History of the Rillo Neri Unit Part II - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore History of the Rillo Neri Unit Part II - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

History of the Rillo Neri Unit Part II




The Rillo-Neri Unit was a guerrilla organization that was allegedly formed in the town of Balayan, and again allegedly by the authority coming from Col. Hugh Straughn, founder of the Fil-American Irregular Troops. It was supposed to have conducted intelligence work, kept peace and order and helped in the evacuation of the citizens of Balayan, Lemery and Tuy. Its combat team was also said to have participated in combat during the liberation of Batangas. While this guerrilla group failed to obtain full recognition from the United States Army, 130 of its members were recognized as a combat team and another 400 gained recognition with another guerrilla outfit, the Blue Eagle Brigade. In this document1, a history of the unit is provided in aid of its application for official recognition.

Guerrilla Files

[p. 9]

VII – CAPT. C. SCHOMMER EXPRESSED THE GRATITUDE OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY TO THE RILLO-NERI UNIT: After the investigation of the five American soldiers, who were with the Unit in its fight in [the] Himalas Garrison, Capt C Schommer, the Commanding Officer of the Headquarters Guerrilla Forces, Tagaytay City, expressed the gratitude of the United States Army to the Unit in the following letter written in long hand:

Headquarters Guerrilla Forces
Tagaytay City

Mar. 3, 1945

To: Rillo-Neri Guerrilla Force

1. I wish to express my gratitude to the Rillo-Neri Unit for the memorial [memorable?] work they, and all guerrilla units of Batangas and Cavite Province have done.

2. I salute you as patriotic civilians turned guerrillas to protect your homes, and work side by side with the U. S. in eliminating the Japs. I give you my assurance that your vigil yet remains only a matter of hours, before you can again stroll in your fields and cities. Other sectors of your province yet await the joyous time. We are turning our attention now to their needs.

3. As such, the need you had of a strong guerrilla organization to protect your homes now ceases to be a dire necessity. May the Philippine people ever know the sacrifices you have made in time of need, and may God grant you peace for the rest of your lives.

s/ C. Schommer


I – COMBAT COMPANY ORGANIZED: Following the order of Headquarters Guerrilla Forces, Tagaytay City, on 19 February 1945, by Command of General Swing, signed by Col. Alex Williams Jr., Chief of Staff, the Unit organized the Combat Company under the command of Major Horacio L. Ilagan.

II – On 4 March 45, the order for the transfer of the Command of all Guerrilla Forces in the Sector was transferred to the 158th RCT, to quote:

APO 70

4 March 45

TO: Commanding Officer, 187th P/C Regiment, 11th A/B Division, Apo 463

[p. 10]

1. General Guerrilla Command in Balayan area, pass to control to CG 158th per VOGG 11th A/B Division effective 5 March 1945.

2. Hunters ROTC; Rainbow Regiment, AUSS, Rillo-Neri Unit, Gagalac Unit; Licopa Unit pass to control of General Guerrilla Commander per VOGG 11th A/B Division effective 00011 5 March 1945.

For the Commanding General:
s/ Robert Glieden
Major, Infantry


1 Org above
1 158th RCT File

On 6 March 1945, the 158th RCT came to Balayan to attack the HIMALAS GARRISON. Maj Horacio L Ilagan was ordered to be the guide of the advancing company in the attack, Company A, under Capt Wright. The attack at HIMALAS GARRISON was under the command of Col. Shoemaker. (See diagram of Japanese Garrison with the different positions of the attack forces, DIAGRAM “A.”)

TROOP DISPOSITION: From “W” main highway, the main body under Col Shoemaker of 158 RCT and guerrilla units under Col. Cabarrubias; on the “N” Rillo-Neri Unit and Hunters Unit under Maj. Sabial; from the “S” Company A, under Capt Wright, guided by Major Horacio L Ilagan as attacking party; and from “E” Company with Licopa and Gagalac Units.

Attack commenced at 0800 6 March 1945. Garrison occupied on 2300 March 1945. Japs killed 79 and Jap prisoner taken by Company “A” 1. At the same date, liberation of the towns of Calaca, Lemery and Taal, Batangas accomplished. Opposition in Taal began at exactly 1800 7 March 1945, when the Japanese started shelling the town until the next morning.

II. After the fall of the HIMALAS GARRISON, the town of Balayan was liberated with the exception of the other garrison at San Piro Mountains. With an American company, the attack of the SAN PIRO GARRISON was accomplished by the different GUERRILLA UNITS alone. (See map of Japanese Garrison with the different positions of the attack forces, DIAGRAM “B.”)

TROOPS DISPOSITION: On Mt. San Pedrino was COMBAT COMPANY “B” of 47 Regt. Hunters ROTC, under the command of Maj. Sebial and the Rillo-Neri Unit Combat Company under Maj. Horacio L Ilagan; along the shoreline of Sanpiro and Talisay was a battery of American Company and the Rainbow Regiment under Col. Cabarrubias; and at Sinturisan were the two companies of the Hunter ROTC, under Maj Kasilao. On 10 March 1945 the attack commenced at 0012. Japanese stood past. [fast?] Severall guerrillas under Col Cabarrubias were ambushed, thus ruining the attack on the first day. The troops were ordered to withdraw to about ½ kilometer of the Japanese position.

On 0800 11 March 1945, the second attack was made by the different

[p. 11]

guerrilla units. This time, the positions of the troops were changed. Attacking party along the Sanpiro and Talisay shoreline was placed under the command of Maj Sebial and Maj Ilagan and Col Cabarrubias taking the position of Mt. San Pedrino. Maj Kasilao continued to watch at Sinturisan.

With the Rillo-Neri Unit under Maj Ilagan as the Advance Guard, the Company “B” Hunters ROTC under Maj Sebial as the main body of the attacking forces and two platoons of American Company as Reserve and rear guard, at exactly 0800, the attack proceeded with artillery support. For three hours, the fight continued and exactly 1330, the advance guard occupied the Japanese position. Mopping up of the area was completed on 1900 so that the position was occupied for the whole night.

At 0600 12 March 45, the Rillo-Neri Unit Combat Team under Maj Ilagan and Company “B” under Maj Sebial crossed the mountains and occupied Mt. Item and continued to liberate Calatagan, Batangas when the American Company met the Guerrilla Units by passing the highway.

Japanese killed at Mt San Piro 37 and at Mt Item 42. Maj Kasilao were able to corner 56 Japanese on their retreat thru Sinturisan.

For the Rillo-Neri Unit, 1st Sgt Arcadio Avena was wounded and brought to the hospital.

III. After the operation in San Piro, Balayan and Calatagan, the Company together with Company “B” under Maj Sebial were stationed at the Electric Plant in Balayan to mop up the areas covering the towns of Balayan, Tuy and Calaca. In two different patrols, the Rillo-Neri Unit killed 19 Japs, to wit: 11 Japs killed in Dao, Balayan on 14 March 1945 and 8 Japs at Matipok, Calaca, 15 March 1945.

IV. On 15 March 45, the Company received order to go to Cuenca and was used with Co. B. Hunters ROTC to hold Mt. San Jose where the Unit was under Lt Parker, 187th 11th A/B Division killed in San Jose proper 36 Japs in an encounter.

V. Major C. Schommer, who was in command of the entire operation in the sector received and order for the Rillo-Neri Unit to report to the Guerrilla Hq 11 A/B Division at Taal, Batangas, where by the order of the higher hqs, it assumed the name LIPA GUERRILLA HQ COMBAT TEAM with a sector responsibility covering the towns of Taal, Lemery, Calaca, and Balayan, province of Batangas.


I. The Combat Company of the Rillo-Neri Unit, assuming the name of LIPA GUERRILLA HQ. COMBAT TEAM, was officially recognized on 1 April 1945 by the 8th U. S. A. It operated under Lt. A. P. McDonald, CAC, AA, Guerrilla Coordinator, representing the Lipa Guerrilla Hq, 11th A/B Division.

II. The unit cleared the area assigned it for mopping up operations. (SEE MAP “C.”) It killed 42 Japs in its sector. After clearing up its area, the Unit was assigned to help with the other Units.

[p. 12]

The United conducted three major operations with two of the operations supported by [the] 188th Battalion 11th A/B Division, under Maj. Alexander.

III. MATIPOK (86.7-169.8) Calaca, Batangas Operation: On 16 April 45,30 EM of the Rainbow Regt, under Lt. V. M. Daquigan; 30 EM of Co. “C,” Hunters ROTC; and 42 EM of Batangas Fil-Americans under Lt Real; together with 50 EM of the Lipa Guerrilla Hq Combat Team, under Lt Baylosis; the entire group under the command of Capt Horacio L Ilagan (Maj Ilagan was recognized on 1 April 45 with the rank of a Capt following the American T/O & E), combed the entire district and barrios of Calaca. While the operation did not encounter much enemy opposition (only 11 Japs encountered and killed in Matipok, Calaca by all the Units), yet the operation was instrumental for the return of the evacuated farmers to their fields even up to [the] mountains of Mt Batulao. Operation was for 3 days, from 16 to 19 April 45.

IV. BAREGON (87.4-170.1), Lemery, Batangas Operation: After four days of patrolling with 30 EM, Capt Ilagan cornered the Japs on the hillsides of Baregon, Lemery. There was only on way, a lone trail two feet wide to the position of the Japs. The trail was covered up by two machine guns cross firing. Capt Ilagan decided to try the strength of the Japs and was able to ascertain as between 50-60 Japs, after 10 minutes of encounter. Capt Ilagan withdrew his EM 400 yards away from the enemy in a good place protected by natural terrain. At about 1630, 20 May 45, the Reconnaissance Patrol of the 188th A/B Division came to where Capt Ilagan was. Because the Unit had been given three false alarms that whole day, the Americans, especially the 1stSgt, wanted to bet that with only five American soldiers, he would be able to go to the position of the Japs and he would not even find a single one. In spite of the advice of Capt Ilagan to the contrary for fear that darkness might overtake the operation, the attack was ordered to be undertaken by the American Lt in charge of the group. The American Lt with his 30 EM and Capt Ilagan with his 30 EM decided to attack the Japanese position. Cover up with 8 trench mortar fire and one machine gun, we decided to attack, the 1st Sgt of the Americans commanding the Advance Guard with Sgt. Besas. The Japs held their fire until we were close to 20 meters. Sgt. Manuel Besas and American 1st Sgt were badly wounded with the American Lt wounded in his arm. The lesson taught the American 1st Sgt of comparing the Lipa Guerrilla Hq Combat Team nearly cost his life as he was wounded in the stomach. Order from the Cap Plane [Captain?] was for Capt Ilagan with 20 EM to guard the lone trail for the whole night. On 21 April 45, the 188th Battalion A/B Division under Maj Alexander came and together with Capt Ilagan and 50 EM, they attacked and got every Jap in the area. Japanese killed 39. Operation covered up four days with actual combat 2 days from 18 to 21 May 45.

V. CACAWAN (85.7-169.3), Taclanganak (85.6-169.4), Karachocha (86.4-169.3), Cahil (85.6-169.3) Calaca, Batangas Operation: Patrol Reports sent by the different units in Calaca verified the reports of the civilians that the Japs driven from Matipok went to contact the Japs covering up the areas around Cacawan, etc. of about 4 kilometers. A patrol under Capt Ilagan and Lt Colone, Training Officer for Taal Sector, Guerrilla Hq 11th A/B Division, Taal, Batangas, went to ascertain and verify the number of enemy, the kinds of weapons and arms of the enemy and the positions of the enemy. On 3 June 45, Capt Ilagan with Lt Colone attacked the enemy. The test

[p. 13]

proved the report by Capt Ilagan that the enemy was numbering several hundreds, armed with at least 4 machine guns and several mortars, was true.

On 17 June 45, the entire 188th Battalion 11th A/B Division under Maj. Alexander and Capt Morgan again with Capt Ilagan leading the advancing party, the Japs’ stronghold was shelled for two days continuously before the enemy stronghold could be taken. All the Guerrilla Units under the Guerrilla Hq of Taal participated in this combat. The Unit was credited to have killed with small arms ⅓ of the 108 Japs killed and counted with several tens still uncounted.

From these two activities of the Unit in Calaca, Batangas, besides the many patrol works, the Lipa Guerrilla Hq Combat Team (Rillo-Neri Unit) was considered as the Liberator and Defender of the town of Calaca, Batangas.


The Rosters of Arms as required is submitted with the comment that said arms had all been turned in to Lt. MacDonald, Liaison Officer, Guerrilla Hq. 11th A/B Division on 3 July 45.


The Roster of Troops originally was a whole Company of 144 EM and 5 officers but the Guerrilla Hq 11th A/B Division called only for 87 EM and officers.



1. Organized a group to spread American propaganda, collected aids, food, clothing and medicine for American stragglers and escaped prisoners from “DEATH MARCH” and gathered intelligence reports for Panay Guerrillas and Col. Nakar Northern Luzon Guerrillas as early as April 1942. While the group did not constitute a Military Organization, yet the spirit of resistance to the Japanese rule was clearly manifested and the loyalty to the Americans clearly demonstrated.

2. The success of Maj Horacio L Ilagan with 30 ROTC disbanded members of the Province of Batangas in the bringing the 47 Springfields to Batangas in 1942 was a sacrifice at the peril of losing their lives just in case they were caught by the Japanese. Later on, these 47 arms were the ones used by the Combat Unit of the Rillo-Neri Unit.

3. The untiring efforts of Maj Ilagan following the order of Col.

[p. 14]

Rillo to coordinate the guerrilla organizations in the western part of Batangas in the middle of 1942 marked the pioneering spirit of the guerrilla movements in Batangas.

The memory of several heroes who died for the Spirit of Resistance in Batangas are hereby stated for the authorities to investigate and reward where reward is due is suggested:
a. Col. Espina and Major Evangelista, the first guerrilla leaders of Batangas successful to unite all the guerrilla units of Batangas who were forced to surrender and later killed by the Japanese Military Police because of the capture of their respective families;
b. The deaths of Maj. Amador Deguito and Maj. Rodolfo Bahia, the pioneer organizers of the guerrilla movements in Balayan, Batangas, for upholding their denial of the presence of guerrilla movements in Balayan, Batangas in spite of the fact that the guerrillas, on account of the advice of the Council of 5 Elders, had already surrendered;
c. The death of Maj. Distresa of Nasugbu, Batangas at the hands of the Japanese spies. If there was anyone responsible for the elimination of Cavite bandits in Nasugbu, his memory could not be surpassed;
d. The imprisonment of Maj Vicente Calingasan of Tuy, Batangas and Col Salvador Rillo for the cause of the resistance movements should always inspire trust and good leadership even at great odds;
e. The double-cross dealing of Capt Mariano Cabarrubias against the Japanese by supplying the guerrillas with ammunition and information to avoid the “ZONA” business of the Japanese, and later the desertion of Capt Cabarrubias and his Constabulary men with their arms to fight for the cause of democracy.

All these memories of those pioneer guerrilla movements of the western part of Batangas shall mark the blood and sacrifices for the resistance movements.

4. The Rillo-Neri Unit assumed Military Organization on 12 January 1943.

5. Covering the activities of the Philippine Commission under Jorge B. Vargas and cabinet members and key men of the puppet republic under Jose P Laurel, thru Maj Medrano, appointed aide-de-camp at Malacañan Palace.

6. Sabotage and elimination of Japanese spies.

[p. 15]

7. Maintenance of peace and order in Western Batangas.


8. Supplying accurate intelligence reports which were acknowledged and commented on by American officers.

9. Effective patrol activities which prevented the unification of scattered Japanese forces in Western Batangas for any effective resistance or offensive action during the liberation days.

10. Participation of the Unit Combat Team in the liberation of the towns of Balayan, Calatagan, Calaca, Lemery and Taal, of the Province of Batangas, with the 158th RCT under Major Robert Glieden from 6 March 1945 to 15 March 1945.

11. Participation in the liberation of the town of Cuenca at Mt. San Jose with Co. “B” 47 Reg. Hunters ROTC under Lt. Parker of the 187th 11th A/B Division.

12. Mopping up operations under Lt. A. P. MacDonald, CAC, AA, USA, Coordinator Guerrilla Hq, 11th A/B Division, Taal, Batangas, in the towns of San Luis, Taal, Lemery, Calaca, Balayan and Tuy, province of Batangas.

13. Separate action in Combat Mission with the 188th Battalion, 11th A/B Division, under Maj. Alexander and Capt Morgan, in Lemery and Calaca, Batangas.

14. Rescue of American fliers who were shot down in [the] China Sea during the first days of the American raids in Sept 1944 and taking them to Mindoro Island which was a safe place for them to stay. The taking care of several Americans by Lt Col Jose Manzano Lopez and Lopez family at Pitogo, Balayan, and protected from [the] enemy by the Combat Company under Maj Pedro Zuñiga.



Roster of Arms
Roster of Troops
Diagrams “A,” “B,” AND “C” (Maps)
Casualty Report of Combat Company
Casualty Report of EM Killed in Action (Entire Unit)


Notes and references:
1 “Rillo-Neri (Lipa Guerrilla Headquarters Combat Team),” File No. 110-9, online at PVAO.
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