History of the 36th Infantry Regiment, PQOG of Taysan - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

History of the 36th Infantry Regiment, PQOG of Taysan

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The President Quezon’s Own Guerrillas or PQOG was another of the large guerrilla organizations that operated in southern Luzon, including the Province of Batangas, during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines all the way to the liberation of the province by the American and Allied forces. It had many affiliate units in Luzon, including one purportedly founded by one Isidro G. Sulit in the town of Taysan which called itself the 36th Regiment, 35th Infantry Division, PQOG. In this page is a transcription1 of a short history of this guerrilla unit as submitted to the US Army in the unit’s application for official recognition.
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SEPARATE HISTORY OF [THE] 36TH INFANTRY
REGIMENT OF THE 35TH INFANTRY
DIVISION PQOG

An isolated little town of Taysan separated from the rest of the municipalities of Batangas by the legendary Malakingilog River and guarded at its rear by the natural frontiers, the Banoy Ridge and Nagiling Mountain, has come into the limelight of patriotic achievements when in 1942, immediately after the occupation by the Japanese of the Province of Batangas, a daring young man by the name of ISIDRO G. SULIT emerged from an obscure corner, somewhere in the fastness of the surrounding mountains, to defy the incursion of Japanese vandalism.

He organized a guerrilla outfit in the hills of Taysan sometime in the month of October, 1942. With the help of his intimate friend Gregorio Ebreo of Rosario, who supplied him arms, the heroic movement spread like wildfire throughout the neighboring towns, gaining support from the patriots around until it was sufficient to form a regiment, naming it the Taysan Unit. His tenacity, combined with the sagaciousness of Ebreo, formed the spiritual bedrock of a Batangueño character.

Gen. Dumas (Andres D. Umali), then Col. of the PQOG at that time, learned [of] the activities of the Taysan Unit. Thus, Major Majuvy of the PQOG was sent by General Dumas to contact the adventurous Sulit, a close friend of Majuvy. Sulit, who in no way could deny whatever Majuvy would ask from him, easily acceded to the proposition to merge the Taysan Unit with the PQOG. On August 15, 1943, Sulit was commissioned Captain of the PQOG by General Dumas. Because of his untiring activities, he was promoted to the rank of Major on December 1, 1943. Sporadic engagements were being experienced by the Taysan Unit. Due to his brilliant record, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel on March 1st, 1944, and finally to the rank of full Colonel on 15 Jan. 1945.

On March 28, 1944, while the main body of the PQOG was concentrated on the barrio of Tulos, Rosario, Batangas, about 1,000 Japanese soldiers raided them. The plan of the Japanese was well-studied. They attacked


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from different directions, surrounding in effect the guerrillas. Col. Sulit was that time performing quite a tough job. He was the one guarding the transmitter and he had to do his best to defend it, for it was the only means which kept the PQOG in direct contact with the SWPA. In spite of the inferiority of arms and in spite of being greatly outnumbered by the enemies, he held them at bay and managed to transfer the transmitter to a place of safety. In this encounter, forty-six Japs were killed and several were wounded. Many civilians and home guards were killed by the Japs and many houses and foodstuffs were burned.

After the said encounter at Tulos, he was called to the GHQ to join the mobilization in Rizal, Laguna. The mobilization being through, he ordered to return to his original command sector in Taysan and on his way, he met the Japanese patrol in barrio San Juan, San Pablo and had a bloody engagement. He received a gunshot wound on his right foot. Far from disheartening, he became more determined to fight against the hated Japs. Arriving in Maugat on July 10, 1944, still weak and convalescent, he rested for a week and proceeded to his sector which was that time infested by spies. He waged a relentless campaign against the dirty traitors until his sector was completely clean of them, thereby transforming it into a peaceful evacuation center of those who were fleeing the Japanese barbarism from other towns. He had not only to face the Japs but he was also engaged in cleaning his sector of the presence of bad elements who were trying to loot and rob the civilians. A civic and spirited military man Col. Sulit has always been.

Around the month of September 1944, Brig. Gen. Esteban M. Mayo, then Colonel of the PQOG, was commissioned Division Commander of the 35th Infantry Division. The regiment of Col. Sulit was then attached to this division and for a more concerted action, the Division Commander called Col. Sulit to join his command with that of the Division Staff. Lipa and Rosario, that time, about the month of December, were at the mercy of the Jap soldiers so that it was designed by the commanding officer to bivouac the Sulit Command in the barrio of Maugat, Rosario


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to facilitate the aid to the civilians of Lipa and Rosario. The command of Col. Sulit was a sort of a mobile unit throughout the whole division, for his outfit was the best armed force in the division. He had to his credit the conversion of the EX-USAFFES, composing of four officers and several non-commissioned officers and enlisted men, into a combat force of his regiment on October 1, 1944.


– INTELLIGENCE WORK –

Col. Sulit had done wonderful intelligence work sending it to the SWPA thru the transmitter kept in the mountains of Laiya. The gun emplacement, the ammunition depot and the fuel dump of the Japs in the surrounding garrisons were all reported by him thru the Laiya transmitter, and in effect many of them were made the sure targets of our American flyers. Many sabotage works had been done also. He disrupted communications and harassed the Japs in the best he could.


– THE FIRST CONTACT –

Sometime on the 12th day of March 1945,Majors Montano Viril and Alfonso Angolas were sent by the Division Headquarters to contact the American Liberation Forces in Lemery. They were accordingly attached and given their respective identification cards.


– MODEL REGIMENT –

It is not to be forgotten that during that time, the Taysan Regiment was supposed to be the model regiment in the Division. Its staff was composed of all experienced military men who had served in Bataan. Majors Damaso Quico, Diosdado Salvador and Simeon Garcia were all USAFFE officers and refined gentlemen who constituted wonderful asset to the organization and Alfonso Angeles, who also saw action in the same region as a member of the Philippine Scouts, formed the regimental staff.


– REAL GUERRILLA ADVENTURE –

The epic of real guerrilla warfare was characterized by the Taysan Regiment in combination with the officers and men of the Division Staff. About 3 o’clock in the afternoon of March 9, 1945, around 100 Japs and


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Makapili’s raided the barrio of Maugat, Rosario where the Division Headquarters of the Batangas PQOG was then located. The headquarters personnel, together with the Taysan Regiment under the command of Col. Sulit tried to repulse them. About 500 civilians retreated, covered by the Taysan Regiment and the Division Guard under the direct command of the Division Commander. The Japs suffered considerable losses so that they did not persist to follow the Filipinos. There was no casualty on the side of the Batangas PQOG. The civilians were fortunately saved, but one can’t overlook the pathetic scene presented by the panic-stricken creatures, many of them were widows and orphans already, who evacuated from remote places in Lipa and were survivors only of Japanese atrocities, women in advanced stages of pregnancy, old decrepit persons who could hardly walk, pale and haggard mothers with two or three kids clinging around them, were helped by worn-out soldiers throughout the long journey. Many fell sick on the way. That was an acid test for the fortitude of our men but far from being disheartened, they revitalized their energy to live up to the reputation and endurance of Filipino soldiers.


– TRANSFER OF HEADQUARTERS –

The Division Headquarters were then transferred to Pinagbayanan, Taysan. All evacuees from other places who sought refuge around the headquarters were taken care [of] by the soldiers thru the expressed order of the Commanding Officer. In fact, the little palay, corn, camotes and other root crops the Division Commander had at the time in his farm in Taysan were supplied to the evacuees. Col. Sulit and his force were also with the members of the Division Staff this time.


– IN THE TAYSAN HEADQUARTERS –

While in the Taysan headquarters, in the morning of March 16, 1945, the Division Commander met a young American soldier by the name of Charles Sexton, Jr., who presented himself as the contact man of the liberation forces. The conference between the Americans and the Division Commander had not lasted long when [a] report came that there were Japanese soldiers


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in the barrio of Bilogo, Taysan. Col. Sulit, with 45 men, was dispatched immediately to the place. Mr. Sexton, in spite of the opposition of General Mayo, insisted on joining with Col. Sulit. Major Amado L. Kalaw of the Division Staff, with some men, was the advanced guard of Col. Sulit. He surprised the Japs who were at the outpost and had a good command of the situation, killing one of them. The rest, who escaped unharmed, joined the main body. They were about 200 in number armed with rifles, trench mortars, and machine guns. The fight lasted for about forty-five minutes until the Japs opened fire with their trench mortars and machine guns and the native soldiers had to jump into foxholes for cover. However, the Japs retreated also toward the town of Taysan, leaving behind them many rounds of ammunition and the dead bodies of some of their soldiers. There was no casualty on our side.

The next day, March 16, 1945, another report was received about the 14 Jap stragglers in barrio Jaybañga, Lobo. The young American joined the pursuing party again and they met at a late hour in the night. Private Monico Lontoc of the Taysan Regiment was killed and Major Alfonso Angeles of the same regiment received a gunshot wound on one of his ankles, which would probably disable him for life. He was taken to the Military Hospital in Leyte by Mr. Sexton.

On March 13, 1945, the Division Commander went to Batangas and met Lt. Col. Mann of the Liberation Forces for an official contact. Mann asked him to get those Japs who were bivouacked in the mountain of Calo, Lobo. True to his promise, as soon as he returned to his headquarters in Taysan, he prepared his men with the whole Taysan Regiment and went to Lobo to confer first with the station commander of the American forces in Lobo who was Lt. Ralph Ermatinger. While they were in Nagtalonton, a barrio on the way to Lobo, [a] report was brought to them by four men informng [them] that the Japs in Calo were coming down. Sulit, who knew very well the topography and terrain of the mountain, placed at once the boys on strategical positions in the barrio of Bignay, Lobo. At about 2 o’clock in the morning of the 28th day of March, the fighting started.


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It lasted until 6 o’clock a.m., 3 horses, 6 sacks of rice, 1 sack of sugar, several Japanese steel helmets, 3 sabers, some rifles which were all destroyed, flags, blankets and many other valuable things were seized. Ten dead Japanese soldiers were found on the spot and many others wounded had escaped as indicated by spills of blood along the way where they passed. A flag and a saber were given to Lt. Ermatinger, who was very complacent enough to transmit by radio to the Division headquarters in Batangas the achievement of the 35th Infantry Division, PQOG. In this engagement, there was nobody hurt on our side.

Immediately after the return from Lobo, the town of Taysan was liberated by the Batangas PQOG, so that when Capt Snider [Schneider?] of the PCAU came to Taysan to inaugurate the PCAU government, there was already a semblance of government run by our organization. As in Lobo, our men assisted also the inauguration of the municipal government of Taysan.

On April 30, another encounter against 27 Japanese in the barrio of Tulos, Rosario occurred. It was even fiercer than the fight in Bignay, Lobo, for the Japs were entrenched in a well-fortified place. We lost Private Porfirio Bagon of the Taysan Regiment in exchange for 5 Japs we killed.

On May 1, 1945, there was another engagement in Bilogo, Taysan which resulted into the capture of one Jap alive. The captive was brought to the Division G-2 of the 11th Airborne. On the 9th day of the same month, another encounter occurred in Banalo, Lobo with one Jap killed. On June 29, 1945, Captain Driz of the Taysan Regiment also had an engagement with several Japs in which his men were able to kill 2 and capture one alive who was brought also to the Division G-2 of the 11th Airborne.


– CONCLUSION –

In all that this unit had done, and in all the heroic feats it made, the commanding officer had always stood adamant in his belief in the sublime principles of democracy. The spirit of Americanism which has been injected into the blood of Col. Sulit and his devoted followers obliterated the fallacious doctrine of the so-called Co-Prosperity Sphere, maintaining sacred and inviolate his loyalty to the magnanimous


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American nation. He had never surrendered to the Japs in all his guerrilla life, neither any of his men. His unit fought with acerbity for the cause of freedom. With the galaxy and fortitude of a seasoned soldier, he had drawn his outfit into the welkin ring of heroism for the glory of his Motherland. Others may criticize them yet, for no human organization can be immune from criticism, but their sacrifices and patriotic achievements will not be overlooked by history for the impartial judgment of the generations to come.

Notes and references:
1 “36th Inf Regt, 35th Div, I Corps, PQOG,” File No. 271-13, online at the United States National Archives.

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