Diary of Juan Labrador, O.P.

May 24, 1942

I came down from Baguio yesterday. The trip was extremely unpleasant. The sentries at the twelve police checkpoints were trying to outdo each other in officiousness. The lack of vehicles and the difficulty of obtaining fuel made matters worse. Things are returning to normalcy although people have gone back to the towns which are starting to show signs of movement, but not of improvement.

At Villasis, a soldier boarded our car and ordered us to take him to Rosales, eight kilometers out of our way. The soldier told a Japanese civilian who was with us that he was delivering a message about the danger of an imminent attack on Rosales and nearby towns. It was a relief to hear such news. On our return trip, we were intercepted by three soldiers who boarded our car. Seven of us in our four-passenger car. I can not figure out how we manged to pack ourselves in. Well, of course, my legs were numb for a long time after that.

We saw big numbers of Japanese soldiers in many towns, and met trucks loaded with American prisoners who were being transported to places of work. We arrived in Manila after nine hours—in time to attend the inauguration of an improvised chapel in the University of Santo Tomas in Intramuros where the members of the Santo Domingo community have transferred.