The Brandenburg 300 Project
Mother, Civic Leader,
Mrs. Paulina Morales was one of the most wanted guerillas by the Japanese
Army occupying the Philippines during World War II, with the highest price on
her head if captured or killed. We don’t know why, but it wasn’t for her cooking skills.
She knew knives, and must have been fierce and
Morales Family History
Paulina and Clemente Morales, Sr. got
married and left the Philippines for work at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. The year was 1926. Calvin Coolidge was
President, and the wounds of World War I were still healing.
Later they moved to Paso Robles, California to work as a
busboy and maid. Clem Sr., though, had studied accounting in college in the
Philippines, got promoted, and eventually became a successful labor contractor
with a camp in Chualar, near Salinas. Fifty to eighty Filipino immigrants lived
in the camp and Paulina Morales cooked for all of them. Later the camp moved to
a farmhouse right on the ranch, where Clem drove the car into a ditch while
learning to drive, and got it out with a tractor he already knew how to handle.
Mom went to Salinas to have her baby, and Clem Jr. was born
on Dr. Jose Rizal Day, December 30, 1931. Dr. Rizal is the most distinguished,
accomplished, and famous of the Philippines’ political heroes, and he was
executed on December 30, 1896 by the Spanish for pursuing independence from
Spain and dignity for all Philippine citizens.
Clem and his family later had a dry cleaning business in
Chinatown, across the street from a photographer.
July 4, 1938
Morales Opens Dry Cleaning Establishment
Hoping to gain the patronage
of her countrymen, Mrs. Paulina Morales, charming wife of a prominent contactor
here, opened Saturday her dry cleaning establishment under the name of MANILA
CLEANERS, 104 Lake Street.
Mrs. Morales said that she
will fully equip her establishment to meet all requirements of a dry cleaning
business. Before the grand opening she made it understood that service and
reasonable prices will be her watchword.
The business will be under
the direct supervision of Mrs. Morales, who is certain she can invite the
patronage of the big and little camps in Salinas Valley.
Clem’s family went to Chinatown frequently, as did most of
the brown-skinned community. Clem says:
“No place else for ethnic groups to
go. No place.”
When Clem was a child, he and his Mom went to visit family
and friends in Hong Kong, with plans to buy some land and start a business. The
plan was to stay there until Clem was ready to go to Salinas High School. The
Japanese cruise ship stopped in Hawaii, Kobe, and Tokyo—where they stayed at
the Imperial palace Hotel—before going on to the Philippines. They established
a plantation growing abaca and other fiber crops in the Kidapawaan part of
Mindanao in the southern part of the Philippines.
Social Leader Leaves For Philippines
Page 5, July 29, 1940;
C. C. MORALES, well known civic and social leader among Filipinos in Salinas
Valley, left for the Philippines on board the S. S. Tatsuta Maru which lifted anchor in San Francisco Saturday
morning, July 20. With her is her son, Clemente, Jr.
her sailing, MRS. MORALES expressed her regret she could not see the Colmo del
Rodeo pageantry in which a Filipino float was entered. She devoted much of her
time in helping the community raise the fund necessary for making of the
artistic float. On July 18, a farewell party was tendered in her honor by
members of the Shangri-La. This party was initiated by Mr. And Mrs. M. R.
Galicia. Songs and speeches featured the after-dinner program held under the
Arellano acted as the impromptu toastmaster and called on the following:
Frances La Verne sang "[You Are My] Sunshine," little Lily Malvas
sang that Kundiman "Pacing." Helen Filomero gave another vocal solo,
and the speeches of Mrs. B. R. Sampayan, and Mr. Galicia who all wished MRS.
MORALES and her son a bon voyage.
the evening of July 17, the Filipino Women's Club gave a party in her honor at
the Community Centre.
days ago, M. G. Collado sent a cablegram to MRS. MORALES wishing her a pleasant
trip on behalf of the community.
The year was 1940. A little over a year later the Japanese
attacked Pearl Harbor, and ten hours later the Philippines. No more boats left
the Philippines for the United States. Clem and his Mom were separated and
Paulina joined the guerillas in Mindanao, an area that the
Spanish, Japanese, Americans, and the current independent Philippines
governments have never conquered. Clem was sent by oxcart to relatives in the
northern provinces around Llocos Norte. They enrolled him at boarding school in
the walled city of Intramuros.
Clem would have no communication with his mother or
father for almost six years.
Clemente Morales, Jr.
Missing in Philippines
Clem witnessed the Bataan Death March as a child when it
passed near Manila. The Japanese soldiers warned the children, “Don’t give
anything to them; don’t talk to them.”
Clem was twelve to thirteen years old; his mother was maybe alive, maybe
dead; and his Dad was worried sick 7,500 miles away.
Among the American prisoners on the Death March were
ninety-nine soldiers from Company C, 194th Tank Battalion of the Salinas and
Pajaro Valleys. Fifty perished on the death march and subsequent events. Among
the survivors was Frank Muther, a dairy farmer. He remembered both the cruelty,
and the surreptitious sharing of food by some of the guards. Not a bitter man,
when the Japanese Americans returned to the Salinas area John Muther was very
supportive, and helped them out in a variety of ways.
Life wasn’t bad for Clem at the boarding school or with
his relatives during the war. He went barefoot and wore a T-shirt, and went
fishing a lot. The Japanese never asked whether he was American. In his new
hometown they were required to bow to the Japanese guards. It was a small town,
only about fifteen soldiers, but the Japanese guards ran it with an iron hand.
The school became Japanese, and he learned in Japanese. In his recent oral
history, Clem sang the Japanese National Anthem they were required to sing
seventy-one years ago at the school. Getting slapped around for saying the
wrong thing was commonplace. He also saw a few beheadings, including one of a
Six Years of No News: MacArthur Returns and One Filipino
American Soldier has a Message to Clem from his Father
7,000 Soldiers, 1,000 Special Forces Pioneers
Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor and invasion of the
Philippines, the1st Filipino Regiment began forming in March 1942, and was
seven thousand men strong by May. The 2nd Regiment formed in November of 1942
at Fort Ord. They mustered across the fence from the “Assembly Center” [prison]
where their Japanese American friends and neighbors were being held before
being shipped to the internment camps starting in May 1942.
Some of the Filipino soldiers were married to Japanese women
who, along with their children, were assembled and then sent to internment
General MacArthur immediately started selecting soldiers
from the regiments for guerilla and covert work throughout the Pacific Theatre,
especially in the Philippines.
Some were sent to join the Alamo Scouts, or the 5217th Recon
Battalion (Sixth U.S. Army). The
Filipino Americans assigned to the various Special Operations teams in the
Pacific contributed to the eventual formation of Special Operations as we know
it today, such as the Seal Team 6 that got Osama Bin Laden.
“Mr. Morales approached Alex de Leon Fabros who was with the
1st Filipino Infantry Regiment to find out the status of his family, if he
could. I am not sure which PCAU (Philippines Civil Affairs Unit) located Clem
Morales but all of the PCAUs had been briefed regarding the Morales family
After 5 years—an eternity for boy turning teenager—Clem saw
American planes in the sky, and soon the Philippine Civil Affairs Units Teams
1–8 joined the forces led by General MacArthur in his invasion of the northern
part of the Philippines. One of the soldiers found Clem and gave him a note
from his Dad. It was his first contact in six years with either parent, and his
voice still cracks with emotion when he tells the story. He had just started
While we don’t know what Paulina Morales, Clem’s Mom, did
in combat, we do know that after the war was over General Selapiba Pendatum,
soon to be Governor of Mindanao after Independence, arranged for a Mustang
fighter plane to take her to see Clem, and then a week later for a C47 to pick
him up. Clem remembers being given a Coca-Cola that tasted real, real good.
I take these words of General Douglas MacArthur shortly
after his triumphant return to the Philippines as representative of what
Paulina Morales might have done.
to the Philippine Guerrillas
As our forces of liberation roll
forward the splendid aid we are receiving from guerrilla units throughout the
immediate objective area and adjacent islands causes me at this time to pay
public tribute to those great patriots both Filipino and American who had led
and supported the resistance movement in the Philippines since the dark days of
1942. These inadequately armed patriots have fought the enemy for more than two
years. Most are Filipinos but among these are a number of Americans who never
surrendered, who escaped from prison camps, or who were sent in to carry out
Following the disaster which, in
the face of overwhelming superior enemy power, overtook our gallant forces, a
deep and impenetrable silence engulfed the Philippines. Through that silence no
news concerning the fate of the Filipino people reached the outside world until
broken by a weak signal from a radio set on the Island of Panay which was
picked up, in the late fall of that same fateful year, by listening posts of
the War Department and flashed to my Headquarters. That signal, weak and short
as it was, lifted the curtain of silence and uncertainty and disclosed the
start of a human drama with few parallels in military history.
In it I recognized the
spontaneous movement of the Filipino people to resist the shackles with which
the enemy sought to bind them both physically and spiritually. I saw a people
in one of the most tragic hours of human history, bereft of all reason for hope
and without material support, endeavoring, despite the stern realities
confronting them, to hold aloft the flaming torch of liberty. I gave this
movement all spiritual and material support that my limited resources would
Through the understanding
assistance of our Navy I was able to send in by submarine, in driblets at
first, arms, ammunition and medical supplies. News of the first such shipment
spread rapidly throughout the Philippines to electrify the people into full
returning consciousness that Americans had neither abandoned them nor forgotten
Since then, as resources
increased, I was enabled, after formalizing the guerrilla forces by their
recognition and incorporation as units of our Army, to send vitally needed
supplies in ever increasing quantities through Philippine coastal contacts by
four submarines finally committed exclusively to that purpose.
I would that at this time I might
name the gallant heroes of this epic in Philippine-American history, but
considerations of security for the individuals, their families and the cause
require that I limit myself to a generalization of their work and a statement
of their brilliant achievements.
Of the latter I need but point
out that for the purposes of this campaign we are materially aided by strong,
battle tested forces in nearly every Philippine community, alerted to strike
violent blows against the enemy's rear as our lines of battle move forward and
that now are providing countless large areas adjacent to military objectives into
which our airmen may drop with assurance of immediate rescue and protection. We
are aided by the militant loyalty of a whole people—a people who have rallied
as one behind the standards of those stalwart patriots who, reduced to wretched
material conditions yet sustained by an unconquerable spirit, have formed an
invincible center to a resolute over-all resistance.
We are aided by the fact that for
many months our plans of campaign have benefited from the hazardous labor of a
vast network of agents numbering into the hundreds of thousands providing
precise, accurate and detailed information on major enemy moves and
installations throughout the Philippine Archipelago. We are aided by the fact
that through a vast network of radio positions extending into every center of
enemy activity and concentration throughout the islands, I have been kept in
immediate and constant communication with such widespread sources of
information. We are aided by the fact that on every major island of the
Philippines there are one or more completely equipped and staffed weather
observatories which flash to my Headquarters full weather data morning,
afternoon and night of every day and which in turn provides the basis for
reliable weather forecasts to facilitate and secure the implementation of our
operational plans. Widely disseminated to our forces throughout the Pacific and
in China the information from this weather system has materially aided our
military operations over a large section of the world's surface.
We are aided by an air warning
system affording visual observation of the air over nearly every square foot of
Philippine soil established for the purpose of flashing immediate warning of
enemy aircraft movement through that same vast network of radio communications.
We are aided by provision of all inland waterways and coastal areas of complete
observation over enemy naval movement to give immediate target information to
our submarines on patrol in or near Philippine waters. This information has
contributed to the sinking of enemy shipping of enormous tonnage, and through
such same facilities was flashed the warning to our naval forces of the enemy
naval concentration off the western Philippines during the Marianas operation.
Finally we are aided by the
interior vigilance that has secured for our military use countless enemy
documents of great value, among which were the secret defensive plans and
instructions of the Commander-in-Chief of the combined Japanese areas and
complete information on the strength and dispositions of enemy fleet and naval
air units. That same Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Japanese Fleets was a
prisoner of one of our guerrilla units prior to his death from injuries
sustained in an air crash.
All of these vital aids to our
military operations, and there are many more still unmentioned, are responsive
to the indomitable courage of the military and civil leaders whom I shall in
future name and their loyal followers both Filipino and American; to gallant
Filipinos, residents of the United States, who have volunteered to infiltrate
into the islands in succor of their countrymen and Americans who have
infiltrated with them; and finally to the militant loyalty and unconquerable
spirit of the masses of the Filipino people.
As Commander-in-Chief of the forces
of liberation I publicly acknowledge and pay tribute to the great spiritual
power that has made possible these notable and glorious
achievements—achievements which find few counterparts in military history.
Those great patriots, Filipino and American, both living and dead, upon whose
valiant shoulders has rested the leadership and responsibility for the
indomitable movement in the past critical period, shall, when their identities
can be known, find a lasting place on the scroll of heroes of both nations-heroes
who have selflessly and defiantly subordinated all to the cause of human
liberty. Their names and their deeds shall ever be enshrined in the hearts of
our two peoples in whose darkest hours they have waged relentless war against
the forces of evil that sought, through ruthless brutality, the enslavement of
the Filipino people.
To those great patriots to whom I
now pay public tribute I say stand to your battle stations and relax not your
vigilance until our forces shall have swept forward to relieve you.
All of these articles from The Filipino American Experience Research Project ©
October 3, 1998. From the archives of Alex Fabros.
Paulina Morales was decorated by General Pendatum and
given a ceremonial sword that Clem still has.
It took about six months to get all necessary papers and
arrange transportation back to the United States on a military transport. Clem
shined shoes, made a little money, and drank a lot of Coke.
The children being transported travelled with the navy
nurses, but Clem was too old, so he became the only kid bunking with these
battle-hardened GI’s who were finally going home. He loved it.
Paulina Morales And Son Return After Spending Six Years In Philippines
Philippines Star Press
April 20, 1946, Page 1
MORALES, former dynamic president of the Filipino Women’s Club of Salinas
Valley and wife of CLEMENTE MORALES, Sr., popular contractor, returned to this
city with her son, Clemente Jr., after almost six years in the Philippines.
MRS. MORALES and her son
went back to the Philippines in July, 1940. While in the Philippines, she went
to Cotobato, Mindanao, where she was interested in the abaca industry. Because
of her enthusiasm of this particular industry plus her interest in the
promising new Ramie crop, raw materials for rayon silk, MRS. MORALES bought a
homestead where she built a modern house, patterned to an American home.
Before the war Clemente,
Jr., was studying in Manila while his mother was supervising her homestead in
Cotobato. When the war broke out in the islands, the mother and son were
separated. MRS. MORALES implies that as a mother, she never lost any hope of
meeting sooner or later Junior, although she stayed in the evacuation camp in
Cotobato from May 5, 1942 until May 15, 1945 when the 116th Regiment, U. S.
Army, liberated the camp.
The authorities of the
Military government saw in MRS. MORALES a leadership, one that could be
depended upon. As such she was offered the post of a Mayor, but she refused
because she was more concerned about her son than personal glory.
MRS. MORALES took a plane to
Laonag, Iloscos Norte, where she proceeded to her home town, Salsons. There she
met her son in the company of her father-in-law, MRS. MORALES said that she wanted
to join her husband here with her son. "That is why we are here again, in
this prosperous town," she remarked.
Community Honors Filipino Veterans With A Banquet And Ball: MRS. PAULINA
MORALES who just arrived from the Philippines tells audience of urgent need of
the Filipino people for clothes.
Philippines Star Press
April 20, 1946, Section One, Page 7
SALINAS—With Atty. Anthony
Brazil, District Attorney of Monterey County, as guest speaker, the Filipino
Community of Salinas Valley tendered a banquet and ball in honor of the
Filipino veterans at the Army Hall on March 30th. There were about 400 guests
at the affair. Mr. Brazil declared that justice is for everybody regardless of
race, color and religion. He paid tribute to the veterans of this war and those
who gave their lives so that others may live in the way they want to be.
After a delicious dinner was
served, a very entertaining program followed of which Pantaleon Espejo, vice
president, served as the master of ceremonies. Rev. Robert Crichton gave the
invocation. Dolores Catalla, violinist and a high school student, captured the
heart of her audience with her sweet voice when she gave a vocal solo. Miss
Pacita Tod also received a tremendous applause when she gave a vocal solo,
accompanied at the piano by Madame Turgue. Manuel Luz, president, gave a remark
emphasizing the need of cooperation. Mrs. Estela Sulit of San Francisco gave a
speech exalting the deed of the Filipino veterans.
PAULINA MORALES who just arrived from the Philippines also made a speech
emphasizing the urgent need of the Filipino people for clothes. After the
program, a scroll of honor was given to each veteran by the Filipino community.
Misses Gloria Abarquez and Gertrude Baguio handed the scrolls to the veterans.
The rest of the evening was spent in dancing.
Clem and his Mom returned to Salinas. Clem started at
Salinas High School, and despite being the smallest kid on the team at four
feet ten inches, they won the championship every year he was there. He picked
lettuce in the summer with the Mexican laborers. Mom was still the cook, and
served a hot breakfast early before work, and a hot lunch to everyone, every
day in the fields.
Clem enjoyed the Philippine Traditional Folk Dancing
ensemble and dance bands Paulina organized with Herb Miller. He was on two floats,
one with a biplane on it, that were part of the Rodeo. He wore a cowboy outfit.
Clem joined the U.S. Air Force to fight the Korean War,
but ended up stationed in Hawaii. He came back to Salinas in 1954 to join the family produce
business, but not too much later got the job at the Salinas Valley Bowl that
lead to his career with Saudi Arabian Airlines.
While with Saudi Arabian Airlines, he’d go once a month to
Hong Kong to buy music and music equipment. He bought vintage Macintosh and the
first CD player—the CDX101. There were only two CDs available at the time—the
Beatles and Elvis Presley.
Clem managed a facility in Dahran, Saudi Arabia and was
there during the first Gulf War. He had people from Thailand, Pakistan, the
Philippines, Korea, Britain, and Saudi Arabia working for him.
He saw many beheadings under Sharia law. People were
forced to witness these events to improve their deterrent value. He thought
them more humane than those he witnessed in World War II because the prisoners
were drugged before the executioner’s sword fell.
After the War
Were Paulina’s covert guerilla
skills useful in PTA meetings? By all accounts she was a very loving, warm
mother who worked tirelessly to provide opportunity for all her kids and their
friends. Often the head of community groups and clubs, she lead them with
friendliness and diplomacy. There is no hint of the frequently bloodied
guerilla warrior other than this hint at her drive from a comment by Clem’s
good friend Jerry Sun:
“She had the stamina of 10 people,
constantly organizing youth groups…Folk dancing troupe, dance band, orchestra,
drum and bugle corps—she had them in costumes or tuxedoes travelling all over
California from the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles to the St. Francis in San
Francisco. They were in every parade, especially the ones associated with the
Other than son Clem, Jerry Sun is Paulina Morales biggest
“When you talk about someone who
makes a difference, she made a difference in my life.”
Clem says, “She’s a hero…To think I was involved with
her…” Clem was seventy-eight when interviewed for the California State
University Monterey Bay oral history program. Paulina was in her sixties when
she passed away.