Diary of Victor Buencamino

June 3, 1942

Military parade held in Manila yesterday. Lt. Gen. Homma reviewed his victorious Japanese forces. The newspapers say there were many onlookers. It was not so. There were very few and the majority were forced to attend the parade. The people did not applaud the troops. There was none of the usual fanfare and cheers from the crowd. Men, women and even children looked grimly, sadly. I kept thinking of the last line of Zulueta’s prize-winning essay during the Commonwealth regime: “And gods will walk on brown legs.” Were these the gods—these men that tramped in their ugly shoes and drab uniforms? There was something about the way they marched, a sort of automatic shoving of the feet forward, their bodies swaying to the left and right, just forging on and on, wearily, doggedly, fanatically…

I felt cold, like awaking from a nightmare.