Japanese Times 1940 - 1945

LIFE OF INGKUNG BEN FELICIANO DEL ROSARIO

DURING THE JAPANESE OCCUPATION

1940 – 1945

        As I was in the different places during the 5 years occupation of the Japanese government of the Philippines, I was able to witness or see the brutality of the Japanese soldiers toward the Filipino civilians especially when I was with the guerilla movement. One day, we were inform that  two trucks of Japanese soldiers were raiding a barrio. They were confiscating lots of sacks of rice, animals, such as chickens and pigs and whatever they can see in each house in the barrio and at the same time raping the women they can catch. Sometimes three or five Japanese soldiers were raping a woman with her husband tied in front of her. Because of this unbelievable behavior of these Japanese soldiers, our Commander orders us to prepare to ambush them when they will leave the barrio. We were approximately 40 or 45 of us. The road going out from the barrio is full of bushes and small trees on each side and ditches on each side, half and half of us jump in each ditch and prepared ourselves to shoot when the Japanese soldiers will pass by. Few minutes later, here the Japanese two trucks were coming. One truck was full of sacks of rice, animals, such as, live chickens and pigs and the other truck was full of Japanese soldiers. When they were very close to us, our Commander ordered us to fire, we started firing. As my weapon was a Thompson with a long cartridge, I started firing. I really do not know if I hit somebody or not, but I think I did, because my cartridge was almost empty. When the commotion settled down, there was one Japanese soldier and their Lieutenant were still alive, Our Commander pick four of us to capture the soldier and the Lieutenant, and bring them with us. We were very in hurry, because we know that another squadron of Japanese soldiers will be coming to investigate and  confront us. We told one of the barrio people to notify the whole barrio to stay away from the barrio the Japanese might hurt them. Yes, a convoy of Japanese soldiers came and found nobody in the barrio.

        We took with us the two Japanese we captured. My companions started torturing them. The Lieutenant was the first one to be tortured. One of us cut his penis and the others got two tamed Water Buffaloes(Carabao). They tied one buffalo to one of his feet and the other buffalo to the other. Then they bit the buffaloes at the same time, the Japanese officer was rip into two. I was stunned and devastated of what they did to him. Up to the present time I am still being bothered by it especially when I go to bed at night, lots of old memories are coming in my mind and I can’t hardly sleep. More so, when they started torturing the other Japanese soldier. They killed him very slowly. They cut his two ears and cut also his penis and let him chew it, and finally they shot him in the head. This is  the most violent incident I witness and will never forget it through out my life. In one way I think that was the equivalent punishment they deserved for what they did to the innocent women that were victimized by them and to the barrio people for ransacking their houses as a whole.

        As the Japanese were eating anything the Filipinos eat, our supply from the barrio people was getting very low and was not sufficient enough to maintain us in the jungle. Because of this, we were being force to find a way to sustain our daily needs. What we did was to hunt edible animals, such as : Monkeys, Snakes, Wild pigs, Big Lizards, deer’s, fish, sugar cane rats, bats and many more that are edible to eat. We were also digging root crops like Yams, Gabis and Apong-Apong that grows in the forest and cutting sugar canes to chew for our sugar. Of all these foods, my favorite to eat was the Big Lizard and big Snakes. They taste like chicken. Meat of the Monkey was also one of our delicacy. They taste like rabbits. One thing I learn was how to catch a monkey. When we want to eat monkey, we will get a bottle with a narrow neck and mouth. I will tie the bottle with a wire or a piece of durable and strong string and tied it to one of the branches of a tree and put some food in it. Once the monkey will see the bottle with food inside it, it will do anything in order to get the food in the bottle. It will insert its hand in the mouth of the bottle and try to get the food. Then it will hold the food in its hand and will never release or open its hand to free itself whatever happens. It will jump and jumps and start making lots of noise, when I hear the noise, I know that I got a monkey to eat. However, our problems was that the Japanese was doing also what we were doing. Sometimes there was an encounter between us in the mountain. When there was an encounter like this, we always try to avoid them as much as possible, because they were more superior to us. They have lots of ammunitions and complete weapons and they were plenty of them.

        Be-heading Execution by the Japanese: As the Japanese government have establish an army called (Philippine Constabulary forces) manned by Filipinos at that time, these constabulary were our number one enemies and the public also hate them as well. They were much stricter and cruel to the civilians. Because they were also Filipinos, they were more knowledgeable about the activities of the Filipino civilians. One day in a little town of Pangasinan, the Filipino constabulary caught one of us, and they turn him in to the Japanese Garrison. The Japanese started gathering the civilians in front of a church. The civilians cannot refuse whether they like it or not, they were being force to see and witness the BEHEADING EXECUTION. The purpose of this was to scare and to discipline the public to follow and obey their system of governing. Once there were enough people gathered, it so happen some of us were allowed by our commander to mix ourselves with the people and I was one of them. A moment later, a Japanese truck park in front of the church, there a man who was one of us was blindfolded and tied in both hands being escorted by two Japanese. One of the Japanese was the executioner with a long sharp Japanese sword. They let him kneel in front of the public and the executioner pulled out his long sharp white sword and swings it to the back head of the man. His head was separated from his body and the body stood and move approximately 2 or 3 yards before it collapse. The public shouted and cried and I was devastated and cried also and prayed for the man. This was one of the cruelties of the Japanese did when they occupied the Philippines for more or less 5 years.

        One day while we were resting in the forest, the Voice of America radio station was broadcasting, that the American Arm Forces were already landing in Leyete, which is in the Visayan Islands southern part of the Philippines, this is the reason why the Japanese started becoming uneasy, because their Air Planes started to fly and roam around the sky. Later, we received an information from barrio people that the Japanese are already preparing to move somewhere. Some of them move to the Baguio Mountains and some move toward Manila. After a week, Voice of America was broadcasting again that a part of the American landing forces were already landing in the Lingayen Gulf a part of Pangasinan province where we were. We prepared ourselves to move to their route of confronting the Japanese. The landing forces move slowly with tanks followed by long convoys. Fortunately, there was no encounter or incident happens, because the Japanese were gone to the mountains. When the convoys were coming, our Flag bearer climbs atop of a coconut tree waving the American flag, so that the incoming convoys will recognize us. Everybody of us was happy and excited and met the landing forces without any incident. We shook hands with some of them and started talking about the war. The convoys did not stop longer and they  kept moving toward Manila. So I took advantage of that, and I talk to one of the American soldiers that I want to ride with him in the truck he was riding and be drop off in San Fernando, Pampanga. I told him I was sick and want to see my family in Pampanga. Fortunately, he said absolutely yes. So, I gave my weapon to my platoon leader and climb on the truck with my new American friend. As I indicated in my Autobiography there was no incident or confrontation between Americans and Japanese during our trip.

        After a month, I learn that Gen. Yamashita, the Japanese Commander in the Pacific at that time, surrendered in the Baguio Mountains.

        As the Philippines is composed of more than thousand Islands, some of the Japanese soldiers who ran and hide to the mountains of these Islands were still being found after 5 to 6 years after the war. They don’t even know that the war was over. They Developed and cultivated little plantation in the mountains and raised animals to sustain their livelihood. The Philippine government sent them back to Japan.

        A piece of note to the readers and especially to my wonderful and loving family, this was my humble life I narrated in my Autobiography and my life during the Japanese occupation, to share with you, and I wish and pray to our Almighty Lord that you will always remember me when I will bid you all Good Bye --- - - I will be 80 years old on July l4, 2006. Bye - - - - - - -     

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