Diary of Juan Labrador, O.P.

September 28, 1944

One week has passed since the raid over the city, and the people are still talking about it, relating numerous surprises of that spectacle which had convinced even the most incredulous that the Americans were indeed coming and winning.

The intrepidity of the American pilots was convincing, as they dived through the curtain of anti-aircraft shells. We thought that they would stay up beyond the reach of anti-aircraft fire and from there drop their bombs as did the Japanese bombers three years ago. We were surprised to see how they attacked almost overhead. Those who used to underestimate the Americans because of the little fighting they did at the beginning of the war are seeing that these Yankees also knew how to risk their lives.

The American pilots exhibited accuracy, hitting their targets with surprising precision. They dived straight towards the target and dropped their bombs right where they wanted them to fall. The anti-aircraft battery installed at the constabulary building was bombed and blown to pieces, killing the nine Japanese and three Filipinos who manned it, and also causing a big fire in Binondo. These proved that the rumor claiming that the Americans dropped their bombs at random are empty words and the Japanese dare not disseminate such propaganda in Manila although Tokyo continued to do so.

During the raids, the Imperial air force was conspicuously absent. Dog fights were very rare. There was one during the first day when some Japanese planes were in the air not knowing what was above the clouds and would therefore be caught unaware. All through, the invaders dominated the air. The savage eagles of the Empire stayed on the ground where they were roasted like sleeping ants.

Because of these experiences, the Manilans have lost their fear of air raids and they no longer tremble at the thought that they would be repeated. Rather, they look forward to them as preludes to an early liberation. They fear the anti-aircraft shells more than they do the bombs. And where it not for the Japanese anti-aircraft shells, the people would have been out in the streets to enjoy the sight.