Diary of Felipe Buencamino III

November 14, 1944

Manilans are excited, morale has soared and there are bright smiles on the faces of everyone you meet on the streets. All day yesterday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for almost every hour, U.S. planes bombed and rebombed Jap installations in the City. There are fires all around: two in the direction of Murphy, three in the area around Nichol’s Field, and one, big blazing hell around the Pier area.

Talk of “landings in Luzon” is in everyone’s lips. Some think Mac is now somewhere in Camarinez, others that American marines have taken positions in Tayabas and still others think that the shelling of Batangas coast has started. Others believe that “landings will be effected on the 15th, Commonwealth anniversary” and some are of the opinion that “landings will be effected within this week in Luzon”. All these opinions and beliefs and hunches tend to show one thing: the bombings have lifted morale, bolstered some weak spirits already on the downgrade due to marked decrease of aerial attacks on City and claims of Jap victories off Philippine waters by Radio Tokyo and “slowing down of Leyte operations”.

Everybody agrees that yesterday’s air raid was the “strongest and longest” ever experienced by this City but the main highlight was that U.S. fighter plane that flew a few meters above old, historic Jones Bridge. “You could have hit it with a stone” said an eye-witnesss who was at the Escolta at the time. Japs machine-gunned the lw-flying plane but it swerved right back and strafed Jap vessels docked at the Pasig. People at the National Bank said that they could feel strong gusts of wind hitting their chests every time bombs were dumped at several Jap boats at the Boulevard. No Jap planes flew up to challenge the Americans. “But,” said someone “tomorrow’s paper will claim that Jap planes repelled American attackers and that very little damage was done to military installations and that great casualties inflicted on civilians.”

I was all dressed up yesterday to go to Monching Araneta’s burial when all of a sudden I saw hundreds of planes swooping down on Murphy. I could distinctly hear the rat-a-tat of the machine-guns. Then the earth began to shake and mama started shouting for “Dolly and Neneng” to go to the shelter. Then the siren sounded and the Japns on the other house started scrambling for their foxholes. Several AA shrapnel dropped in the garden and one AA shell fell short and burst beside the Jap sentry on the corner of the street beside the house. The Jap ran inside our garden and his face was pale and lips were trembling and he kept pointing at his feet making signs to show that one big chunk of iron passed a few inches between his legs.

There was no light until six o’clock yesterday. Electrical communications were destroyed. A lot of the meat and fish we had stored up on the frigidaire got spoiled and the electric stove couldn’t be used. Ma had to do the cooking on native stoves with firewood. Our telephone went “dead” too because the lines around Santa Mesa were either “sabotaged” or grounded. Radio broadcasting was blocked off and the only way to get news was by short-wave but my radio was out of order. I went to the radio man to fix it up and he promised to have it ready for today. On the way, there were very few people on the streets and almost everybody was walking. All Jap soldiers were wearing their battle-uniforms, steel helmet, fixed bayonets and camouflage-nets all around their bodies. All Jap girls were wearing slacks clipped around the ankle. I met a friend and he shouted: “Business is very good, a lot of gains and the balance has been definitely in our favor. We may expect dividends any day now. The competing firm is about to close down, in a few weeks.”

Early this morning, we had another raid just before breakfast time. I was beginning to feel sad when I woke up because I thought there would be no raids today. When all of a sudden, the siren sounded and then I heard the distinct roar of U.S. planes. Yes, its another raid. Looks like we will have plenty of visits today. Come on Mac.