Diary of Juan Labrador, O.P.

October 16, 1944

The Philippines yesterday celebrated the first anniversary of its independence in peace, thanks to the resounding defeat of the invading Americans in the Taiwan waters. We could be sure that the punishment was such that the Americans were forced to abandon their idea of proceeding to the Philippines to cut short our independence celebration. We knew very well that the American aircraft carriers were sunk or damaged and the Americans were being driven in flight by the Japanese Air Force.

I was reading this dogmatic editorial when the air raid signal no. 1 sounded, and within a few minutes, anti-aircraft shells were exploding above the clouds. The Japanese fighter planes, emboldened by the editorial, were flying confidently overhead when the American bombers came without having learned about the sinking of their aircraft carrier. Bombs exploded so loudly from Nichols that they could be heard in Balintawak, as a giant umbrella rose from the airfield.

Eighteen out of sixty American planes were downed according to Japanese propaganda. Tokyo found the figure too low and increased it to thirty. Both agencies are giving a decisive importance, and as we supposed, a very inflated one at that, to the battle being waged at the east of Formosa. Tokyo radio arrived at fifty-three American ships sunk or damaged, twenty-thousand Americans killed, and one thousand planes shot down. The Manila news agency was more conservative, scattering flying leaflets in the streets and sending out a van through the city with streamers announcing the resounding victory.

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