, finding it hard to enlist the services of the Filipino employees, took advantage of Garcia’s glib tongue to induce other Filipinos to work for the DNBK which he helped organize. His underground activities, like helping Americans cross over to Mindoro, and guiding and sheltering intelligence operatives coming over from that island, had convinced Major Tuguigui to appoint him as sector leader in Balayan. Moreover, his connection with the Japanese Company placed him in a position to know the plans of the enemy. It turned out, however, that Major Jose A. Garcia was double-crossing his fellow commanders. He was acting as a Japanese spy.

[p. 5]


In September, 1942, Harold Guentner and Patrick Melody found their way to Toong at the foot of Mt. Batulaw, Tuy, Batangas, after the fall of Corregidor. They were members of the battery team in Carabao Island. They were later joined by two other Americans, Bob Cramer and Eugene Hurgissen [other documents say Jorgensen]. Harold had fallen ill with lung ailment. To their mountain refuge, successively went Capt. Ireneo Sison, Maj. Jose Ilagan, and Maj. Rofolfo G. Bahia who gave all the possible medical and financial assistance needed by Harold. Tiring of their mountain hideout, Harold and Patrick left for Balayan and found lodging with Sgt. Apolonio Lopez in Lanatan. Here in Lanatan, Harold was still suffering with lung ailment, and was treated by Capt. Emilia Alaras and Maj. Rodolfo Bahia, Col. Galvez, Capt. Lorenzo Galvez, Lt. Col. Marcelino Maningat, Lt. Col. Pedro Bahia furnished them with bread, cigarettes, and food.

On February 5, 1944, Maj. Rodolfo Bahia and Captain Tomas Panaligan helped the ailing Harold Guentner cross to Mindoro from Hukay in Calatagan. They were spied upon by Major Jose Adlaw Garcia who informed the Japanese Military. The hunt for Guentner started. Trying to contact Major Phillips in Mindoro, he was surrounded at Paluan, Mindoro, by the Japs, who brought him back to Nasugbu, Batangas. His arrival was the signal for the arrest of the leaders of the Bahia-Deguito Unit.

[p. 6]


On March 7, 1944, at midnight, the Kempetai swooped down on Dr. Bahia’s residence to arrest him; but not finding him there, they took his brother, (now Lt. Col.) Pedro G. Bahia. An hour later, they seized Major Amador G. Deguito in his house. At the offices of the Cotton Co., they were tied, kicked, and slapped and questioned regarding the guerrilla movement and its organizers. Major Deguito stuck to his story that he was not a guerrilla, but a special agent of the constabulary. Apparently convinced, the Japs released Major Deguito and Lt. Col. Pedro G. Bahia the next morning. As Major Deguito was leaving the office, Major Bahia was coming in led by Japanese soldiers. Major Deguito had a chance to whisperto him “No squealling” to which Major Bahia replied, “Never.” Upon arriving home, Major Deguito informed the members of his staff who had come to visit him that the organization had been completely discovered, and that all of them were in dangerof their lives.


On March 10, 1944, Major Deguito was re-arrested. In the garrison, Deguito and Bahia were subjected to diabolical tortures. On the night of March 10th, Friday, Bienvenido Garcia, son of Jose A. Garcia, called at Dr. Bahia’s house to inform the family that the doctor had “escaped” and that the Japs could not locate him. The significance of the cryptic message was lost on the members of the family who were frantic in their efforts to save him. Later, part of Major Deguito’s pants and parts, undershirt, and sock

[p. 7]

were found scattered by dogs on a vacant lot where the two had been buried. The body of Dr. Rodolfo Bahia, in a state of advanced putrefaction was examined under Lt. Col. Bahia’s order under the very noses of the “nosy” Japs, and transferred to a private family vault.


In the morning of April 4, 1944, Japanese soldiers arrived in Balayan in a number of lorries. They went to several houses and in true Jap fashion arrested those whom they wanted. These men turned out to be officers of the underground movement in Balayan. The Japs loaded them in the lorries and brought them to the Nasugbu garrison. The names of these officers confined in the Jap garrison were the following:
Col. Vicente Galves
Lt. Col. Marcelino Maningat
Lt. Col. Pedro G. Bahia
Maj. Francisco Hernandez
Maj. Bienvenido Martinez
Capt. Simon Castillo
Capt. Generoso Buhay
Capt. Lorenzo Galvez (K.I.A.)
Capt. Sergio Alino
Capt. Dominador de Guzman
Capt. Meneleo Maningat
Capt. Santiago de Guzman
Lt. Gregorio Jaime
Lt. Candido Ferrer
Lt. Agustin Martinez
Lt. Recaredo Novales
Lt. Aurelio de Guzman
Lt. Tomas Butiong
Lt. Primo Bautista
Lt. Constancio Esteron
Lt. Alfonso Balacana
Lt. Nicanor Buhay (K.I.A.)
Lt. Napoleon Alino


The B-D Unit did not by any means die a natural death with the killing of its original founders. Some of the officers and members of the Unit shifted and were absorbed by the Blue Eague Command under Lt. Col. Jose Unson. Those left, who constituted the bulk of the organization, and new members who affiliated themselves with the Unit, passed under

[p. 8]

the command of Lt. Col. Pedro G. Bahia, Lt. Col. Marcelino Maningat, and Lt. Col. Nemesio Maningat. The commands of these battalions were unified under Col. Vicente Galvez, who from then on, guided the destiny of the organization.

(a) Propaganda and Financial Aid

To bolster the morale of the members of the Unit and the civilian population by exhorting them to have faith in the final triumph of our arms, the Unit, through Lt. Col. Casiano T. Calalang, disseminated KGEI news by grapevine telegraph. The Unit also engaged in financing guerrillas and their activities, supplying them with medical supplies, food, clothing, and other necessities of life, organized squads to search for hidden arms and to sabotage the enemy war efforts.

(b) Medical Assistance

A medical staff was created, composed of Dr. Jose Ilagan, Dr. Ireneo Sison, Dr. Emilia Alaras, Dr. Baltazar Magsino, Dental Surgeons such as Dr. Mariano Rodica and Dr. Alipio Ramos and Dr. Anastacia R. Galvez. To the medical staff was entrusted the duty of taking care of sick and wounded guerrillas and their families, and of furnishing escaped American war prisoners with free food, clothing, and medicine.

(c) Radio Stations

Our organization worked with Major Phillips guerrillas in Mindoro GHQ, SWPA which landed at Paluan, Mindoro. To coordinate our activities, Maj. Fransisco Hernandez of our Unit was commissioned to work with Capt. Emilio Macabuag of [the] Major Phillips Unit and given intelligence missions in Batangas and

[p. 9]

Manila. A radio station was maintained at Cape Santiago, Calatagan, Batangas, operated by M/Sgt. Ramon Victorio 39037646 and M/Sgt Benjamin Harder 32425772 and given intelligence work of naval and military nature. This radio station accounted for the sinking of several Japanese transports.

Maj. Phillips, however, did not long continue to be the head of the Mindoro Unit for he was killed by the Japs. He was succeeded by COMMANDER NICHOLSON, whose real name is Lt. Com. George F. Rowe, HQ at Camp Nimitz, Mindoro. Our radio station at Mt. Luya, Balayan was made thru Major Francisco Hernandez, Capt. Lorenzo Galvez, and Maj. Rodolfo Bahia, Maj. de Guzman and Capt. Julian Tesorero. Before he was apprehended and killed by the Japs, Maj. Bahia intended to go to Mindoro to work for the recognition of our organization, but he was not able to, because the boat was overloaded.

When Maj. Rodolfo Bahia was still living, Lt. Agustin Martinez used to shadow the doubtful activities of Jose Garcia, generally known as a Japanese spy, and made a report to him.


Father Jaime S. Neri, Co-founder of the Rillo-Neri Unit, FAIT, on his way to Mindoro was given all the possible assistance by this Unit. Lt. Federico Castillo had him as a guest at his home and procured [a] banca that took him to Mindoro. In so doing, Lt. Castillo was grilled by the Jap Military Police as to the identity of Fr. Neri.

[p. 10]


During the month of July, 1944, everybody was waiting for the Americans to arrive in the islands. It so happened that the intelligence operatives sent by General MacArthur to Luzon were contacted by Maj. de Guzman and Capt. Julian Tesorero in Barrio Baha, Calatagan, Batangas. At that very moment, Capt. Tesorero offered his services to them by acting as guide to the places where they wanted to go. Capt. Tesorero showed them the way to Patungan where they took pictures of places around Corregidor. After three days, Capt. Tesorero was back in Mindoro with full information about the place. After this, he met Commander Nicholson, USNR. He was sent again on a mission to accompany one of the radio operators of his Unit to Patungan in order to get pictures of the place and of all the ships going in and out of Manila Bay.


During the month of September, 1944, Capt. Tesorero was sent on a mission to pick up American fliers and prisoners of war who were hiding in the mountains of Marigundon, Cavite. Four of them — a flyer, Lt. John Heath J. G., one machine-gunner, Sullivan, and two war prisoners, Adams and Shorey — were taken by Capt. Tesorero the first time. The next mission was to get two war prisoners from the same place — Lt. Puller and another prisoner whose name was forgotten. The third time Capt. Tesorero went there, he took other four flyers and machine-gunners, who were from the ROTC HQ. Capt. Tesorero picked up in all fourteen American flyers and machine-gunners and four war prisoners, and brought [them] to Mindoro.


Notes and references:
1 “Pioneer Balayan Town Guerrillas, Deguito Unit FAIT,” File No. 110-42, downloaded from PVAO.
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