June 2, 1942

More deaths in O’Donnell.

A mother heard her son was badly in need of medicine. She begged the authorities to let her see her son. After several days, her pleas were granted. She arrived in the prison camp with a doctor. When she saw her son, the last had just closed his eyes.

People are angry at Filipino high officials. Why don’t they make strong representations with the Japanese authorities? Why don’t they say bluntly, frankly, sternly that if as the Japanese claim, they are our “liberators,” then why don’t they free our sons and brothers and fathers and friends from the concentration camp?

My wife’s cousin broke into the house late last night with tears in his eyes. He received a crumpled sheet of paper from his son in camp. The boy was asking his father for medicine. He was very ill. My wife’s cousin wanted to find out if I could secure a permit to bring medicine for his son. “Surely,” he said, “there is nothing wrong in sending medicine to a dying son.” I brought him to Mrs. Vargas. She will try to use her influence. But maybe, it will be too late. I feel it in my bones.

A man came to the house this morning begging for alms. He was pale and thin and unkempt. He extended his hands tremblingly.

“Please, sir, can you give me some money? I would like to buy some medicine, sir.” His whole body was shivering.

I noticed his eyes. They seemed to be gazing nowhere. His eye sockets were yellow. But his eyes were piercing, penetrating and yet they looked dazed, unearthly.

I looked at his feet. They were swollen and his ankles were bandaged by black, dirty rags. They were feet that had walked and ran and had been soaked in mud and water.

He spoke haltingly, hesitatingly: “Sir, I am hungry. They did not want to give me food in the house over there. They told me I am strong enough to work. Please, sir, could you give me some food?”

This man, I thought, was no ordinary beggar.

“Who are you? I asked

He did not want to answer.

“Do not be afraid” I assured him.

And he told me his story.

“I was a soldier in Bataan. I escaped and walked through the mountains and the fields until I reached Manila. But when I arrived in my house, my family was no longer there. I do not know where they are. I cannot reveal to people that I am a soldier. The Japanese might arrest me.”

And then he opened his shirt. He had six wounds in his body. He was awarded the silver star for gallantry and the purple heart for his wounds.

I stood before the young veteran. Before me was a Filipino hero.

 


June 1, 1942

Constabulary Academy inaugurated. Graduates will be utilized as peace officers, according to Japanese authorities. Several hundred Filipino youths reported for training. People downtown do not look favorably at those who have joined the new constabulary. “Instead of fighting in Bataan, they fight for the enemy,” they comment. “They’ll be used as shock-troops by the Japanese,” others point out. A friend look at the point from a different angle. “Let more Filipinos,” he said, “join the Constabulary so they can get arms and then…”

Bought spare tires for my bike. Gasoline and alcohol are getting very scarce.

 


May 31, 1942

KGEI admitted the sinking of an Allied warship in the port of Sydney by the attack of a special Japanese submarine flotilla.

Rode in a calesa. Asked the cochero: “Who do you think will win the war?” I was curious to know the sentiments of the masses.

“The Americans!” he answered unequivocally.

“Why? “I asked to provoke him.

“Because MacArthur will get plenty of planes and then . . .”

“And then what?”

“Aba, señor, maybe you are from Fort Santiago and then you will report.”

“No, No. You can trust me. My son is in the Army. He is now in Capaz.”

“Ah, I wish I was also fighting in Bataan.”

“But why do you think the Americans will win?” I brought the subject back.

“How can these people win? Look at their trucks, cars, tanks, uniforms. Not so good. It looks breakable like Japanese toys.”

“Well, then, why did the USAFFE lose?”

He thought for a while. And then he said: “Because they were surprised. Even Jack Dempsey, I can knock out if I just hit him suddenly. But when MacArthur comes back with the flying fortress and the bombers and tanks, well, well…”

“What do you mean—well, well . . .”

“I mean it will be just very well, heh, heh, heh!”

“Well, stop out there at Tom’s, on that corner.”

I entered Tom’s. The place had a different atmosphere. The floors were wet and sticky. The people were not as well dressed as in the pre-war days. And the customers were different. There was a pianist playing “My Baby Don’t Care” and a fat lady was singing in a high falsetto.

“Coffee!” I told the waiter.

While waiting for the coffee, a hostess with gold teeth sat on my table. “Please,” she said in a state of semi-intoxication, “protect me from that brute.” She was pointing to a Japanese officer. I did not know what to say. “The Japanese…“ and she started giving a speech against Japan. “Don’t speak loudly,” I said. She spoke louder and louder. “Stop it!” I said. “This man here,” she said, “agrees with me!” “Stop it!” I said. “STOP IT! STOP!”

“Wake up, Vic,” said my wife.

 


May 29, 1942

Auditor Ishibashi and I agreed that any cash shortage or overage should be reported immediately to the Management by the Cashier.

Col. Uzaki will write a letter to the Executive Commission regarding the use of the land at the back of the Naric. We need more space.

Main building will be painted after construction of the garage has been completed.

Played tennis at Philippine Club. Fukada and Nakashima vs. Tanco and I. We defeated them.

 

 


May 27, 1942

Monthly consumption of tiki-tiki by Japanese Army is 6,000 sacks according to Mr. Kobatake.

Monthly quota to be covered by Naric in the provinces: Nueva Ecija—3,000 sacks; Bulacan—2,000 sacks; Tarlac—500 sacks.

Price of Tiki-tiki in Manila: Tiki-tiki No. 1 is ₱2.50 per sack of 48 kilos gross excluding sack; Tiki-tiki No. 2 is ₱2.00 per sack of 45 kilos excluding sack; Tiki-tiki No. 3 ₱1.50 per sack of 45 kilos excluding sack.

Mata-mata is ₱2.00 per sack of 45 kilos gross excluding sack. Binlid is ₱3.50 per sack of 50 kilos gross excluding sack.

Price in the provinces in 10 per cent less than the price in Manila without sack.

…Telephone calls, visitors, tiki-tiki, darak, mata-mata, binlid, rice rations, “Oh sir, the rice is brown,” “How do you arrange rice rations?”, “How about giving this voter a job for old time’s sake?”, Inada’s arrogance, Japanese suspiciousness, inability to understand each other’s language, threats, “You’re a pro-Japanese!”, “Why didn’t you open the bodegas?”, more war prisoners dying, send medicine for camp, so-and-so was slapped by Nakashima, boxed by Inada, that Filipino is an informer so be careful of him, Pagulayan, Unson, Fort Santiago, “I resign!”, “That’s hostile act, no you can’t resign!”… Life is a bloody nightmare!


May 26, 1942

The daughter of Consul Young of China was in the house yesterday. My children asked her if she has heard from her father ever since the Japanese arrested him. She shook her head and her eyes were red. She said: “They sent back his clothes and locks of his hair…”

There is news that Filipino war prisoners may soon be released. Deaths in camp keep on mounting. Fermin Fernando, Ateneo’s star basketball forward, died of cerebral malaria in camp.

Can still recall the Ateneo bleacher shouting “Ray Fernando, Ray Fernando!” and then the band would play “Hail Ateneo Hail”…

 


May 24, 1942

Inspected markets with Fukada and Sulit.

Mr. Nakashima took his ruler and started hitting a man who did not obey him immediately. Whenever I hear of these things, my blood boils. Told Mr. Fukada, Japanese Supervisor, to tell the Japanese staff not to raise their hands on Filipino employees. Otherwise I will not be responsible for what might happen. I pointed out.

It rained last night. I sleep well on rainy nights.

 


May 20, 1942

Names of streets changed. Dewey Boulevard to Heiwa Boulevard; Taft Avenue to Daitoa Avenue; Harrison Boulevard to Koa Boulevard; Jones Bridge to Banzai Bridge; Harrison Park to Rizal Park; Wallace Field to Plaza Bagong Filipinas.

Chairman Vargas explained: “The substitution, in place of the American names of certain streets, boulevards, parks and bridges in Manila with those denoting or referring to purely Japanese or Filipino ideas or persons will be a fitting tribute to the lofty aims of the Great Japanese Empire in establishing the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere under the slogan of Asia for the Asiatics.”

Vargas should read Shakespeare’s “What is in a name?”


May 18, 1942

Mt. Fukada ordered an increase in the number of rice dealers.

Ration at present is two gantas every four days.

Chairman Vargas desires the opening of rice distribution unit at the Mandaluyong cockpit in front of his residence. Will refer matter to the Japanese Supervisor.

Read Chairman Vargas’ speech after the parade held on May 18, 1942, “in celebration of the capture of Bataan and Corregidor.” He said in part:

“We are grateful for this victory because it has vindicated all Asiatic peoples whose rights and genius have been denied due recognition by Occidental civilization.

“More than the most enthusiastic congratulations, this moment calls for a strong avowal of gratitude for all that this victory means to us, for through the victory of Japan, the Philippines and the Filipino people have been spared further destruction and suffering.

“In the name of the Filipino people, I wish to congratulate you, on this memorable occasion, our warm congratulations on the astounding victory of the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy and our profound gratitude for the generosity and sympathetic understanding which the military authorities have consistently shown in the direction of our affairs.”

At that same moment, hundreds of Filipino soldiers were dying in the concentration camp in Capaz.