History and Activities of the Highlanders United Guerrillas Part II - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore History and Activities of the Highlanders United Guerrillas Part II - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

History and Activities of the Highlanders United Guerrillas Part II



The Highland United Guerrillas was guerrilla outfit that operated in the Province of Batangas out of the Municipality of Mataasnakahoy in World War II. It was under the command of one Alfredo Silva. In this document1, the leader of the US Army team that investigated this guerrilla unit after its application for official recognition as an element of the Philippine Army in the service of the US Armed Forces filed his report.

Guerrilla Files

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[p. 9]

patrol work in the barrios of San Sebastian and Santol, of Mataaasnakahoy, some members of our unit were attacked by the Japanese. On January 22, 1945, while civilians were being rushed to the volcano, the following members of our unit were attacked and killed by the Japanese while on patrol work in said barrios: Cpl. Rodolfo M. Silva, Cpl. Crispulo Ulan, Pfc. Julio Lumbera, Pvt. Juan Maranan, Pvt. Matias Malaluan, Pvt. Manuel Tisbe, Pvt. Eusebio Calingasan, and Pvt. David Tibayan, and Sgt. Benito Landicho.

Another incident took place in the barrio of Pangao, town of Lipa. While the people in said vicinity were being advised to evacuate to the forest, and preferably to the volcano, a group of our unit under the command of Major David Dimaculangan was attacked by the Japanese while asleep in a house in said barrio, and the following were killed: Pfc. Leon Arasola, Pfc. Julian Mendoza, Pfc. Sebastian Dimaano. There was an encounter, and one Japanese was seriously wounded.

Landing of the 11th Airborne at Tagaytay and Nasugbu; Acquisition of more arms. –

In the month of February, 1945, the American forces landed at Nasugbu and Tagaytay. This gave opportunity to our unit to get [in] contact with the returning forces, and to secure needed arms. A group in our unit was sent to Tagaytay. They climbed the steep and rough mountain ridge to Tagaytay, and were given arms and ammunition and medicine by the 11th Airborne troops then camping at Tagaytay.


The battles at Alitagtag. – News reached the various guerrillas then having quarters in Taal Volcano, that American forces have started to move eastward from Taal towards Lipa, via Alitagtag and Cuenca. But there were plenty of Japanese in Alitagtag and Cuenca, and it was considered very important that our guerrilla forces contacted the American forces at Alitagtag and Cuenca, and be their guides in the attack against the Japanese.

This unit ordered Major Gelasio Ocampo to lead a portion of our men who had been provided with arms and rifles

[p. 10]

to proceed to Alitagtag and contact the American forces and lead the attack against the Japanese whose positions in the Macolot Mountain area were graphed in our maps.

A group of our men, numbering about a hundred, left the volcano on sailboats under the command of Major Gelasio Ocampo bound for Alitagtag. It was afternoon of March 2nd, 1945. The group reached the opposite shore at the foot of Alitagtag, and spent the night in a house in the barrio of Dalipit. In the same place, they met members of the guerrilla unit under Colonel Pasia of the Folsom’s Fil-American Guerrillas. In the said house in Dalipit, that night, they were attacked by the Japanese, and after steady firing, we ran short of ammunition. The group, together with the men of Colonel Pasia, retreated to 4 kilometers away where it was found that the 158th Infantry of the American forces under the command of Colonel Shoemaker were having quarters. The guerrillas were given ammunition and rifles, and the following morning, they again referred to the place of encounter in Dalipit.

In the encounter the previous night, 2 men of Colonel Pasia were killed.

Upon reaching Dalipit again that morning, an encounter with the Japanese took place, but after a short fighting, which lasted only one hour, the Japanese took flight. The group returned to the Headquarters of Colonel Shoemaker who requisitioned guerrillas to serve as guides for Companies A, B, C, and D of the American forces. Our unit supplied some of the men, and the unit of Colonel Pasia supplied the others.

Our group stayed in Alitagtag for about 4 days more, and then proceeded to the town of Cuenca in pursuit of the Japanese who were being driven eastward towards Lipa. Company D of the American forces encountered with the Japanese, and it is known that one of Colonel Pasia’s men died in the encounter.

The battles in Cuenca. – In the meantime, we took quarters in the same place in Alitagtag where Colonel Shoemaker established headquarters.

[p. 11]

One morning, a civilian appeared in the headquarters and informed that there were Japanese in the sitio of Bungahan, town of Cuenca. Our men and other guerrilleros immediately proceeded to that place and encountered the Japanese. After long fighting, the Americans arrived at the place, and reinforced us. They proceeded to the front; made rapid fire, ordered us to retreat a few hundred yards as they would fire with trench mortar against the Japanese. The Japanese retreated and we advanced. After pursuing some distance, we found the supplies left by the Japanese, like rice, raincoats, medicines, etc., which we confiscated. A little while, another encounter took place and the Japanese further retreated. One Japanese, whom we killed, was beheaded, and the head taken to the headquarters of Colonel Shoemaker.

Sabotage of the planes at the Lipa-Mataasnakahoy airfield. – In the meantime, rumors circulated in the volcano that the Japanese intended to attack the civilians and guerrillas there. It was further rumored that the trucks had arrived in the vicinity of Mataasnakahoy, with motor boats taken by the Japanese from Manila, and which they intended to use in raiding the island volcano.

The rumor was being verified, but the author of the news could not be ascertained. To preserve the morale of thousands and thousands of civilians gathered in the volcano, our unit decided to proceed to Mataasnakahoy and investigate. The raiding party was headed by the Commanding Officer himself. With a group, he left the volcano and reconnoitered the vicinity of Mataasnakahoy. No trucks were found, except a few which were burned. No motor boats were found, and there were few Japanese seen in the vicinity of the schoolhouse.

Our party entered the airfield, and came to a place where planes were camouflaged and hidden in a coffee plantation. We destroyed the planes by cutting the wiring. We attempted to remove the machine guns in the planes, but they were attached permanently to the planes, and could not be removed. We returned to the base at the volcano.

[p. 12]

Reinforcement of our group in Cuenca. – After the sabotage of the airfield, and the return of the Commanding Officer to the volcano, reinforcement from our guerrilla unit arrived to join the group headed by our Major Gelasio Ocampo in Cuenca. The reinforcement was headed by the Commanding Officer himself.

In the meantime, fighting ceased in the Cuenca area. Upon order of the Commanding Officer, Colonel Silva, the prisoners of war (those suspected of espionage work against the American forces) kept in Taal Volcano were taken to the CIC at Cuenca by Major Gelasio Ocampo and a group under him.

In Cuenca, while our unit was in the foxholes, 4 Japanese snipers succeeded in breaking through, and bayoneted some of our companions in the foxholes. Nobody, however, died, but the 4 Japanese disappeared in the dark.

The American forces (known to be under Major Summers) advanced rapidly and drove the Japanese eastward. When information reached us that Lipa was already liberated, the Commanding Officer returned to the volcano with our men, to advise the people. A party was ordered to survey the vicinity of Mataasnakahoy, and report was received that there were no more Japanese to be found.

Return of civilians to their homes – guarding against snipers. – The volcano was so thickly populated that an epidemic broke out. Our medical unit, under the command of Capt. Lauro M. Lobrin, was kept busy to control the spread of the stomach sickness which broke out. Upon report submitted by the various groups sent out by our unit to find the conditions of the neighboring towns, it was decided to depopulate the volcano, for the good of the civilians themselves. Those from Taal, Lemery, Lipa, and Mataasnakahoy were advised to go home. Sailboats once more became busy carrying civilians across the lake. Danger from snipers delayed the return of civilians to Cuenca.

With civilians back home in the areas of Lipa, San Jose, Mataasnakahoy, and Rosario, our unit kept busy on patrol duty to keep Japanese snipers from killing people.

[p. 13]

Attachment of this unit to American forces. – It will be recalled above that in Alitagtag and Cuenca, we fought side by side with the American forces under the command of Colonel Shoemaker and Major Summer. It was to the latter that we submitted our roster, which must evidently have been lost, as the same is not in the AFWESPAC. Unfortunately, for unfamiliarity with the requisites on recognition, and due to the disorder and excitement of the hostilities, we failed to secure [a] formal letter or document from either of those officers describing our own part in the liberation of Alitagtag and Cuenca. And it is doubly unfortunate that Major Summer was killed in Lipa, and we cannot now contact Colonel Shoemaker.

However, upon resuming our headquarters in Mataasnakahoy, after the liberation of surrounding areas, we found plenty of work to do with collaboration with the 11th Airborne troops which occupied the vicinity, under the command of Major General Swing, and his officers.

Work with the American forces since then; killing of Japanese snipers. – Upon resuming our headquarters in Mataasnakahoy, we first got in touch with Lieutenant Bert who we understood to be the Head of the Labor Battalion. We cooperated with him and his men, and recruited laborers to help them make camps and sheds near the Lipa airfield.

Snipers in the meantime continued to show up in the vicinity of Mataasnakahoy. They came down from the Macolot mountain where many of them got stranded.

The commanding officer of this unit was informed by a civilian that 2 Japanese were seen in a coffee plantation back of the church south of the town. The commanding officer, in company with Capt. Pedro Inciong and 1st Lt. Cayetano Inciong, proceeded to the scene indicated without losing time. They found the Japanese, who were not willing to surrender when signaled. [A] Fight ensued, and the 2 Japanese were killed without any casualty to the three of us. Our men at the base heard the firing and they followed us to the place. A survey of the premises resulted in the discovery of 3 more Japanese

[p. 14]

who were in ambush. Our men fired at them and killed all the 3 Japanese. This incident was immediately reported to Colonel Moreno of the 11th Airborne troops who established his office near the railroad station of Lipa, Batangas. We brought the 5 heads of the Japanese whom we killed to Colonel Moreno. He can be asked to testify to this. We were given more ammunition by Colonel Moreno.

The following night, another Japanese was killed by our unit but we buried the body instead of bringing the same to the headquarters of Colonel Moreno.

After several days, as our unit was on 24 hour duty in patrolling the vicinity of the airfield, and Mataasnakahoy, where Major General Swing had his office, we caught another Japanese, and we caught him alive. We turned him over to an American officer at the office near the office of Colonel Moreno.

After a few days, while patrolling at the outskirts of the town, 3 Japanese were seen in the sitio of Sipit, about two kilometers from the office of General Swing. We succeeded [in] killing the 3 Japanese, who would not surrender when asked to do so. We reported the matter to the office of Colonel Muller stationed in Mataasnakahoy, G-2. This incident was checked by American officers sent over, and they found the dead body of the 3 Japanese. In reward for the services we were making in cooperation and in attachment to the American troops in the place, we were given more ammunition and arms, and were instructed to be always on the alert for the numerous snipers coming down from Macolot Mountain. This mountain rises to the west, and was the target for a long time after these incidents of the cannonading by the American forces at Sabang, Lipa.

After a few more days, in the sitio of Tanghas, 2 Japanese were reported to have been seen by a civilian. We dispatched men to the place and the 2 Japanese were also killed, as they refused to surrender alive. We confiscated the firearms of the Japanese as well as their flags, and the flags were given to Sergeant

[p. 15]

Benter of the 11th Airborne.

Instructions from Major General Swing, re needed supplies. – Major General Swing, it will be recalled, established an office in the school house at Mataasnakahoy. The commanding officer of this unit was called to his office, and after [a] conference, was referred to Colonel Muller, who in turn referred him to Lieutenant Lindsley to get needed supplies.

Special request on verification of connections with American officers, men. – As we had already given a roster to Major Summers with whose men we fought in Alitagtag and Cuenca, and as we had likewise given a roster to the office of Major General Swing in Mataasnakahoy, we did not preserve anymore, as we thought they would be of no importance in the petition, our identifications and miscellaneous papers from which our cooperation and work with the American forces as related above could be substantiated instrumentally. However, the officials hereinabove mentioned may be asked as to the genuineness of all our narrated activities and we are confident they will all confirm them, as we had been working and fighting with them, getting supplies from them, and protecting them from snipers.

Reservation of presenting claims for obligations of this unit. – As high costs of living and expenses were incurred by this unit, we made all efforts not to molest the civilians for funds. During all the time since our organization in 1942, we had endeavored to be self-supporting. As we had no funds to pay salaries, we did not make any payments. We were able to survive on the most minimum molestation possible, and we molested our own financially sound members, who willingly footed much of our bills. Especially when our headquarters and the civilians evacuated to Taal Volcano, our unit depended much on the finances of our Major Francisco de Jesus who owns the biggest portion of the island and who supplied our unit as well as needy civilians who had no food with the crops taken from his farm in that island, which bore bountiful harvest, thanks to Almighty God, during that year

[p. 16]

1945. When obligations of guerrilla units recognized became payable by the AFWESPAC or other authorities, and the deserved recognition of our unit is granted, necessary papers would be submitted regarding the financial obligations of this unit, should the AFWESPAC decide to pass on them.

Certification by Lt. Colonel Pedro L. Pasia. – It will be remembered in the foregoing that account has been made of the battles with the Japanese in Alitagtag and Cuenca, where our men fought side by side with the men of Colonel Pasia’s unit and with the men under Colonel Shoemaker and Major Summer.

There is attached herewith the affidavit of Colonel Pedro L. Pasia, Commanding Officer of the 5th Bn., 1st Infantry Regiment, Irregular Troops (recognized 31 January, 1945) Folsom’s Fil-American Guerrillas, testifying to the fact that our unit was organized in Mataasnakahoy, Batangas, enlisting members from neighboring municipalities, way back in 1942, and that during [the] Japanese occupation and more especially during the hostilities of the liberation of the Philippines in general and of the province of Batangas in particular, our unit had fought side by side with his own men and had killed Japanese snipers coming down the way of Mataasnakahoy from the Macolot Mountain area. The affidavit is marked Exhibit “3.”

CONCLUSION. – This unit had fought hard since its organization in 1942, to put down the Japanese forces of evil. We had bolstered up the morale of the population in the areas we treaded. We had counter-checked the pernicious effects of false Japanese propaganda on exaggerated losses of our Allied Forces. We had fought battles and lost the lives of some of our companions. We had worked so hard, and this was known to the American officers and men mentioned in this report. This request for recognition – will, it is hoped, be promptly heard and considered, and the deserved recognition of our unit, and the corresponding privileges and remunerations, granted to our members.

Commanding Officer


Notes and references:
1 “Highlanders United Guerrillas,” File No. 161, online at the United States National Archives.
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