Diary of Felipe Buencamino III

November 19, 1944

Air raid. I can hear the roar of U.S. planes. There goes one explosion. Quite strong. Must have hit an oil tank. Sound of planes diving. Sort of gets into your nerves. Dogfight, perhaps, strafing. Machinegun sounds like corn being dropped on a tin can. Dolly is shouting. She says there is a plane in flames and it can be seen from the kitchen window. Ack-ack. Sounds like a big door being slammed right against your ears. Mama is calling grandpop. The old fellow does not like to go in the shelter. Subcannon. Sounds like punching bag. More ack-ack. Shrapnel raining on cement court beside house. More bombs being dropped. Vic still outside watching planes. He says “It’s the sight of a lifetime. U.S. planes are diving very, very low.” More bombs. Earth and house shaking. No more Jap planes flying. Japs beside house are ringing a bell, some sort of signal. There goes the air raid siren, late again. Tia Mameng taking her breakfast in shelter. Mateo is outside chasing the horse. Five planes now circling over Murphy. Strafing. Hard to see planes right now. Sun is just above horizon. View from my window is very beautiful. Green fields, nipa shacks, carabaos wallowing in mud pools, Australian cow right beside Vic’s mare. Only ones absent are the birds. They fly away when they hear the planes. Panfilo is shouting. Says he saw a man trying to steal fruits from backyard. Thief must have thought we were all hiding in the shelter. Told him not to run after the fellow. He must have been hungry. A lot of hungry people these days. Sun is above trees now. I like the morning air. Exhilarating. Rooster is crowing. I wonder if the white leghorn has laid an egg. Eggs cost ₱15 each. More detonations but very distant. Planes are probably hitting Cavite. Slight breeze blowing. Birds are back on tree outside my window. They are flapping their wings. My favorite “maya” is chirping her usual song. Raid’s over.

(later)

Had a poor breakfast. Rice and dried fish. Had a Jap visitor, a new neighbor. He belongs to the Propaganda Corps and he censors Philippine Review articles. He claims the Americans be surely defeated in Leyte. He admitted aerial superiority of U.S. but said Jap suicide unit will take care of U.S. carriers. MacArthur has landed seven divisions in Leyte already, he said. Japs also have seven divisions, he explained. “And since our lines of supply are shorter and America’s very much longer,” he opined. “MacArthur’s forces will be either driven off or annihilated.” He praised Gen. T. Yamashita “who conquered Singapore and has new ideas on aerial warfare.” Marshal Terauti is in charge of Indo China, he said. The Jap said that [Indochinese] are cooperating much more than Filipinos. No guerrillas there, he added. He revealed that very little food supplies came in nowadays from Southern regions for Jap Army. He deplored hunger now prevalent in Philippines. “This is due” he said, “to pre-war economic dependency of Philippines with United States.” He also admitted superiority of American production. “But” he added, “with Japanese spirit, we shall surpass them in near future.” He disclosed that Jap textile factories like Kanebo and others are now producing planes. Our conversation was interrupted by sound of strafing.

Air raid alarm was sounded and he ran to our shelter even before the women. I stayed outside and watched the planes. They dropped bombs over Manila bay at Jap ships. Tribune just arrived. Claims Mac forces completely surrounded.