Diary of Juan Labrador, O.P.

March 13, 1942

The Oriental mentality does not recognize a straight line. He never goes direct to his objective. He seems to desire one thing, but goes about achieving another. He aims at the south and his target is in the east. He is fond of beating about the bush and is unable to call a spade a spade.

A few days ago, the newspapers published a notice that all relatives or friends of Filipino soldiers fighting in Bataan or Corregidor are allowed to write to them without signing their full names and to send the letters by mail. The Japanese Army would see to it that all the letters were delivered. Nobody went for the trick, since everybody suspected some hidden intentions.

The press yesterday came up with another announcement, stating that in view of the success of the first operation which succeeded beyond all expectations, the Japanese Army would send another batch of letters from those who wanted to write to their relatives and friends on the other side of the battlefield.

The military authorities must have found out that such communications in writing have been going on right under their noses. Filipino officers and soldiers have been going back and forth under all pretenses. They would disembark at Cavite or Bulacan, go about the city for a few days, and return to the front in fishermen’s boats. There are many fishermen who are former soldiers, and are willing to transport messengers. Some of the fishermen, however, were caught by the Japanese.

To put an end to these smuggled communications, the Japanese High Command issued a warning that they would fire at any boat found at the Bay. Searchlights would take care of spotting all nocturnal escapades.

I boarded an almost empty streetcar last night. The conductor refused to accept my fare. Many others, similarly took their rides free.