Diary of Juan Labrador, O.P.

December 8, 1942

We have completed one year of war. Even the pessimistic estimate that the war would not last another ten months, and the optimists are not expecting that peace would settle on these islands in 1943. Only the fanatics are predicting the return of peace by the 15th of the month.

The new masters wanted the public to participate in the festivities at the Luneta, and they had succeeded in doing it. The newspapers placed the number of participants at a hundred thousand in the civil parade and a similar number of spectators. It showed beyond doubt that the public responded to the call of the authorities, spontaneously or otherwise. Government employees and those in Japanese-controlled firms may not have shown enthusiasm, but certainly there was a healthy respect for those at the top. Everyone was resigned to answering “Present!” when his name was called from a list. The Chinese were very enthusiastic, participating with their musical band and a 20-meter dragon in a funeral rejoicing.

The streets were very animated. Streetcars and buses offered free rides to the public. Movie houses which showed Japanese war victories also admitted the public free of charge. Due to this liberalism, an unusual stir, interpreted as an expression of popular rejoicing, could be felt in the city.