Diary of Tomas Confesor

25th day, Jan. 21, 1945

After all, we are now here in Tacloban, the “promised” land, at about 5 pin today.

After a whole night in the sea on our sail boat, we were in Tolong Bay very early this morning, the third day of our watch for the plane that was to pick us up.

All of us were in suspense beginning at 9 am. up to 10:45 a.m., for from that time we would have to wait again for the next day for the much awaited pick-up.

Lo! at 15 minutes to eleven o’clock we heard a distant rumbling. We all trained our ears towards the source of the sound. Then, of a sudden, a plane came out of the clouds, from the SW. It headed towards us. “It is a “Cat,” every body shouted. It continue its course northward and our eyes followed. It was almost vanishing in the distance, when it banked to the left and made a turn in our direction. We felt relieved, for we thought at first that it was not yet our ship. It continued its southwesterly direction and then banked to the right and returned again towards our sailboat. Start heading once again for the NE, but nearer, it circled to the left and flew over us for a short distance again toward the SW, where once again flying still lower at this time over our heads, we saw it lowering its position. Then Col. Andrews shouted “That’s it. We got it now.”

The plane descended further, circling over us, and Andrews saw Chic Parsons on board. And finally the “Cat” landed and taxied towards our sailboat.

There was excitement all over our ship. Everybody cheered. The much awaited pick-up was at last at hand. It came along and docked alongside us. The crews came out. We cheered them. And up appeared Chic shouting “Hello and Mabuhay.” Chic came down to our ship to give us the glad hand. [I am?] thankful that Chic is on the job.

After a brief account of his mission, that is, to get me, he called for the Captain and introduced me.

“Here is the man we want, Captain—Governor Confesor. I want you to meet him. We are making history today”, Chic remarked to him.

Then the unloading of the 3,000 lb. cargo was commenced. It took about one half an hour. After that, we went aboard. It was hot inside. We got into the tail where there was air.

People from the shore flocked in on their row boats, men, girls and boys. They came for what they could get in cigarettes, clothing and food. And the members of the crew threw them cigarettes, clothing and old blankets. It created a scramble and excitement among the crowds. Soon the shore was filled by hundreds of people, happy, cheerful and enthusiastic. The navigator went ashore and he was almost mobbed by the happy crowd. It was the first landing of an American plane there. What a great event!

A big contrast it was with the presence of Japs. The latter drove the people away in hiding to the woods and mountains. While here the American plane and its boys brought every one out of his hideout, for a holiday, every body with a smile on his face and a happy heart in his bosom.

The boys in the plane are a fine bunch of young fellows—full of zest and enthusiasm. They are much impressed by their reception—they are happy over it.

You can see on the faces of these chaps, their love for life and their enthusiasm over their work. Not the slightest sign of discontent nor moroseness can be discerned on their face. They love the game they are playing. They are healthy and cheerful. They are neither gruff nor dyspeptic like the Japs.

What a big difference with this people as contrasted with the Japs. The Americans give away things to the people—while the latter loot us.

No wonder why America will win this war. It has a fighting legion that is youthful, enthusiastic, cheerful, happy and determined.

It is a pleasure and privilege to meet these young Americans that have come to fight our battle. I am very happy to be with them.

Chic Parsons is a great fellow. His part in this war in behalf of the Filipinos is immeasurable. We certainly owe him much. We should be […]

Thank God, we went through the war zone unscathed, not even disturbed. No Jap plane made any appearance as we passed between Negros and Cebu. Well, Jap air power is on the blink, to be sure. We have no fighter escort, at that.

As Leyte loomed before us, a surge of varied emotions swept through us. We thought at first that we would see a terribly devastated land. Yet, we found here rivers lazily plodding their way to the sea as if nothing catastrophic had swept over their basins. Her hills, most of them at least, are still green with a new crop of rice. Many of her towns are still intact. Her churches are still up, unlike Panay, where all is desolation.

But when the bay of Tacloban came into view, what a thrilling bight unfolded before us! On land bordering it, are bivouacked areas for soldiers, supplies in interminable piles scattered all over, innumerable parked motor vehicles, warehouses, landing fields, etc. Oh! the bay itself is a beautiful sight. It is all ships of all types ranging from a five ton motor boat to a 20,000 ton transport. There are hundreds of them—never before seen in this part of the world—and rarely seen anywhere.

Floating all over are all types of flying ships, too.

Here we see a concrete manifestation of the power of America, in terms of striking power in land, sea and air.

The bay is just as busy as the port of New York during prewar days. Something like it will never be seen in this part during the next one hundred years.

On shore every house is occupied five times its capacity.

Everybody is in uniform. Soldiers are on every inch of the ground.

Stores of supplies are all over. The dock and piers are chuck full of supplies of all kinds. All kinds of ships are crowded by ships along their sides.

Tacloban is superboom town just now.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent daily here. The people here are having an exciting time. But the war spirit and its concrete manifestations permeate the place through and through.

It is all rumblings of trucks and buzzings of aeroplanes. Every minute of the day reverberates with the strain of martial sounds.

What great events are certainly developing here!

I meet people here from all parts of the Philippines, each with his story to tell.

Air raid alarms and anti-aircraft gunfire sounded the whole night long.

It’s War! We are in the midst of it now both its bright and dark manifestations.

Are these young Americans fighting for the puppets and what they represent or what?

Sounds of aeroplanes continue to assail our ears even in our sleep.