Diary of Victor Buencamino

February 17, 1942

Received regards from Mary. She is in Cabiao. Those who evacuated to the provinces had a harder time than those who stayed in Manila. The city was the safest place.

Mr. Takamia, Japanese agriculturist, co-worker of Mr. Abe at Mrs. Quezon’s farm in Arayat, was sent by the Japanese authorities to Legaspi and Naga together with three of our own men to handle rice sales and perhaps the purchase of palay. Mr. Takamia informed me that only part of Mrs. Quezon’s harvest was stolen. Called Mr. Nakashima’s attention to the great number of our personnel. He ordered that we continue with the personnel until further orders from the Army. Railroad traffic between San Fernando and Manila has been reopened today. That means Manila’s supply of rice will be increased. Since the Occupation to the present date, Manilans have been fed on the rice stocks in our bodegas. The rations may not have been enough, but at least it was equitably distributed. And still there are people who are angry at me for [not?] having thrown open the doors of our bodegas before the Japanese entered the city!

People are talking about the fall of Singapore. It was most unexpected. Many believed it would hold longer than Corregidor. How long will our own boys stand? Maybe if they receive reinforcements, if the convoy…  It’s all ‘if.’

Life is a big IF.

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