History of the Zobel Guerrilla Unit - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore History of the Zobel Guerrilla Unit - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

History of the Zobel Guerrilla Unit

The Zobel Guerrilla Unit was a guerrilla organization that supposedly operated from the western Batangas town of Calatagan. It was supposedly commanded by one Guerrilla Lt. Colonel Jacobo Zobel. The reader is advised that this unit failed to obtain official recognition from the United States Army and that many of its claimed achievements as well as manpower were found to have had overlaps with Emilio Macabuag’s Unit, another guerrilla organization that operated in and out of Calatagan. In this document1, a history of the unit is provided as part of the requirements for its application for official recognition by the United States Army.

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“I trust everyone left behind will carry on” were my parting words to the people of Calatagan late in December 1941 when our unit was ordered to leave for Bataan.

Faithful as ever, Captains Jose P. Tan, Gerardo S. Manas, Demetrio Hernandez, Olimpio Sayo, Teotimo Fagara, Lts. Dalmacio Carcabuso, Isidro Mendoza, Buenaventura Cauceran and Messrs. Jose L. Jocson and Wenceslao Pangan met on 30 April 1942 and organized the nucleus of resistance against the Japanese and they named it “ZOBEL’S GUERRILLA UNIT” with the undersigned as titular head, though he was still a prisoner of war. Upon his release in July 1942, he assumed command and established his secret headquarters in Manila.

To cover up its activities and to have a secret meeting place, Mrs. Jacobo Zobel established a charity clinic for the poor, called the “PAGAMUTAN NG MARALITA.” The activities of the unit were planned and directed from this clinic and it was through this clinic that contacts with Major Ramsey of Montalban were made by Lt. Col. A. W. de los Reyes.

On 8 December 1943, Major L. H. Phillips and Captain Ricardo Galang, intelligence officers of the U.S. Army (SWPA) contacted the unit. Capt. Emilio Macabuag and companions were sent to barrio Calansan, Paluan, Mindoro to confer and receive instructions from Major Phillips. They were instructed to gather military information about the enemy and to form reception units to help the American forces when they returned.

On 28 December 1943, upon instruction by Major L. H. Phillips, four Americans in Mt. Batulao, Tuy, Batangas, were taken to Mindoro by members of our unit. In February 1944, the hideout of Major L. H. Phillips and his men in Paluan, Mindoro was raided by the Japanese, resulting in the death of Major Phillips and the capture of Sgt. Harold Guinea. Sgt. Guinea was brought to the Nasugbu Garrison, Nasugbu, Batangas, where he was tortured and finally broke

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down and told the Japanese the persons who helped him in his escape to Mindoro. As a result, Capt. Jose P. Tan, Capt. Teotimo Fagara, Capt. Demetrio Hernandez, Sgt. Dalmacio Aytona and Sgt. Sixto Buceta, all members of this command, were executed by the Japanese while Capt. Emilio Macabuag of this command also, after months of surviving indescribable tortures, was finally released. Major Vicente Calingasan of the Rainbow Regiment was also arrested and tortured.

On 3 January 1944, Major Phillips ordered the unit to escort members of the U.S. Signal Corps, Lt. Rosquera, Sgt. Benjamin Harder and Ramon Vitorio from barrio Calansan, Paluan, Mindoro to Cape Santiago, Calatagan, Batangas, where a signal and radio station was established which communicated to Mindoro and led to the sinking by American submarines of 39 Japanese vessels.

In the latter part of 1944, the Japanese established a base for suicide motor boats in the mouth of Santiago River and this fact was communicated to the American forces in Mindoro. Subsequently, the base was bombed and strafed by American planes.

On 3 February 1945, U.S. PT Boats No. 77 and No. 79 were sunk and grounded, respectively, in barrio Kilitisan, Calatagan, and as a result 17 Americans were stranded. With the protection and aid of the members of our unit, they were brought to a safe place and saved from the enemy dragnet who were sent to capture them.

On 22 February 1945, Calatagan was liberated jointly by elements of the 11th Airborne Division and our unit, and in recognition of the valuable services of the unit, Capt. Olimpio Sayo, Adjutant of the undersigned, was appointed Mayor of the town of Calatagan.

On March 3, 1945, Col. H. R. Hildebrand, CO of the 187th Inf., 11th Airborne Division, radioed Colonel James Farren to “PICK UP ZOBEL’S UNIT AND ATTACH TO YOUR BATTALION.”

On 6 March 1945, thirty members of the unit were sent to Nasugbu for military training.

A few days after the liberation of Calatagan, the American forces left and the fate of the town was left in our hands. The enemy, then, had strong and well-supplied

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positions in the outlying mountains of Calatagan and in the borders of Calatagan and Balayan. With the help of the Rainbow Regiment and the Hunters, the remaining Japanese were either killed or driven out so that by the 15th of April 1945, our sector (Calatagan) was already cleared of the enemy.

On 15 April 1945, Lt. Felipe Dino with 11 men (of this unit) were sent to help the Rainbow Regiment upon request by the Commanding Officer of said unit. They finally joined that unit.

The undersigned joined the staff of the 158th RCT (U.S. Army) as its G-5 and Lt. Colonel A. W. de los Reyes joined the Philippine Army where he is a major and the command was assumed by Capt. Enrique Zobel.

My trust to the people of Calatagan was carried to the fullest measure of sacrifice and devotion.

Colonel, Infantry

Notes and references:
1 “Zobel’s Guerrilla Unit,” File No. 137, online at the United States National Archives.
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