Diary of Juan Labrador, O.P.

May 4, 1943

Parades and meetings are a common sight at the Luneta. In less than a month’s time, eight gatherings and parades had been held with compulsory attendance before the monument of Rizal. These celebrations are held for any reason whatsoever, and they prove to be more burdensome than ordinary working days because people have to march through the parades.

The forthcoming holiday which will be a three-day vacation will be celebrated in memory of the fall of Corregidor and to give thanks for the permanent defeat of the Americans. As usual, the occasion will be celebrated to the beat and accompaniment of parade marches. There is a rumor that the celebration will be a welcome ceremony for an illustrious personage who will visit us, probably Minister Aoki. To our surprise, it was announced by a lead team that the visitor was General Tojo himself, the Prime Minister and Chief of State. The announcer, equipped with a powerful loudspeaker, blared out instructions to the multitude along Taft Avenue from Vito Cruz to Manila Hotel, on how to make the bow when the Premier should pass, and to wave the flags and shout Banzai.

Speculations ran high on what the purpose of the sudden visit could be. The people, however, due to the sacrifice they had to undergo standing in the heat of the sun, felt contempt rather than enthusiasm.