Diary of Juan Labrador, O.P.

September 17, 1944

Immediately after the all clear signal, rumors spread like wildfire, that Lipa, Tarlac, and Vigan were bombed and that the Americans have landed in Davao, Basilan, next to Zamboanga, or in Batanes; that three American Fleets are in the southern, eastern and northern approaches to the Philippines, each of which is supposed to be much more powerful than the whole Japanese Navy. Other similar rumors are circulating. The Official communique, however, announced that there are air raids over Mindanao and the Visayas, presently being extended to Legazpi and Ligao in Albay where the American planes are deliberately bombing non-strategic persons and places.

American landings have been made in the Palau islands and in Morotai of the Celebes group, east and south of Mindanao. The only resistance encountered were the Japanese garrisons on land. The Japanese air force no longer dare to meet the American pilots. And the Americans are advancing in giant leaps from island to island, from coast to coast. With what interest we followed these movements, and with what avidity we analyze the maps—we are learning our geography—to calculate the month and the date on which the old masters would return! However, those who are impatient are becoming desperate in the face of the cautiously slow pace of the advance, as they were worried about the countermoves. Meanwhile, imminent hunger is driving the people to despair.

We are running short of all things, especially food. A cavan of rice costs three thousand five hundred pesos; a kilo of meat, at a peso each; camote at twenty five pesos a kilo; and Baguio beans at one hundred pesos a kilo. At these stratospheric prices, what will the daily wage earner and the employees buy with their six or ten pesos a day?