November 19, 1944

Air raid. I can hear the roar of U.S. planes. There goes one explosion. Quite strong. Must have hit an oil tank. Sound of planes diving. Sort of gets into your nerves. Dogfight, perhaps, strafing. Machinegun sounds like corn being dropped on a tin can. Dolly is shouting. She says there is a plane in flames and it can be seen from the kitchen window. Ack-ack. Sounds like a big door being slammed right against your ears. Mama is calling grandpop. The old fellow does not like to go in the shelter. Subcannon. Sounds like punching bag. More ack-ack. Shrapnel raining on cement court beside house. More bombs being dropped. Vic still outside watching planes. He says “It’s the sight of a lifetime. U.S. planes are diving very, very low.” More bombs. Earth and house shaking. No more Jap planes flying. Japs beside house are ringing a bell, some sort of signal. There goes the air raid siren, late again. Tia Mameng taking her breakfast in shelter. Mateo is outside chasing the horse. Five planes now circling over Murphy. Strafing. Hard to see planes right now. Sun is just above horizon. View from my window is very beautiful. Green fields, nipa shacks, carabaos wallowing in mud pools, Australian cow right beside Vic’s mare. Only ones absent are the birds. They fly away when they hear the planes. Panfilo is shouting. Says he saw a man trying to steal fruits from backyard. Thief must have thought we were all hiding in the shelter. Told him not to run after the fellow. He must have been hungry. A lot of hungry people these days. Sun is above trees now. I like the morning air. Exhilarating. Rooster is crowing. I wonder if the white leghorn has laid an egg. Eggs cost ₱15 each. More detonations but very distant. Planes are probably hitting Cavite. Slight breeze blowing. Birds are back on tree outside my window. They are flapping their wings. My favorite “maya” is chirping her usual song. Raid’s over.

(later)

Had a poor breakfast. Rice and dried fish. Had a Jap visitor, a new neighbor. He belongs to the Propaganda Corps and he censors Philippine Review articles. He claims the Americans be surely defeated in Leyte. He admitted aerial superiority of U.S. but said Jap suicide unit will take care of U.S. carriers. MacArthur has landed seven divisions in Leyte already, he said. Japs also have seven divisions, he explained. “And since our lines of supply are shorter and America’s very much longer,” he opined. “MacArthur’s forces will be either driven off or annihilated.” He praised Gen. T. Yamashita “who conquered Singapore and has new ideas on aerial warfare.” Marshal Terauti is in charge of Indo China, he said. The Jap said that [Indochinese] are cooperating much more than Filipinos. No guerrillas there, he added. He revealed that very little food supplies came in nowadays from Southern regions for Jap Army. He deplored hunger now prevalent in Philippines. “This is due” he said, “to pre-war economic dependency of Philippines with United States.” He also admitted superiority of American production. “But” he added, “with Japanese spirit, we shall surpass them in near future.” He disclosed that Jap textile factories like Kanebo and others are now producing planes. Our conversation was interrupted by sound of strafing.

Air raid alarm was sounded and he ran to our shelter even before the women. I stayed outside and watched the planes. They dropped bombs over Manila bay at Jap ships. Tribune just arrived. Claims Mac forces completely surrounded.


November 17, 1944

Sirens sounded twice today, first at about 11 a.m. indicating “stand-by” and then at 12 noon giving “All-Clear” signal. Saw no planes except three Jap fighters rhat flew very low over a house at Taft Avenue.

People are disappointed. After heavy raids on Tuesday and Wednesday, they expected to hear of landings in Luzon. Apparently those were merely neutralization raids while Kreuger’s Army pushed on towards Ormoc.

Question now is “Whether U.S. will be here before Christmas?” or “Will it be in 1945 yet?” Many however still stick to belief that MacArthur will return to Luzon before end of November.

Meanwhile Jap troops keep pouring into City. Saw many Jap soldiers marching in Taft Avenue. They were in full pack and they looked very tired. I don’t know where they came from but they looked like old, weary veterans of several wars.

I understand that the rice supply of the Jap Army quartermaster is running precariously low. Reason behind amalgamation of GUNKANRI BEI KOKU (Jap rice control office) with BIBA (P.I. rice agency) into new unified organization called RICOA (rice and corn administration) is due to inability of Japs to ship rice procured from Cagayan and Isabela from Aparri port to Manila harbor.

Despite previous arrangement made by Puppet Laurel granting Japs exclusive control and disposal of all rice crops in Nueva Vizcaya-Cagayan-Isabela region providing Japs leave Central Luzon to BIBA, the Japs now find it necessary to scrap this previous agreement and to draw from Central Luzon. Jap authorities have revealed that overland transportation from Cagayan to Manila practically impossible due to impassable roads, swift Cagayan river and shortage of trucks, spare parts and fuel. Overseas route via China Sea and Pacific Ocean now very hazardous, in fact virtually impossible, due to intensified U.S. submarine and aerial attacks on Jap shipping.

Meanwhile Tribune has announced that creation of RICOA due to desire of Japs to help Republic procure rice from Central Luzon because Japs cannot stay indifferent to the plight of thousands of Manilans suffering hunger. Nobody however swallows this baloney except the Japs themselves and Filipino collaborators like Laurel and Sanvictores and Sabido etcetera.

Compulsory labor is now enforced. Saw hundreds of young men walking in streets accompanied by Jap sentries with fixed bayonets. I am very careful these days when I go downtown because I may also be taken any moment. This labor conscription gives the lie to Laurel’s main boast that he won’t permit any conscription.

Heard Romulo over Voice of Freedom. I shed tears. He addressed the Japanese soldier, told him that the Filipinos will drive him out of this islands and will never surrender to him.

I can hear explosions right now, probably dynamite. Japs are building caves to store their supplies.

Got to stop now. Somebody is calling for me in the phone. I’m rather surprised though because our phone has been out of order for three weeks.

These days most telephones are out of order, frigidaires cannot be repaired, electric stoves cannot be fixed, there is very little gas and the water is not safe for drinking unless boiled. Roads are full of holes, big enough for carabaos to wallow and there are no more taxis or street cars or garages for people. If you want to get anywhere, you’ve got to walk. Cars and street cars are exclusively for Japs. If you’ve got a bicycle, you are lucky, but you always run the risk that a Jap may commandeer it from you.

This is co-prosperity, Jap style, 1944. Collaboration, cooperation, co-prosperity is a one-way traffic affair as far as Japs are concerned. I wonder what Webster dictionary thinks about it. I think I’ll send the Jap premier a brand new book.


November 16, 1944

I went around the City yesterday to see the effect of the bombing last 13th and 14th. About 14 ships were sunk in the Manila Bay Area aside from the partial destruction of Jap military installations in the City.

Ermita district got the greatest share of civilian casualties, because they are very near the shore. There were many dogfights on top of the Bay and everybody was talking about that lone U.S. fighter that was being chased by two Japs that “suddenly swerved and machinegunned one Jap till it plummeted to earth, chased the other which ran away and then suddenly turned into flames.”

The Apostolic Delegate and the Archbishop’s Palace were partly damaged by the raid and the Japs capitalized on these things, placed them on the front page and squawked about “Anglo-Saxon violation of religious beliefs of Catholic Filipinos.”

The fact is that the Archbishop and Apostolic Delegate left their respective places months ago because the Japs used their residences as ammunition dumps. Several Manila churches were also filled with boxes of ammunition.

Japs have spread their supplies throughout the City under trees, in parks among bushes to minimize destruction from bombing. To really destroy all Jap suppy dumps, the whole City would have to be destroyed because they have used private homes as warehouses.

Yesterday I saw sailors, survivors of sunk ships, lying wearily on the grass under the shade of trees at Taft Avenue. They looked hungry and half-dazed and their clothes were smeared with oil. They were just sitting around looking at nowhere and their faces looked pitiful.

I saw two truckloads of Jap dead passing Taft Avenue and there was a bad odor that made me feel sure that the trucks carried corpses. Due to lack of transportation facilities, carts covered with white sheet were also seen in several Manila streets pulled by Jap soldiers. All Japs had their caps off in respect to dead inside carts.

Meanwhile the Japs are frantically vacating their military establishments. They are commandeering houses of civilians to hide from U.S. bombs. Schoolhouse amid civilian houses in Altura is now Military Police headquarters which was bombed in last Tuesday’s raid.

Manilans are ready to suffer damage to their properties and even death to themselves as long as they get back their freedom. One Manilan said: “Let them bomb my house if that’s going to hurry things up.”

A Jap soldier passing by the house yesterday asked to come in. He was very pale and he said he was shivering with malaria. He asked for quinine. The fellow had a very sad face and then he wanted to know if this was New Guinea.

A friend of mine told me yesterday that there was Jap nurse who burst out in tears when she read the papers announcing American landings in Leyte. The nurse remarked: “I thought we were winning all the time.”

 

October 16 (later)

More details on Ramon Araneta’s death at Fort Santiago. The phone rang at the Araneta home. Corito, the daughter, answered. Jap from Santiago said: “You can take your father now. He is DEAD, DEAD, DEAD…. do you hear me?” There was no answer. Corito fainted. When her mother came to ask “What’s the matter?” she gathered her strength, pretended nothing had happened, said “I couldn’t understand.” Corito is a very courageous girl. Japs wanted to bring her to the fort also but changed their minds when she was dressing up. They said: “O.K., just stay, we are gentlemen, we take you some other time.” Japs suspected she was typing radio broadcasts from San Francisco.

Minister Arsenio Luz, Jose Corominas, Juan Chuidan, and Dr. Antonio Vasquez were the ones who took Araneta’s corpse from Santiago. Japs couldn’t understand why they went there and there was a long time trying to ask for Araneta. Until finally, one Jap who understood a little English brought them to a room. Araneta was there, stiff on the floor, with a dirty sweater. Minister Luz who thought Araneta was well and to be released was shocked and having been slightly inebriated at the time, he lost his head and started to shout and curse in Spanish “Esto no puede!” until Dr. Vasquez silenced him and said “not here, not here.” Corominas, a good friend of Araneta could not speak. With his pal’s corpse prostrate before him, he looked straight at the eye of the Jap who also looked fixedly at him. He used to be afraid of Japs and Fort Santiago having been locked there too in the past. But at that moment, he was no longer afraid. He had ceased to care. Indignation was greater than fear of death. He kept looking at the Japanese, spoke a thousand words by his silence. The Jap took off his glance, showing signs of shame. The four friends carried Araneta’s stiff body to Luz’s car.

News has been spread that Araneta died of a heart attack. Indications are that he died because he was battered in the fort. His body had contusions around the stomach pit. But the doctors who autopsied his body do not want to talk, not until day of liberation.

It appears that Japs suspected Araneta was listening over the radio. When he received a tip that they might pick him up, he transferred his set to his secretary. Japs caught his secretary who unable to withstand torture began to talk. Japs arrested Araneta midnight. They knocked at his door: “Open up! Open up! Military Police!” His wife who was awake put on her lounging gown before opening door. But Japs broke it before they could get the key.

His night watchman was tied. Four Filipino informers investigated the servants and searched first floor of the house. Japs investigated Araneta and wife and children upstairs and inspected rooms. Japs took ₱40,000 from one of Araneta’s drawers, drank his wine and took canned goods. His chickens, turkeys and pigs disappeared too.

Chief Justice Jose Yulo brought this to the attention of Colonel Nagahama, head of Military Police, a friend of the Chief Justice. He immediately sent investigators to Araneta family to find out the truth. Japs recovered part of ₱40,000 and paid rest and returned one can of sardine, apologized, explained: “you see the men were hungry and had not yet eaten.”

Tragic part of story is that the wife thought her husband was going to be released. Mrs. Jose Yulo, sister of Araneta called her up and said, “Coring, come with me because this afternoon Col. Nagahama has invited us for a cocktail.” Nagahama promised to speed up Araneta’s investigation. He explained that it was because they suspected him of listening to short wave broadcasts. It is evident, however, that the colonel did not know what was happening in his own office and it was possible that at the time of the party Araneta was already dead.

Mrs. Araneta believes her husband died because he was very worried about his daughters whom Araneta loved very much. But, she is taking her husband’s death very calmly because she is resigned to her fate.

To make matters worse, Araneta’s home is being taken by the Navy. The family is now packing up and they don’t know where to transfer. They need not worry about having a home, however, because many families are willing to share their homes with them. A bomb also dropped at the Araneta garden during last Tuesday’s raid. Their house was covered partially by earth and their glasses broke. Apparently the American plane was hit and the aviator was looking for a vacant lot in which to dislodge his bombs and then to land. He found the garden which is quite spacious between the Araneta home and the Hernaez residence. He let go his bombs before plummeting to earth.

There were many visitors offering condolences to Araneta family. Mr. Ramon Araneta is a well known social figure in Manila. At present, one of his daughters is in the United States. The mother cries when she thinks of this girl who will return home and find her family without a home and above all —-without her father.

To all this, Japs have said ———-So sorry!


November 14, 1944

Manilans are excited, morale has soared and there are bright smiles on the faces of everyone you meet on the streets. All day yesterday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for almost every hour, U.S. planes bombed and rebombed Jap installations in the City. There are fires all around: two in the direction of Murphy, three in the area around Nichol’s Field, and one, big blazing hell around the Pier area.

Talk of “landings in Luzon” is in everyone’s lips. Some think Mac is now somewhere in Camarinez, others that American marines have taken positions in Tayabas and still others think that the shelling of Batangas coast has started. Others believe that “landings will be effected on the 15th, Commonwealth anniversary” and some are of the opinion that “landings will be effected within this week in Luzon”. All these opinions and beliefs and hunches tend to show one thing: the bombings have lifted morale, bolstered some weak spirits already on the downgrade due to marked decrease of aerial attacks on City and claims of Jap victories off Philippine waters by Radio Tokyo and “slowing down of Leyte operations”.

Everybody agrees that yesterday’s air raid was the “strongest and longest” ever experienced by this City but the main highlight was that U.S. fighter plane that flew a few meters above old, historic Jones Bridge. “You could have hit it with a stone” said an eye-witnesss who was at the Escolta at the time. Japs machine-gunned the lw-flying plane but it swerved right back and strafed Jap vessels docked at the Pasig. People at the National Bank said that they could feel strong gusts of wind hitting their chests every time bombs were dumped at several Jap boats at the Boulevard. No Jap planes flew up to challenge the Americans. “But,” said someone “tomorrow’s paper will claim that Jap planes repelled American attackers and that very little damage was done to military installations and that great casualties inflicted on civilians.”

I was all dressed up yesterday to go to Monching Araneta’s burial when all of a sudden I saw hundreds of planes swooping down on Murphy. I could distinctly hear the rat-a-tat of the machine-guns. Then the earth began to shake and mama started shouting for “Dolly and Neneng” to go to the shelter. Then the siren sounded and the Japns on the other house started scrambling for their foxholes. Several AA shrapnel dropped in the garden and one AA shell fell short and burst beside the Jap sentry on the corner of the street beside the house. The Jap ran inside our garden and his face was pale and lips were trembling and he kept pointing at his feet making signs to show that one big chunk of iron passed a few inches between his legs.

There was no light until six o’clock yesterday. Electrical communications were destroyed. A lot of the meat and fish we had stored up on the frigidaire got spoiled and the electric stove couldn’t be used. Ma had to do the cooking on native stoves with firewood. Our telephone went “dead” too because the lines around Santa Mesa were either “sabotaged” or grounded. Radio broadcasting was blocked off and the only way to get news was by short-wave but my radio was out of order. I went to the radio man to fix it up and he promised to have it ready for today. On the way, there were very few people on the streets and almost everybody was walking. All Jap soldiers were wearing their battle-uniforms, steel helmet, fixed bayonets and camouflage-nets all around their bodies. All Jap girls were wearing slacks clipped around the ankle. I met a friend and he shouted: “Business is very good, a lot of gains and the balance has been definitely in our favor. We may expect dividends any day now. The competing firm is about to close down, in a few weeks.”

Early this morning, we had another raid just before breakfast time. I was beginning to feel sad when I woke up because I thought there would be no raids today. When all of a sudden, the siren sounded and then I heard the distinct roar of U.S. planes. Yes, its another raid. Looks like we will have plenty of visits today. Come on Mac.


November 12, 1944

Typhoon is over, the sun is up again and the sky has brightened to a clear blue. The bird that perches on the tree near my window is there again, fluttering its wings and in a while I’m sure it’ll begin to twitter.

No planes this morning. Everybody was expecting them today because they’ve visited us every Sunday morning for the last three weeks. We woke up early this morning because we thought the planes were sure to come. There were many people in Church and everybody hurried home because “they’ll come around breakfast time”.

Instead of the planes came bad news. Ramon Araneta who was brought to Fort Santiago two nights ago died in one of the dungeons. The Japs called up his daughter and said that she could take her father’s corpse. Mrs. Araneta does not know that her husband has died. All Manila knows about this “sudden” death. Everybody thinks that Ramon was tortured. The Japs went up to his house at midnight, searched every nook and corner, every drawer, behind portraits and tapped the panels and floors, questioned his wife, daughters and servants. They they told Ramon to dress up and they took him with them. I was in their house yesterday and three Japs investigated one of Ramon’s maids and they brought her to Fort Santiago also.

This death has shocked Manilans and if the Japs think this will intimidate the people, they are very mistaken. The reaction has been the contrary. More young men want to go to hills. Vengeance is in every heart. His burial will probably look like a demonstration as Ramon is very well known. His death is the fourth in a row. First, Teddy Fernando; then Almazan; recently Preysler, whose wrists and ribs were smashed; and now –Ramon Araneta. Conversation now-a-days is nothing but of Jap atrocities. The greatest propaganda agency for America is not the Voice of Freedom or KGEI or Free Philippines but Fort Santiago.

General impression downtown is that the Leyte invasion has bogged down because of the typhoon and mud and arrival of Jap reinforcements. Some think Luzon liberation will begin only after Leyte has been completely liberated. Others insist that Mac will “pocket” Japs in Ormoc and then “hop” on to Manila.

Meanwhile, Japs are getting stricter, more brutal and desperate. Filipinos have to submit to the indignity of being searched by Jap sentries in almost every street corner. Fort Santiago has arrested many Bataan and Corregidor veterans. They are alarmed at reports of enthusiastic collaboration of Filipino populace in Leyte and Samar and great activities of guerrilla units. It is not an uncommon sight to see dead bodies thrown in public highways. Four days ago, a naked corpse with ten bayonet stabs was sprawled in the small plaza between the Legislative Building and City Hall.

Food situation is getting more acute. Yesterday, a man entered the house and he was thin, haggard, skeletal, with a wound on his feet. He asked for “a little rice or soup or anything”. More such walking-corpses can be seen all over Manila as Jap trucks speed through streets loaded with sacks of rice and vegetables.

Many Jap soldiers in Manila now, probably getting ready to move to battle areas. Some reinforcements to Leyte are being sent to Sorsogon where they go on small launches to Ormoc or Carigara. Very few Jap trucks in City. Soldiers walk. Army men now wear their battle uniforms, steel helmets and camouflage-nets. They stop cars, rigs, bicycles. They confiscate all forms of transportation. The Jap Army is desperate. It has its back against the wall. But before they go hungry, the civilian population will have to suffer first. Hope lies in Mac. Come on America!


November 10, 1944

Announcement of Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita’s appointment as Commander-in-Chief of Japanese forces in Philippines has served to bolster Japanese morale recently on the downgrade due to successive U.S. gains in Central and SW Pacific, Leyte landings, inability of Japanese planes to combat U.S. raiders.

Main reason for relief of Lt. Gen. Shigenori Kuroda as Philippine Commander-in-Chief of Jap forces was due to air attack on Luzon by Halsey’s fleet on September 21 which caught Japanese Army completely by surprise.

When extent of damage caused by said raid to military personnel and installations was determined, Tokyo sent Lt. Gen. Takahashi to Philippines to replace Lt. Gen. Kuroda. But the new Commander-in-Chief made a serious political blunder, a few days after holding office. He immediately ordered the dissolution of the Philippine Constabulary due to reported mass “desertions” of P.C. garrisons in various provinces. This order was made without previous consultation with Puppet Jose Laurel, who is making strong efforts to convince himself that he is not a puppet. Puppet Laurel complained to Premier Koiso because he claimed Takahashi’s act was flagrant disregard of Philippine Republic which created Constabulary. This led to appointment of Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita.

Japs attach great importance to Leyte operations. E. Masatomi, Jap editor and columnist of Tribune, privately opined that “if we lose the Philippines, we lose the war”. He expressed strong belief, however, in ability of Jap forces under Yamashita to retrieve lost ground in Leyte and pointed to unceasing Jap attempts to reinforce Leyte garrisons under Lt. Gen. Makino.

During last few weeks, more or less, since naval battle off Philippines, several Jap ships have been able to land troops in Manila. Newly arrived troops looked haggard, weary and hungry. Some were asking for food from passers-by and many were asking if this was Australia. Evidently, Japs are not being told of reverses.

Meanwhile, Japs are rushing troops to probable landing points in coastal towns of Luzon. Trains are exclusively for Army use. Trucks, cars are being commandeered. Even bicycles are being taken on the spot as need arises. Downtown Manila is now filled with Jap soldiers walking around trying to find transportation.

Food situation is getting more acute. Rice is at ₱5,600.00 per sack and a kilo of pork costs ₱250.00. A banana –only available fruit– costs over ₱3.00. It is not an uncommon sight to see lean, hungry, dirty-looking men and children begging for “a little rice or anything” in Manila streets. Some persons search garbage cans for food or scrape the rice that trickles from Jap trucks carrying supply of rice to quartermaster depots.

Former Chinese consul of Iloilo, Cabo Chan is reported forcing rich Chinese in City to contribute sums ranging from ₱20,000.00 to ₱1,000,000.00 for creation of some sort of Chinese Army for the protection of Chinese under the sponsorship of Japanese Army. Those who do not contribute are brought by Japs to Fort Santiago and are kept under lock and key until they give their contribution.

Japs are now unable to ship rice from port of Aparri to Manila due to intensified submarine activity around Philippine waters. They are making preparatory moves towards unifying BIBA with Jap rice control whereby arrangement may be had giving Japs authority to draw from rice supply of Central Provinces.

When friends meet downtown, instead of talking about weather, usual greeting is “when?” and generally the answer is “very soon, maybe before the end of the month”. Most pessimistic view is “After Christmas, maybe!”


November 9, 1944

Just woke up from my siesta because the rain was entering the window. It looks like a strong typhoon. The Weather Bureau now under Japanese control refuses to give warning as to the strength of the typhoon. Dad thinks its No. 3 but that the vortex will not hit Manila. This kind of weather will hamper smooth operation of MacArthur’s offensive in Leyte and naturally the invasion of Luzon.

Manilans are now very impatient. Everybody is asking “When?” but then everybody answers the question with “not later that this month, of course.” Some think “After the typhoon, but definitely.” Others ask: “Will it be after Leyte and Samar have been completely taken?” or “Will they just pocket the Japs and skip to Tayabas or Camarines or Batangas or in all these three potential landing points at one time?”.

Guerrillas are getting ready for the zero hour. When the time comes, MacArthur’s troops will get determined assistance from the rear. Many young men are “going up”. Maybe they’re “up” already. I have been called for next Tuesday.

Pagulayan was brought to Fort Santiago yesterday. He was very ill with probably stomach ulcers. His sons came home and they were crying. This is the second time he is brought in. Papa guaranteed his good behavior with his life. My dad is very sad.

Dids Adriano was taken in also. They said he was buying grenades for guerrillas. He was apparently brought in by a Jap spy who “planted” the grenades.

Colonel Juan Moran was also picked up by the M.P. He was apparently lured by the notorious Madame Pansani who they claim is a spy also working for the Japanese.

No planes today. Japanese or American. Once a truck passed and I thought it was a plane. Japs are able to sleep these days. They are sure there will be no bombing while the typhoon continues. I hope the Americans arrive when the sky brightens.

And they better come before the year ends because the food situation is getting worse and worse. Rice costs ₱5,600 a sack.

Today’s Tribune announced Yamashita, Singapore’s conqueror, is the new Commander-in-Chief of the Philippine sector. There were also a lot of news stories about how Jap Kamikaze unit dives into aircraft carriers. Somebody remarked: “Why do they toot their horn so much about their readiness to die?” What about those American pilots diving at the Jap airfields and strafing from a stone’s-throw altitude?

Good crack I heard: Jap communiques always speak of planes that have not yet returned to their base after a daring attack on enemy positions. Somebody said: I was trying to see in today’s paper if those planes have already returned to their base.


November 7, 1944

Saw some of the Jap troops that arrived recently. They looked haggard, unkempt, underfed. Their shoes were made of black cloth and some were dragging their feet. Their uniforms were very dirty and smelly. Many of them were asking the people downtown if they were in Australia. No doubt Japanese people are being duped by their leaders.

Listened to the Voice of Freedom from Leyte yesterday. Heard Brig. Gen. Romulo speaking. I immediately recognized his voice although at times it sounded tired and far away. Then the Philippine National Anthem was played and I felt like crying. The last time I heard the Voice of Freedom was in Mt. Mariveles. I was lying on the ground, shivering with malaria. Brig. Gen. Lim of the 41st and Brig. Gen. de Jesus of the Military Intelligence Service were listening too. It was April 8th, the night the lines broke in the eastern sector. The Voice said: “Bataan has fallen but its spirit will live on forever….” there were other weary-looking, haggard Filipino officers under the tall trees of Mariveles that night gathered around the radio. All of us had tears in our eyes. Gen. Lim wiped his eyes with a dirty handkerchief and Gen. de Jesus turned around because he did not want to show his feelings.

Heard Clift Roberts speaking from Gen. MacArthur’s headquarters to Blue Network last night. He was poking fun at Radio Tokyo. He said that the soldiers in Leyte listened to Radio Manila and Tokyo for fun. Imagine the difference! Here under the Jap rule, we listen at the risk of our lives. One man was shot for listening in on KGEI.

Walter Dunn speaking to CBS described the rehabilitation work now being undertaken in Leyte. He said bananas cost 1 centavo each; now they cost ₱2.20 in Manila; Eggs at 3 centavoa piece in Leyte and here it costs ₱10 each; corned beef, .13 and here ₱25.

Its raining this morning. Maybe there won’t be any raids. I watched the planes yesterday afternoon hitting Murphy and U.P. site in Quezon City. They kept circling and diving over their objectives and there was practically no ground nor air resistance.

I don’t know why but my Jap neighbor came to the house yesterday. He was full of explanations. “We are just drawing them in”, he explained. I did not say a word. He also stated that their Number 1 General is here. General Yamashita, conqueror of Singapore. Gen. Kuroda is now in Baguio, he revealed.

Walked down V. Mapa with Johnnie and Eddie. We didn’t bow before the sentry. He got sore, called Johnnie. Eddie and I remained on the other side of the street. Johnnie bowed before him. “Discretion is the better part of valor,” said Johnnie.

Jap Military Police are now very active, taking people to Ft. Santiago on mere suspicion. One house near Johnnie’s was raided by about fifty M.P.’s with fixed bayonets. They arrested two doctors living there. According to rumors, the two doctors have already been killed.

The Japs have their backs against the wall. They are fighting a losing fight. Their actions are desperate. They’re commandeering all forms of transportation. Any rig they see, they take. They got all horses. They’re taking bicycles too. Filipinos can’t even ride streetcars these days. Its only for Japs. Everything in the market is being taken by them. They are the only ones using cars. Most Filipinos walk. Somebody said “They might take our legs too.” One fellow laughed at the idea. “I’m not wisecracking,” said the first fellow. “If they take our lives, why not legs.”


November 6, 1944

More bombings yesterday at 12, 2 and 4. Then early this morning at 4 and at 8:30 the Pier area was strafed and bombed. There were many ships there because several Jap divisions arrived. They probably came from Singapore.

Just received a phone call from Ning. He says that a bomb hit Paco Bridge. It was probably accidental. So far practically all bombs have been directed at military installations. In fact, most of the casualties have been caused by the shrapnel from Jap AA guns. One shell burst right in Julito’s room destroying his wardrobe and the walls of his house. His Jap neighbor ran to his hous to find out what happened. The Jap said “indiscriminate bombing by the Anglo-Saxons”. Then Julito picked up one of the fragments and it had a Jap inscription.

Right now we are still under ‘alert’. That means I can’t go out of the house this morning because the Jap sentries stop everybody on the way. They ask for passes or permits and I haven’t any.

There were several fellows here yesterday and the conversation was all about the bombing, of course. Julito thinks they will land in Luzon before Elections. James claims that Atimonan is already being shelled. Mama expects landings somewhere in Batangas. If Mama is right, we may see Romulo and Osmeña and Valdes and good old Mac before the 15th. Batangas is just about fifty miles from Manila.

Deputy Military Governor Figueras was here last night. He said he was called by President Laurel because the President had issued a confidential order “conscripting all able-bodied men from 15 to 50 for labor purposes”. Personally, I believe that labor conscription is worse than military conscription. Under military conscription, you at least get armed and then if you feel like turning around, you can do something about it. With labor conscription, you become human fodder. Imagine having to work in airfields, shipyards and military establishments. Figueras said Laurel told him “Fix this order up to make it look voluntary. The Japs demand Filipino labor for their roads, airfields and military installations.” Figueras said he will try to fix it up to permit substitution. This is a bad arrangement, in my opinion, because only the rich will be able to ‘buy’ substitutes. Figueras said he told Laurel that all young men will go up to the hills if this is publicized. It must be enforced quietly through the neighborhood associations.

Paier, our Swiss neighbor was crying yesterday. He received word that his best friend Carlos Preysler died in Fort Santiago (he must have been tortured to death). Teddy Fernando, a friend of mine from the Ateneo, was arrested a few months ago and his wife recently received word that she may get his corpse from Santiago. After this war, there will probably be many Jean Valjean stories about Santiago.

I’m still very depressed about the news of Eking Albert’s capture. He was actively engaged in guerrilla warfare especially after his daring escape from Muntinglupa Prisons where he was a military prisoner. Raul, who is also in the hills, wrote me a sad account of Eking’s capture. That means that 3 of my close friends are gone. Paquing who disappeared in Cabiao; Johnnie Ladaw who died in Bataan and now… Eking. Of course, there is a chance that Paquing is still alive. Who knows, he may still be in some underground unit?

I’m going to take my breakfast now. I wonder what it is. I haven’t eaten eggs for months now. It costs ₱10. When will I taste bread again and ham and… oh well. Probably it will be a little rice and dried fish because the cook was not able to go to market yesterday. And I don’t think he’ll be able to go today also. It’s good we still have a little supply of canned goods, which we bought four years ago. Heard Dunn of CBS kicking about corned beef the other night in a broadcast to America, imagine!

There goes the siren again….