October 16, 1944

A very rainy day. The shelter’s full of water and no bombs. Several Japanese planes were flying but none of ours. A lot of people are disappointed. They expected them again today.

The Japanese have spread their ammunition dumps all over the city. In front of Hicky’s and Gabaldon’s and the street leading to the house and beyond there are a lot of boxes under the trees. Taft Avenue is exclusively for Army cars and trucks. Streetcars are also for Army and Navy men only. There’s a rumor that cars, dokars and bicycles will be commandeered. That’ll leave us with practically nothing. They’ve taken our food, our shelter and now –transportation.

The Japanese claim they sunk 12 aircraft carriers. “We’ve driven them off,” they boast. “No,” added another, “we sunk them all.” That’s why I’m disappointed. I wanted them to come to make these fellows eat their words.

Tio Phil thinks this was just a diversionary raid. Their main objective is Formosa, he said. They sent a couple of carriers here to mislead the Japs, he opined.

America is still silent about yesterday’s raid. Some say Aparri was terribly bombed. That’s what I think. In my opinion, the air raid over Manila was just a feint. They were after some big game up north.

Most of the casualties were due to AA fire. A child sleeping in a nipa hut near the cook’s house was hit by a shrapnel that entered through the roof. A cochero harnessing his horse had a narrow escape when a shrapnel hit the horse.

I have a feeling they’ll come tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed.


October 15, 1944

Hooray, there were here again… this morning. They came at about 10 o’clock, after Mass. Of course, you know who I mean by “they”.

Japanese planes went up this time. People said there were many dogfights around Caloocan. Several civilians were killed.

I saw a heartbreaking sight. An American aviator bailed out. First, he looked like a toy dangling on a white umbrella. Then his figure became more distinct and people started shouting “Parachute, parachute!”. When he was just above the housetops, Japanese soldiers started firing at him. I even heard the rat-a-tat of machine guns. Made my blood boil, this slaughtering of a fellow that’s defenceless. Can’t conceive how the Japanese can interpret such an act as bravery.

No more raids this afternoon. The radio is announcing this results. All-clear has been sounded. A Japanese major –our neighbor– visited us this afternoon and there was a smile on his face. “We drove them off,” he boasted and “12 aircraft carriers were sunk”. I wonder if that’s true. Maybe there is something to it because not so many bombs were dropped and they didn’t come back anymore. I’m sure there was not much damage this time, as compared to the first raid. First of all, the Japanese were not caught by surprise. Secondly, they had enough time to spread their supplies and to even intercept. I didn’t feel the ground shaking like last time. And unlike the first raid, I actually saw many Japanese planes scouring the skies. I’ll listen to KGEI tomorrow to see what America has to say about this raid. Personally, I have a feeling they didn’t do so well. I hope I’m wrong.

Several of the boys that came to the house to play basketball believe this is the prelude to invasion. “The raids won’t stop anymore,” they say. One fellow said this was Halsey’s fleet on its way back to its base after the Formosa raid. Oh well, let’s wait and see….


October 14, 1944

Today’s the first anniversary of the Philippine Republic, heh, heh. Puppet Laurel declared: “The first-year of the Republic has been a success”. He forgot to say that during this republic’s first year, the people have had less and less food. The BIBA has distributed rice only three or four times. There has been no peace and order, no….. oh why crab about it.

More houses are being taken. Revilla’s house is being taken by the MP and so is Dr. Vazquez’. Tio Gabriel complained to Mayor Figueras because Japanese soldiers entered his garden and take a bath under one of the faucets, and they enter his house and sit on his porch!

Tio Phil said that the Japanese will commandeer cars beginning today. We better hide the Buick. As a matter of fact, a Jap went over to the garage of Tia Mameng and wanted to commandeer her car. They’ve taken her house, now her car. When will these people leave us? Tio Gabriel said that someday they’ll take the air we breathe.

People expect bombing today. I’m crossing my fingers. There are many Japanese planes flying right now….


October 13, 1944

Manila

Tribune headlined U.S. raid on Taiwan. They claim that a hundred U.S. planes were shot down. I wonder how much damage was done. Question is now being raised as to whether the U.S. will attack Formosa before the P.I.? Or is the Formosa raid just a diversionary attack? Or will they head for the Japanese mainland immediately?

All-clear sounded this afternoon. People are disappointed. “When, when, when will they come?” is on everybody’s lips. Some think “Maybe they won’t be here before Christmas” but nobody doubts that “they’ll be here before January”.


October 12, 1944

Haven’t written for more than a week because I’ve been sick. Got attacked by malaria again. Thought I had ice in my blood. Shivered like the dickens. Went to Lolo Pepe’s house yesterday. When I entered the door, I knew something wrong was happening. There was nobody around. I went to the old man’s room. Everybody was crying. He was agonizing. Cancer. He died at exactly 3 p.m. He is resting now. He was a grand fellow. He wanted to live, I think, just to see how this war was going to end. His daughter said his last word was: “I can’t anymore.” May he rest in peace.

Alarm sounded this afternoon. About fifty Jap planes went up, practiced formation flying, simulated dogfights and imitated the way U.S. planes dove over the Bay Area. It was a poor imitation. They’ve got a new type of plane. If the Americans return or rather when they return, we will probably see good dogfights.

A Japanese visited Tio Phil and told him that 700 U.S. ships were sighted north of Luzon including 100 aircraft carriers. I wonder if this is the invasion fleet, cross your fingers.


October 2, 1944

When you meet a friend in the street today or anywhere for that matter, the first thing said instead of the usual “nice weather eh” is “Well when do you think?” or “How long more?” and you are expected to say “very soon, man, maybe in a day or so” otherwise you are apt to be taken for a defeatist or a pro-Jap. And then you lower your voices and look around you and then “You’ve probably heard the latest from KGEI, haven’t you?” and of course the answer is “You bet, so many more miles to Berlin and the British Navy is already in the Indian Ocean and so many Jap planes and ships sunk here and there, heh, heh.” And of course, if the conversation gets prolonged it usually turns to the food situation. “Wothedickens, did you know how high rice is at present?” and “while we Filipinos starve, the Japs are giving white rice to their horses, to hell with co-prosperity.” And this is the usual end of all talk: “With all this obvious unfairness and oppression, how the hell can that guy Aquino and Laurel be such pro-Japs?” …. oh well!!

Still no bombing, still no landing, still no nothing…. if that’s grammatically correct!


October 1, 1944

These days, everything is haywire. Telephones don’t work. Newspapers arrive three to four days later. No gas-men nor refrigerator mechanics nor electrician when you need them. Life is getting harder day by day. Dad’s car has no battery and he can’t get a new one. There’s hardly any more alcohol for the car. And the whiskey I drank yesterday must have been some sort of a poison for my head still aches. If the Philippines is not liberated before the year ends, we will all be at the end of the rope and then God knows what kind of a life we will eke out!


September 30, 1944

Went to the Jai Alai. It will be open only on Sundays. Lost thirty pesos betting on Elizondo and Arana. I dislike the game and the players that go into histrionics and cry to the high heavens everytime they miss a shot. There were a lot of people and many of them were drinking and talking about the recent bombing of Manila. That surprise raid seems to be the only topic these days and the question is still “When will they commence landing operations?”

Went to Tommy Lichauco’s home yesterday. The Navy has sealed his house and they gave him twenty-four hours to vacate it. “We need the tower of your house,” they explained, “for strategic reasons”.

I accompanied Tommy to Deputy Governor Figueras at the City Hall. Figueras told him that the Navy was not authorized to take such an act. “That is not in accordance with our agreement,” said the deputy military governor.

Figueras called the Naval Attaché, a certain Miyasaki, who spoke Spanish well, having stayed in Argentina for quite a time. The Naval Attaché said that he told Tommy that the Navy needed his house in “a week or so or more”. Tommy denied it flatly and the Attaché began to stammer and Figueras said that the procedure would be corrected. The Vice-governor promised to assist Tommy.

Ate lunch today at the Gastronome. It was a poor meal and the bill was very high. Crame joined my table and he said that the Japanese are also taking his house. He was very enthusiastic about the bombing and he admired the bravery of the American aviators. “You should have sen how low they flew and how they dove to their objectives” he said.

Played basketball this afternoon but couldn’t stand one quarter because of the whiskey I drank at the Jai. We won the game anyway with Manolito Moran and Julito Francia scoring the most points.

P.S.

The houses of many rich landowners were searched by the Army yesterday in conjunction with officials of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. This is a desperate move, forced about by the acute rice shortage. People in the slums of Tondo and for that matter the average Manilan no longer eats rice. A sack of rice costs over ₱3,000. So that if you’re just a clerk or for that matter, even if you are a Minister, you won’t be able to afford the price of rice for your entire family, if you just stick to your salary. Leaner days are coming. Maybe we will still see blood being shed for food.


September 28, 1944

It’s been a very quiet day except for AA practice early this morning. The Japs are speeding up their defenses. They’re building fox-holes and dug-outs in their gardens. Saw seven AA guns and some cannons rumble through Valenzuela. Joe says they’ve put AA guns at Silencio, very near our old house. They are transferring their supplies into houses and churches. Jap trucks go in and out of Santa Cruz Church. Cine Oro is a volcano of shells. So is Tondo Church.

The Japs have become stricter with the American internees. They were sore about the way they waved at the U.S. planes that flew very low over the camp. All the houses behind Santo Tomas camp will be leveled. Guns will be emplaced over there.

Tia Mary said that two American fliers bailed out at Porac, Pampanga. The people hid them from the Japs. The Americans asked to be brought to Tayabas.

Main topic of conversation downtown is: when will they bomb again? Where will they land? Will they try to get Mindanao first? Or will it be simultaneous with Luzon? When they bomb again will that be a continuous non-stop bombardment till they land or will it be just a trial balloon? I’ve noticed that most people think they’ll bomb again “within the next few days and that’ll be accompanied with landings around Tayabas and Camarines simultaneous with Mindanao or they might even by-pass Mindanao and Visayas”. They think “it’ll be a combined attack by Nimitz’ fleet and Halsey’s and Mac’s Army and it’ll be over in a few weeks.” There is almost unanimity in the belief that “it’ll be over before the year ends” and anybody who thinks otherwise “is a yellow defeatist, a stupid, goodfornothing pessimist”. Somebody said “But look at Davao. They’ve been bombing her for more than a month now and still there are no landings” and the poor fellow was made to pipe down with a chorus of “you’re a wet-blanket, pro-Jap!”