Diary of Salvador H. Laurel

March 30, 1945 — Friday

Early this morning, Tuguegarao was bombed and strafed. The P-51 dive-bombers were strafing with terrifying precision. The Americans probably know we are here. The planes are diving very low –as low as 100 meters above ground. We could hear bombs dropping just a few hundred meters away. Tuguegarao was the worst place since we started this trip. No water. No food. Continuous bombing and strafing. “Seventh Heaven” suddenly seemed better! At 4:35 p.m. the air raid stopped. The whole town was razed to the ground.

Mr. Fukushima, a member of Ambassador Murata’s party, told us to separate our “essentials” from our “non-essentials.” We are to bring only the very essential.

At 6:05 we finished sorting out our “essentials.” We rode our last ride on native soil. We arrived at Tuguegarao airfield at 8:20 p.m. and waited there till 10:55 p.m. for the Japanese plane to arrive. Some of our baggage containing even our essentials had to be left behind.

This was to be my first airplane trip and I was very excited. I sat below the machine-gun turret. A co-pilot sat beside me and opened a package. It was a pilot’s ration. He gave me chocolate out of what looked like a toothpaste tube, some biscuits and yokan. In return I gave him my bag of army biscuits given to me in Tuguegarao. I went up to the turret and saw the deep blue sky. It was hazy and vast and beautiful. I fell asleep.

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