July 10, 1942

Thinking of Pagu. At a dinner at the Hotel with Major Nishimura, I asked about Pagu. The interpreter said in broken Spanish: “Ese para muerto ya” and he made a gesture with his hands as though slitting his throat. I got pale. I said: “But he is a very good man. He is very needed in the Naric. And what he did was nothing. Everybody had these leaflets. I also.” The interpreter laughed.


July 9, 1942

Invited to a pancitada by Dr. Gregorio San Agustin at a dinner by the Bureau of Animal Industry to some 20 Japanese veterinarians.

Fukada, Naric Supervisor-de-Facto, notified me that all goods of the National Trading Corporation at 1010 Azcarraga had been taken by the Army.

Told Philip to stop listening to foreign broadcasts. You can’t trust the servants.


July 8, 1942

Mr. Toyama, a very nice, educated Japanese, employee of Mitsui, will teach the family Japanese, twice a week in the evenings. My son Vic refused to study. He said “It’ll be a dead language, after this war.” I told him: “You don’t lose anything by studying Japanese.”

Naric Inspection Division will now survey the makers of “Puto” and “bibingka” on a large scale. Naric will sell binlid directly to those large-scale makers.

Went home early. Listened to KGEI but there was too much static.


July 4, 1942

No parades, no celebrations—in public.

Cozy little parties, drinks, dancing, singing—in private.

The Filipinos have learned to celebrate on July 4th.

More trouble from Mr. Inada. Mr. Felix Gonzalez, formerly Bulletin reporter, presented his resignation. Said he couldn’t stand Inada’s arrogance. Inada shouted at Gonzalez for not knowing mess hall regulations. Gonzalez answered him in an equally strong way. Inada remained silent.

Some people were expecting American planes to drop one-ton bouquets.

Told the boys in the office: If any Japanese in this office hits you, hit them back. If they bring you to Fort Santiago, I’ll go with you…

Conching’s birthday. The family had lauriat.


July 3, 1942

Am writing a letter to Fort Santiago requesting the release of Pagulayan and Unson. Will give the following reasons:

(1) They are good, useful men.

(2) They have excellent records in the government service.

(3) Whatever propaganda they disseminated has been checked.

(4) They have been more than sufficiently penalized.

I also offered the guarantee Pagu’s good conduct with my life.

Lolita praying for their release. She sent Pagu a medal of Santa Teresita.

Played tennis and bowling.


July 2, 1942

Mr. Nakashima, Assistant Supervisor-de-Facto, has taken charge of the purchasing of spare parts. Naric needs a two-year supply, at least. Honesty is essential in this task.

Mr. Fukada reported that the Army is ready with soldiers for Nueva Viscaya purchases. Next move depends on the Naric, he stated.

The body of a Japanese soldier was found floating on the banks of the Pasig River.

Philip told us many stories about Bataan. He attributed the USAFFE’s defeat to two things:

(1) the meager, almost nil, food ration; and

(2) the complete aerial superiority of the Japanese.

“We were like rats,” he said, “only worse. When Japanese planes swept down, bombing, strafing… the only thing to do was to bury yourself under the ground. If you were lucky, you came out alive with earth all over your face and body. If you were unlucky…” He did not continue his sentence.

The ration in Bataan was a handful of “lugao” every day, nothing more. “It was a pitiful sight,” he said, “to see soldiers hardly able to lift their rifles, extending their hands to their officers, begging for food.”

Philip said there were no replacements in the front lines. While the Japanese forces used fresh troops, the USAFFE did not have enough men to cover the front lines. The same troops stood in the front from January to April, from morning to evening and morning again, till the lines finally broke before the ceaseless firing, bombing and shelling of the Japanese forces.

He explained that the only thing that kept the spirits of the boys alive was the hope of the convoy. “We were told that the convoy was on the way. And so we waited and waited. I have actually seen officers standing on the shores, scanning the seas, looking for the convoy. Sometimes they would see a wave and they would say, ‘There… that look like the spearhead of the convoy.’ We were like thirsty men in a desert, scanning the sands for an oasis. But the convoy did not arrive. Next week, they would say. Then it was ‘in a month,‘ ‘in two months,’ in three… never!”

He said that he was not sorry he went to Bataan. Aside from the satisfaction of serving his country, he looked at it as a post-graduate course in a University. It was educational, he pointed out. It was life.

Somehow man understands life better in the face of death.


June 30, 1942

Lifted my telephone, overheard a conversation:

“Don’t you recognize me?”

“Who… who are you?”

“Guess.”

“I can’t imagine. If you don’t tell me who you are, I will have to close the phone. I do not speak to strangers.”

“It’s me darling, it’s me. Teddy.”

“Darling… Teddy… you’re back… oh, I’m so happy.”

“I’m so happy too. I never dreamt I’d be able to hear your voice again.”

“Tell me how you are? Are you all right? Have you also got malaria?”

“Yes, once in a while. Had an attack yesterday. But let’s not talk about myself. How are you? Have you put on weight? Do you still play tennis? Can… can I see you tomorrow?”

“One at a time, Ted. Yes, I’m alright. I lost weight. And of course, you can see me tomorrow. First thing in the morning. And you’re going to have lunch with me. And by the way, bring Johnnie along, too.”

“Oh Johnnie… why, he… he…”

“Don’t tell me that Johnnie…”

“Yes… while on patrol… Please tell Nena. He told me that in case he doesn’t come back to tell Nena he was always thinking of her. He seemed to have a premonition.”

“How can I tell her that?”

‘‘That was his last wish.”

“Is there no chance of his being alive?”

“I’m afraid not, besides… oh, well, we had better talk about this in your house. Not over the telephone.”

I’ll wait for you tomorrow, then.”

“By the way, Mary … do you … do you still love me? Or is there someone else?”

I closed the phone. That would be eavesdropping!

 


June 28, 1942

Tears.

Tears of joy.

Mothers embracing sons as they walked out of the prison camp in O’Donnell.

It was the most touching sight ever seen in this country. The defeated troops have been allowed to return to their homes.

The Tribune carries the picture of a Filipino private with his USAFFE cap walking with a piece of stick on one hand, to support his thin body. On his haggard face, was a faint smile. He had done his duty to his country. His family surrounded him and his mother was supporting his left hand.

There were tragedies too.

Some boys died on the train on their way home. Release had come too late.

One mother arrived in camp very happy. She brought a jitney for her son. When his name was called, there was no son. The mother was worried. One soldier said: “He just died, madam.”

Even Japanese soldiers watching the meeting between parents and sons who had served their country shed tears.

War is blood and tears.

 


June 26, 1942

Guerillas have answered the Japanese warning. They posted bills all over downtown Manila exhorting the Japanese to surrender to them.