December 26, 1944

Manila

Japs moving out. Truck after truck loaded with troops evacuating Manila. All Jap cars camouflaged with leaves. Mindoro landings have struck fear in Jap hearts. The end is near.

Puppet government of Laurel transferred to Baguio. They left in a hurry. The presidential convoy was escorted by Jap troops and P.C. soldiers.

Remaining Jap soldiers are desperate and despotic. Sentries are reenforcing their barricades. Passers-by are searched.

All vehicles are being commandeered: Cars, trucks, carromatas, dokars, bicycles and push carts. All Filipinos except puppet collaborators walk. Only Japs ride in cars. People who did not know of the order were stopped in the streets, their cars, bicycles or carromatas taken away from them without pay. A cochero was very angry: “They’ve taken away my only means of livelihood” he said. House-to-house search started in Malate and Ermita districts.

Hardly any food in the market. Stalls empty. Vegetables, meat, and fishes cannot reach Manila because Japs confiscate all food in the way. A soldier came to the house this afternoon asking for our chickens. The Japanese Army is a scavenger force. A man whose bicycle was taken remarked bitterly. “They’ve taken away two of my houses, my furnitures, my rice and now my bike. Pretty soon they’ll take the air I breathe.”

Papa is very nervous. The Japs have sealed the Crosley and Buick. They’re demanding that we produce the tires of the Buick. Pa said that he sold them already. A Jap neighbor took one of our carromatas.

Only leader left in Manila is Benigno Aquino. He will leave for Baguio on Wednesday. He explained the basis of the rumors on the open city proclamation. To a question propounded by dad regarding the open city conjectures. Speaker Benigno Aquino pointed out:

“There has been an open city proposal. It came from us: the officials of the Republic. We wanted to at least make of record that we took measures to ensure the safety of Manilans and Manila. But Yamashita, the Jap commander-in-Chief did not accept our proposal and he explained that the complete demilitarization of Manila would lay it open to a possible paratroop invasion from Mindoro. Under the circumstances, Yamashita pointed out that the next best thing to do was to transfer the seat of the Republic’s government to Baguio and meanehile he will remove his troops and military installations and it will be up to the Americans to notice that the Japanese have already left.”

Dad then asked: “What kind of a force will the Japs leave here?” Aquino replied: “I understand that the Military Police will remain and perhaps enough troops to cope with a surprise attack by paratroops.”

Aquino said that he liked the speech of President Sergio Osmeña from Leyte. “I liked particularly the part where he counseled the guerrillas to act discreetly regarding collaborators because among them are men who are there because they have been forced and because they had nothing but the people’s welfare in mind. Aquino said “What that speech I have enough…..”.

Manila is worried about the recent drastic acts of the Military Police, the Japanese equivalent of the German Gestapo, Recently, it has been rumored that Dr. Antonio Sison, head of the Philippine General Hospital and President of the University of the Philippines was arrested at his home by members of the Military Police. Other prominent doctors that have disappeared are: Dr. Nicanor Jacinto, famous Manila surgeon and head of Doctor’s Hospital; Dr. Miguel Cañizares, tuberculosis expert and head of Quezon Institute and Dr. Jose Jose, head of a provincial hospital.

In the recent “zonification” (technical name for mass arrest) of Teresa, five men were killed by Japs because they were suspected of guerrilla activities.

In the mass arrest at Polo and Obando, more than 500 people were massacred to death. All the male citizens were locked in the church. From the pulpit, a hooded informer was made to point out guerrilleros. Those pointed out were beaten with wooden bats. The Municipal treasurer was hung upside down and killed by trained military hounds. Other suspects were burnt to death. Still others were drowned. A group of ninety were made to dig their own graves then machinegunned or bayoneted according to the sadistic inclinations of the executioners.

In Imus, Cavite, the military governor, Col. Castañeda and the provincial commander, Col. Javallera have escaped to the hills. Japs “zonified” Imus and killed all men who fought in Bataan. Many innocent men were killed. In some cases, wives of suspects were abused. Reign of terror exists at present in Imus.

Meanwhile, as the days pass by, more men die of hunger in the city. Today as I walked downtown, I saw a haggard, skeletal figure, dressed in rags, steadying his weak body at the iron gates of Jap residence while begging for food. Near a restaurant in Avenida Rizal, there was a young woman lying on the dust-covered pavement and death froze her hands in an extended, pleading, gesture. In the slums of Sampaloc, five little girls sat on the sidewalks, thin, gaunt, dirty, begging all passer-by for “rice, please, rice.” I saw an old man with a semi-crazed look in hid eyes searching a garbage can for food. I also saw a Jap truck filled with sacks of rice guarded by soldiers with fixed bayonets.

Only happy note of the day were leaflets dropped by American planes yesterday: “The Commander-in-Chief, the officers and the men of the American forces of Liberation in the Pacific wish their gallant allies, the People of the Philippines, all the blessings of Christmas, and the realizationof their fervent hopes for the New Year.”

Merry Christmas.

[This is the last entry in the diary, which ends here]


December 22, 1944

President Jose Laurel, Chief Justice Jose Yulo and all cabinet ministers left early this morning for Baguio. The presidential convoy was accompanied by two truckloads of Jap troops armed with mg’s, two trucks of Malacañang guards, one car of P.C. men and one car of detectives. The convoy consisted of thirty or more cars. The President and the Chief Justice and Ministers left with their families. All Aviles, San Rafael and the vicinity of Malacañang were surrounded by a protective cordon of policemen, P.C. men and M.P.’s since last night to early this morning because all the puppet leaders and their families slept at Malacañang. Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita, Jap Commander-in-Chief was said to have attended the last conference of the President and cabinet at Malacañang last night. Yamashita reportedly assured the puppets that the Japanese Army guarantees their safety. The Open City declaration was also informally discussed.

Amid persistent rumors regarding probable declaration of Manila as an Open City in view of continuous movement of Jap troops and installations and the transfer of the seat of government and the Jap Embassy to Baguio, first concrete indications were obtained from Mayor Leon Guinto’s office where draft of Open City manifesto is reportedly being drawn. President Jose P. Laurel will subsequently announce the Open City declaration formally, according to rumors. Manilans feel relieved at the sight of outgoing large numbers of Jap troops. Some fear the Sakdals might take over the reins of government. Others hope the G’s come in and drive out the Japs and Sakdals. Greatest wish is that the Americans “hurry up about Mindoro and land in Luzon proper and dash over to Manila whose gates gave been left open by Japs.”

Man being battered during the recent zonification of barrio Teresa, Sta. Mesa, two days ago, died of skull fracture. Blood oozed out of the man’s nose, mouth and ears. A total of 12 persons were killed in raid zonification. Victims were bayoneted to death.

Dr. Antonio Sison, president of the U.P. and head of P.G.H., was taken by the Military Police last night. The MP’s were dressed in civilian clothes.

In Rosario and Binondo districts, Japs picked up people in the streets this morning. They forced the unlucky ones to work with Jap soldiers. George Dee, prominent Manila businessman, was made to work for an hour in Rosario. Mr. Tong, laison officer of Chinese Assocation, tried to ask for an exemption, claiming that he had work to transact with Japanese officers. The reply was: “Military needs first. You help build the barricade.”

Saw three truckloads of Jap dead. The trucks were covered with leaves.


December 21, 1944

Significant developments. Puppet P.I. government moving to Baguio. Laurel and all Ministers including Manuel Roxas scheduled to leave for Baguio last night. Jap Embassy also hurriedly packing to transfer to Baguio. Jap Dept. of Information burning papers, will continue propaganda in Baguio. Speaker B. Aquino remained in Manila, promised to go up after wedding of his son Billy. Minister Antonio de las Alas expressed fear Japs will eventually bring P.I. cabinet to Tokyo. Gen. Paulino Santos, head of P. Constabulary, will reside in Malacañan. Japs planning to give Sakdals thru Makapili more extensive powers in Manila government.

Further indications Japs vacating Manila: big shipyard and iron works in Findlay & Miller docks being dismantled; ammunition dump in Pinaglabanan being transferred. All telephone installations of buttai 2944 in City being removed. Jap leather factory in Aviles has stopped work. Wives of Jap civilians left by train last night. Preparations to move sick Jap soldiers from Quezon Institute now underway. Non-stop movement of troops, trucks, tanks, artillery in Manila roads. Soldiers are in full pack. Trucks loaded with supplies and baggages. Roads leading to the outskirts of Manila filled with Japs leaving the city hurriedly.

Manilans agog by these new developments. Morale of people has risen to skies. Jap morale evidently on the downgrade. An old Jap who had been here 10 years said: “What do you think of all these things?” Manilans think Americans will be in Manila by the 15th of January. Landings will be effected “maybe before Christmas or New Year”. People suspect landings in Batangas. Everybody is in gay spirits. “No better Christmas could be had!” some say. Talk of open city revived.

Barrio Teresa, Sta. Mesa, zonified yesterday morning. All houses in said barrio searched. About 400 males corralled near Sta. Mesa market. Everybody made to sit under sun. One man being battered with a blunt instrument kept shouting, pleading: “Somebody please kill me, please, please, please.”

Victor Pagulayan, assistant manager of Naric, dying. After leaving Fort Santiago he was brought to the hospital. Several liters of water have been taken from his lungs.

Indications rise that RICCOA, newest rice agency, may be able to distribute around 600 sacks for Manila before Christmas, if Japs permit. It is reliably known that Japs have recently decided to take “all rice that can be procured from Central Luzon because of military needs.” Rice to be harvested will not be deposited in Jap bodegas in City. Harvest will be stored in warehouses along Central Luzon. This again indicates Jap intention to leave Manila. This will naturally worsen food situation in City, increase hunger-deaths. Doctors of San Lazaro hospital estimated that deaths due to chronic hunger in city around 500 daily. Many walking in streets can be seen suffering from vitamin deficiencies. Beri-beri rampant especially among lower classes.

With all these significant developments, I am of the opinion that Gen. Yamashita recognizes the untenability of defending Manila. The more troops he keeps here, the more will be sacrificed. Manila is indefensible due to its many exits and entrances. Consequently, Yamashita has taken away from city all material and people like the puppets whom he would not like to see in the hands of Americans. He has sent the bulk of his troops to the north. He has sent a minimum force to guard the coasts of Tayabas and Camarines and Batangas, most possible landing points. Yamashita realizes that his troops in the coastline will only be decimated by U.S. aerial and naval bombardment. Coastline of P.I. is flat and open. No natural protection to defenders from skies. Yamashita expects to make his stand in the north with his back to Japan. There he has natural protection, mountains, cliffs and food.

People are waiting for the zero hour. When, when will it come? Opinions range generally “from Christmas” to the first 15 days of January. Up to now the furthest I’ve heard is “around the month of March.”

Meanwhile collaborators have changed tune, speak differently. Even Aquino is changing his opinions. Opportunists, perhaps.

Guerillas are increasing in numbers. Some believe capitol of Batangas, taken by guerillas, with aerial support.


December 17, 1944

Landings in Mindoro.

Heard people talking about it in street-corners yesterday afternoon. The news spread like wild-fire: landings in Mindoro, Mindoro, Mindoro.

The Japs are stumped. American planes had complete dominion of the air over Luzon. They kept flying over Manila all day yesterday.

From the morning of December 15th to the evening of December 17th, Americans were in the air, bombing, strafing, reconnoitering. Traffic of trucks, movement of troops and supplies, were completely paralyzed. Bridges in Calumpit and Pampanga were bombed. Japs couldn’t move around in their cars, trucks, trains and boats.

Not a single Jap plane flew up to challenge the Americans.

Many and varied comments from people yesterday: The bombing was very accurate. The American planes circled over targets many times before dropping bombs. Japs have spread their dumps in private houses. Guerillas have given information to the Americans. Accuracy was important. They had to hit targets in between residences of civilians to minimize destruction and casualties. I saw an American plane flying just above the rooftop of our neighbor’s house. It flew very low.

Radio reports that 245 Jap planes were grounded in the Luzon area.

This morning in church the people forgot about the non-stop three-day raid, talked about the landings in Mindoro. Many people that were already depressed by the ‘delay’ in Leyte because of the Jap stand in Ormoc coupled by the bad weather, had happy faces in church this morning.

Consensus is that the Americans will finish with Mindoro in “a couple of days” and then “they will land in Luzon proper before Christmas.”

Some think: “New Year’s” …Happy New Year!

People believe landings will be effected in Batangas. It is very near Mindoro. “You can swim across,” said someone.

Personally, I believe the Mindoro landing is just a feint. A diversionary move. Main effort will be exerted in the eastern coast of either Tayabas or Camarines.

MacArthur now has the Jap Commander-in-Chief guessing. “Where will Mac land?” is the question today. Second question: “When will he land?” As far as I am concerned, I don’t care where, I only care for the ‘when’. I am damned tired of waiting.

Greatest surprise to most people has been the Japanese admission that landings have been effected by Americans in Mindoro. This is a great change in their news dissemination policy. Previously, they kept quiet about such landings. Now they have announced it as soon as possible.

Japs probably realize that they can no longer fool the people. You can’t talk of “Japanese aerial superiority” when Americans skylark without a single Jap interception. You can’t say there are still no landings when you hear the roar of cannons.

Japs probably want to prepare the people’s mentality. They want to prepare them for the big thing: the landings in Luzon.

Japs have not yet admitted Leyte campaign is finished, because they keep saying that their para-troop units have captured several aerodromes in Leyte.

Meanwhile food prices are going higher and higher. The masses can no longer afford the food. No rice. No viands. Only vegetables at prices that are fantastic.

The people say: “Never mind all that… as long as they return!”


December 16, 1944

I went biking yesterday to see the effect of the bombing yesterday and to hear the comments of the people.

Streets were empty. Traffic was paralyzed. Army trucks and cars moved around with camouflage nets. Many sentries posted in street corners.

42 civilians were wounded in Parañaque. Saw them in corridors of the P.G. Hospital. Most of them were hit by Jap A.A. shells which fell short.

Raid yesterday was non-stop –from morning to afternoon. I saw fires burning in the direction of Grace Park and Nichols and Murphy and McKinley.

People from San Juan say that a low-flying plane strafed a Jap truck crossing the bridge killing 4 persons. Consensus of opinion is that much damage was done to military installation.

Last night, conversation was on probability of landings. Some believe Americans have landed already somewhere in Luzon.

Heard three big explosions last night –one at 2 o’clock also.

Raid again.

N.B.

Vic and Neneng wounded. A Jap shell landed near the house. Yesterday 3 exploded but no one was injured.


December 15, 1944

A lot of things have happened during these last two weeks.

Flying fortress have appeared twice but at night. Japs got excited. To houses that still had lights on, they shouted and threatened “Close light! Close light!”

Yesterday, we had an all-day raid, from morning to afternoon. I saw the Jap planes flying very early. “That means”, said someone, “there is going to be a raid because the Japs always hide when the Americans fly over.” Sure enough, there was another raid, hooray! And not a single Jap plane put up a fight –at least I didn’t see any.

The Americans were flying very low –sometimes above rooftops. One fighter flew just above the house and I saw the U.S. insignia. The people in the field started to cheer and cheer.

Now everybody thinks “there is probably a landing in Luzon already” and some think “they’ll be in Manila before Christmas.”

Must stop writing. There is another raid.


November 27, 1944

Unable to write during last few days because of my malaria. I didn’t feel like doing anything. Felt like the old days in Bataan and the long, horrible months in the concentration camp.

Raids last Saturday. Saw planes bombing Grace Park. First few bombs immediately hit objectives. Black columns of smoke shot upward to sky. Planes dove and dove at objectives again and again. Thrilling sight.

When bombers come flying over, from northeast, they look like schools of little fishes swimming in clouds. Never saw so many in my life. Even Jap sentries in streets, shook their heads and remarked, “Takusan, takusan”, i.e., “so many, many.”

Read an Osaka Mainichi paper, a back issue. It was all about the fall of Saipan. This was a great loss to Japan, a severe blow on Jap morale. With its fall, Jap editor admitted that U.S. has perforated inner defense circle of Japan proper.

Meanwhile Manilans are anxious about Leyte battle. Question being asked by everyone “Why haven’t they finished with Leyte yet?” Some say: “It seems the Army of Kreuger is bogged down.” Reason for this was previous belief that Leyte would be over in “a couple of days.” Undoubtedly, “Leyte battle is progressing slower than expected.”

Continuous rumors of shelling in eastern coast of Luzon.


November 22, 1944

A total of 9,000 males are included in the first draft for compulsory labor in Jap airfields, port installations and other military establishments. The names of those forced to serve have been sent to neighborhood presidents who will in turn forward the names to neighborhood leaders who will then inform the draftees to appear in a certain place at a certain time until an Army truck brings them to their working places. Stiff penalties ranging from heavy fines to many years of imprisonment and even death will be imposed on those who evade the labor conscription. Meanwhile Tribune editorial claims it is an honor to help in the defense of one’s country and that Filipino youths should be proud Japs are willing to make them work side by side with them.

Some people are asking: “Why doesn’t President Laurel complain? Why does he permit this forced labor? Didn’t he promise that he would not allow conscription? Is this not conscription? Of course, it is not military conscription but it is labor conscription and is that not worse? Under military conscription, you are at least armed but under labor conscription, you have nothing but spades and hoe’s and you work in veritable targets.”

Malacañang however is very silent. Instead Laurel gave a dinner party honoring T. Yamashita, new commander-in-chief. Yamashita pledged “to defend Philippines even at cost of my own life.” Tribune stated that Filipino leaders (puppets) were impressed at the energy of new-commander-in-chief.

Meanwhile guerrilla activities in Luzon have been intensified. There are strong rumors that a submarine landed several officers from Leyte with orders from Gen. MacArthur to give final instructions to guerrilla troops. It is also believed that guerrilla bands are being united at present under one leader for unity of command and to make efforts more effective.

Listeners over Voice of Freedom are worried because Brig. Gen. Carlos Romulo has not spoken for the last three days despite previous announcements by Voice of Freedom that the general will speak daily for the Commonwealth Government. “Has he been hurt? Is he sick? Or Maybe he returned to the States? Or is he in some battleship on way to Luzon?” nobody knows, many guess, everybody is worried. Japs are happy because he used to say a lot of things that was embarrassing for them. From Baguio however comes the news that Mrs. Sergio Osmeña, wife of President Osmeña, has disappeared with daughter. People are wondering if the Japs have taken her or if she is hiding with guerrillas or if she is now on a submarine to Leyte. People too are asking if Sergio Osmeña Jr. who has been collaborating with Japs is with Mrs. Osmeña. Guerrillas were after Serging’s neck because he was a shame to country and to his father but they have not taken drastic action against him “in deference to his father.” Reports from Pagsanjan also reveal that Mrs. Carlos Romulo and children have also disappeared. It is known definitely however that the Romulo family is at present hiding with Luzon guerrillas. One son of the general, Carlos Jr. is an officer of the underground forces.

Servants from Bay View Hotel state that “there is an American aviator, a tall fellow, in the seventh floor”. The American aviator parachuted when his plane was hit by an AA shell. The aviator said that he had been in Europe with the bombers raiding Berlin.

Lichauco house was taken by Navy. Helped them pack their things and carried several bundles to their new house. Lichauco was given two days to vacate premises or said the Navy “We will move right in with you”. Lichauco hurriedly packed his things because he has three beautiful daughters and he didn’t want Japs to live with them. People are asking: “What is the Jap Navy doing here, taking houses, instead of going out to sea?”

Just finished reading Philippine Review, a Jap controlled magazine. It claims that balance of war in Europe is in favor of Axis. It gave no reasons. I didn’t expect to find any.


November 20, 1944

Emilio was here this morning. He said a Jap officer went to his house at eight o’clock last night with a German. The Jap wants him to vacate his house “to give place for this German”. Emilio who is hot-headed answered “I’m not going to vacate my own house for any German.” Emilio’s wife was nervous because she said there was a long and heated discussion and so she came in and pulled Emilio by the arm and begged him not to speak his mind out because he might be locked up in Fort Santiago. When the Jap left, Emilio said: “I am not going to leave my own house. If the German needs it, I need it too.”

Our building in Avenida Rizal is going to be taken by the Army at the end of the month. It will be used as a warehouse for food supply. All tenants were asked to sign a paper saying they agreed to vacate premises.

Pedro was here too. He has not returned to his house in Galas for four days because the Japs have “zonified” Galas. All males about 400 of them have been brought to Fort Santiago. Apparently, a Jap officer’s corpse was seen in Galas and they are making the arrested men reveal the name or names of the killers.

Sentries have been posted again on important street corners. Everybody is stopped and searched for firearms. The other day I forgot my residence certificate and I had a hard time trying to go home.

A Jap interpreter who speaks quite good English was here this noon. He looked like a Chinese and so I was tempted to ask him what he thought of Chiang Kai Shek. I was very surprised to to hear him say that he thinks Chiang one of the greatest man in the world. He said that the Japanese people also think very highly of Chiang but they regret “Chiang is is fighting for white race”.

I asked him what the Japs think of Gandhi. He said that although Indians worship Gandhi, he is better as a god. He is not a leader in the sense of action. He does not get things done. Or rather, his method of passive resistance cannot attain freedom for Indians. Only action can bring liberty to Indians, he opined. He believes Subhas Chandra Bose, the Indian revolutionary. More capable.

(later)

No raid today. People are sad. They’re beginning to think that the Leyte campaign will take a long time and perhaps the liberation of Luzon will not be effected until perhaps next year. Meanwhile prices of foodstuffs are rising higher and higher, betond the reach of even the rich people.

Aside from the undeniable fact that the masses are really suffering, what with the taking of houses, the scarcity of food, the high prices of everything, the drastic procedures of the military police, the abuses of Jap officials, I think that one of the causes of present unsettled, discontented feeling is impatience. People are very anxious to see landings in Luzon. They know that there will be great hardships and fighting and perhaps death but they want it now. They want to get it over with, the sooner, the better.

Will listen to San Francisco at six. I like Commentator Sydney Rogers. I have one criticism about radio broadcasts in America. They spend much time in silly nothings in broadcasts to the Far East. They don’t realize that people listening here are doing so at risk of their lives. What they want to hear is the news. They don’t care to hear a musical program. They want to know: what is happening now in Leyte? Why are there no raids? When will landings be effected? How strong is the force? Of course, not all things can be revealed. But they want to know the news. They want especially — war news. Commentaries on the news. The radio stations in U.S. must remember that people are tuning in under great risks.