Diary of Louise Fillmore Blancaflor

February 10, 1945

I have not written in a week and I don’t know how or where to begin, or whether I will remember everything that has happened during the week!

On the morning of February 5, the USAFFE soldiers entered Jaro a 9:00 a.m.! Some of the soldiers came inside the college and people were afraid of them. Some behaved themselves, while others did not. Looting by them in Jaro was rampant and houses were set on fire. The Bishop’s residence with all its precious things was looted and the house set on fire.

The USAFFE came inside Jaro and the college so quietly that the Japanese were not aware they had done so. It was not until noon that the USAFFE started firing. They had also set up barricades in other locations around Jaro. The Japanese returned their fire and the heavy shooting lasted for four days! On the second day of shooting trench mortars fell around us. One fell on the roof above the dining area, and two fell on the tennis court. Thank God that in spite of the heavy firing, no one was hurt! All we could do was to remain on the floor in our rooms. The walls of the college were peppered with bullet holes. Most of the beautiful homes around the Jaro plaza are burned, and ¾ of the town of Molo has been destroyed by fire.

On the night of February 7, we could hear (between the gunfire) someone calling for help on the other side of the wall. No one dared to go out. He kept calling for help for about ½ hour, then was silent. The following morning during a lull in the shooting, someone in the college ventured to look over the wall and saw the dead body of a USAFFE soldier.

Don Ramon Lopez’s house which is on the other side of the college, had been occupied by the USAFFE during the shooting, so we were between the cross-fire. On the 4th day of fighting, more Japanese reinforcements arrived, and the USAFFE had to retreat. The fighting was carried outside of Jaro to the river, so today it has been quiet.

After things quieted down, four Japanese soldiers came to the college to look around and inspect the damage. At the time they came, the Chaplain asked permission from them if the dead body on the other side of the wall could be buried. The officer gave his permission and mentioned that there was another dead USAFFE soldier a few yards away.

The next morning, a priest and some servants at the college, including John, our cook, went to bury the two soldiers. Some Japanese soldiers came to the site while the graves were being dug, and helped in the digging.