Bacolod Internment Camp, Negros

Bacolod Internment Camp established on June 5, 1942 in Bacolod North Elementary School, in Bacolod City, on Negros. Harvey C. Pope elected as “contact man” to the Japanese and Arthur W. Woods elected as assistant. The camp has about 140 internees within the first three months.

According to Elizabeth Vaughan, in her book, Community Under Stress, the camp eventually had 86 Americans, 39 British, 4 Dutch, 10 Filippinos, 4 Spanish and 5 Italians, for a total of 148 internees.

Drawing of Bacolod Internment Camp in "Community Under Stress, page 37

Drawing of Bacolod Internment Camp in “Community Under Stress,” page 37

Eating and cooking arrangements were extremely haphazard to begin with.  The great outdoors was their dining room and the earth their table until a cement building was turned over for their use as kitchen and mess hall.  The Swiss Family Robinson at least had a breadfruit tree, but the internees’ only resource was the bounty of their cooks.  Small wonder therefore that they attached much value to the work of Vera Harbort, the chief chef, who with a gang of helpers did all the cooking for the odd one hundred and forty prisoners for the first three months.  At first they had to cook on open fires, with school furniture as fuel; later, alcohol and stoves from the sugar centrals made the culinary task easier.  Mrs. Jardeleza succeeded Mrs. Harbort as cook and, when she was released from Camp, Martha Bullert took on the job for the duration.

From Santo Tomas Internment Camp, by F. H. Stevens

On March 2, 1943, 119 internees are transported to Santo Tomás Internment Camp (STIC), arriving there about March 10th.

Negros Island, Philippines, showing camps at Bacolod and Iloilo

Negros Island, Philippines, showing camps at Bacolod and Iloilo (map courtesy of Google Maps)

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3 thoughts on “Bacolod Internment Camp, Negros

  1. I was a child in Bacolod in one of the mini-Internment Camp with my brothers, sisters, uncle, and parents. The Japanese used these camps to protect the Kimpetai, Officers Quarters, Communication Center, Barracks, motor depot,etc
    from American Bombers. There were a few of these camps strategically position in Bacolod. We know how the Japanese treated the prisoners. Bacolod, we know well.

  2. Hi – Both my parents were interned there for about three months from the beginning of the war. There is at least one full page, if not more, about them in Elizabeth Vaughan’s book about the Bacolod Internment Camp. Do you know where one can find a copy of this book?

    • Hi, Carol, thanks for your message. I assume that you are looking for “The Ordeal of Elizabeth Vaughan.” You can purchase used copies of this book from or for under $10 USD, not including shipping. You can also try to borrow it via inter-library loan from your local public library and I found an entry for it as being in the Auckland Central City Library. There might be a small charge for this. Fortunately, I have a used copy of this work that I would be happy to check for your parents, if you send me their names, since the book does have a good index.

      There are also two other books by Ms. Vaughan that you might be interested in, one of which I own. I would also be happy to check for any information that they might have regarding your parents.

      Best regards, Cliff

      • The Ordeal of Elizabeth Vaughan: A Wartime Diary of the Philippines, 1985, edited by Carol M. Petillo. [I own this]
      • A Japanese Internment Camp : A sociological study of Bacolod Camp, Negros Island, Philippines, 1947, Elizabeth Vaughan
      • Community Under Stress; An Internment Camp Culture, 1949, Elizabeth Head Vaughan. [I own this]

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