On February 19, the birthday of Mrs. Quezon, the President ordered me to have champagne for the evening. Colonel Nieto also came to inform me of my departure from Corregidor. I was to go to the south entrance of the tunnel at night. I gave several bottles of champagne to the Officers so that they could have a toast when victory came. I kissed Mrs. Quezon and the children goodbye. On my way out, some boys saw me with my gas-mask. They called out good-bye and asked me to pray for them.
The President took Miss Aurora for a ride to see the damages in the City. This was the last time his people saw him in public.
We received a hard hitting as the planes seared the sky. On one of my way trips to the Palace, I stayed to arrange the schedule of cooks and boys, many of whom had already left Manila. I do not know why I bothered with these details.
Even at Marikina, in the days of harrowing hideout, the family maintained its high spirits. At one time Aurora, the oldest child in the family, had childishly expressed the desire to see the boyfriend of her childhood nurse. The day of the young man’s visit coincided with one of the many crucial meetings of the President with the members of the Cabinet. Attracted by the girlish commotion, he stepped out to investigate the source of the excitement. When told that “Laby’s boyfriend was on a visit,” he too peeked into the room to take a look at the visiting swain. Soon, all the members of the Cabinet had done the same.
Nobody believed there was going to be a war. Secretary Vargas called to tell me to join the President and his family in the house in Marikina. From then on, the first family lived in a shelter.
I was busy preparing my schedule for the boys whom I was going to send to Baguio where the Family was to spend the Christmas holidays. I was writing orders for other equipment and supplies when the sound of Mitsubitzis came roaring through the sky. The explosions told us that enemy planes had already begun bombing our airfields.