Diary of Felipe Buencamino III

September 30, 1944

Went to the Jai Alai. It will be open only on Sundays. Lost thirty pesos betting on Elizondo and Arana. I dislike the game and the players that go into histrionics and cry to the high heavens everytime they miss a shot. There were a lot of people and many of them were drinking and talking about the recent bombing of Manila. That surprise raid seems to be the only topic these days and the question is still “When will they commence landing operations?”

Went to Tommy Lichauco’s home yesterday. The Navy has sealed his house and they gave him twenty-four hours to vacate it. “We need the tower of your house,” they explained, “for strategic reasons”.

I accompanied Tommy to Deputy Governor Figueras at the City Hall. Figueras told him that the Navy was not authorized to take such an act. “That is not in accordance with our agreement,” said the deputy military governor.

Figueras called the Naval Attaché, a certain Miyasaki, who spoke Spanish well, having stayed in Argentina for quite a time. The Naval Attaché said that he told Tommy that the Navy needed his house in “a week or so or more”. Tommy denied it flatly and the Attaché began to stammer and Figueras said that the procedure would be corrected. The Vice-governor promised to assist Tommy.

Ate lunch today at the Gastronome. It was a poor meal and the bill was very high. Crame joined my table and he said that the Japanese are also taking his house. He was very enthusiastic about the bombing and he admired the bravery of the American aviators. “You should have sen how low they flew and how they dove to their objectives” he said.

Played basketball this afternoon but couldn’t stand one quarter because of the whiskey I drank at the Jai. We won the game anyway with Manolito Moran and Julito Francia scoring the most points.

P.S.

The houses of many rich landowners were searched by the Army yesterday in conjunction with officials of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. This is a desperate move, forced about by the acute rice shortage. People in the slums of Tondo and for that matter the average Manilan no longer eats rice. A sack of rice costs over ₱3,000. So that if you’re just a clerk or for that matter, even if you are a Minister, you won’t be able to afford the price of rice for your entire family, if you just stick to your salary. Leaner days are coming. Maybe we will still see blood being shed for food.

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