January 7, 1945

Sunday started out fine. Bombing started early this morning with dive bombers. They shook up Grace Park and what appeared to be along the river in San Francisco del Monte. The real fun started later when the four motored bombers came over. They sowed small demolition bombs over that area like scattering seeds. Never saw anything like it. It seemed that the whole place was blowing up at the same time. The windows shook here in Santo Tomas like in a heavy thunderstorm.

That is one thing we got out of this. We, on the third floor have a fine view of Grace Park, Quezon City, Camp Murphy, Zablan Field, and the Marikina Valley in the distance. We have a box seat that many people would gladly pay thousands of dollars to see. And it is quite safe in here. Our planes silenced a lot of Jap anti-aircraft guns today. The last time our planes were over today (that is about 3:30 p.m.) there was very little gunfire anywhere.

The Japs have been very busy all day. Packing up boxes and other baggage, loading it on carts and trucks and leaving the camp. It sure looks good now.

The story is that there will be 20 Jap soldiers to guard the camp and only six rifles for the men who are actually on post. The Internee guards will take over inside the fence. Maybe a rumor. We’ll know more later. Note: Lots of the Japs left but there are plenty of guards left.

We had rice and camotes fried together for supper — pretty good. But we will have good chow in a very few days.

Oh, the Japs killed the beef that we were in hopes of getting and took it with them. They also killed their pigs. Oh hum, we’ll get some one of these days


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 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 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 5, 1944

Just came out of the shelter so I’m quite dirty right now. The bombing was quite stiff and the mud on the sides started to scatter all over the place. I can’t stand the shelter so I went out to take a look at the dogfights. Saw a plane shot atop Camp Murphy. First it started to spin downward and then there was smoke and finally it lighted up in flames. I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad. I don’t know whether it was Jap or U.S. The bombing began at about 8 a.m., just after Mass and it ended at 8:30. They came back again at 10. I wonder if they’ll come back before this afternoon.

Perrucho was here and he was complaining about his salary. He is receiving ₱22o plus corn ration of 200 grams. That’s certainly not enough. A ‘papaya’ costs ₱50. If you take your lunch downtown, it’ll cost you around ₱300. Then, of course, the conversation was all about the war. People think Luzon will be invaded before the Elections. Anybody who thinks otherwise is considered a defeatist. Papa told us not to speak very loud because outside the house there is a Japanese sentry. The Japs are very strict these days.

Everything is quiet right now, although we are still under ‘alert’. The radio is still blacked out. If you look out of my window and the see the fields and the carabao wallowing in the mud near Tito’s shack, you’d think there was no war.

Now I can hear the motor of Jap planes. There are three of them flying near Murphy. There are four columns of smoke in the direction of Mandaluyong and another one around Pasay.

Mama’s calling me for lunch. She says we better eat early because they might come back again.

I listened to the press dispatches from Leyte last night. In fact, I’ve been listening for the last of three nights. I like the shows of Dunn, Flarety, Clint Roberts, Cummison and others. The Time Inc. story was also very good.

P.S.

This is shocking news. Eking Albert was captured. You probably heard of his escape from Muntinglupa and his guerrilla activities. He is a great loss. He had a thousand and one ideas and he had nothing but his country in mind. He is a great kid.

Because of Eking’s arrest and the arrest of Gen. de Jesus I am very cautious these days. I have made arrangements for a hurried escape, just in case the Japs start knocking at my door one of these nights.


September 21, 1944

[Note: after the last previous entry, April 20, 1942, the diary resumes at this point.]

U.S. planes bombed Manila this morning and afternoon. They came from the northeast like a hundred daggers stabbing through a cloudy sky. They were dark, thick-set, chunkily-built, short-winged, heavy-nosed birds. They had an ominous roar, that rose in an ever-deepening crescendo. They were flying confidently, serenely, masters of the tropic sky. They looked like eagles flying above old familiar haunts, searching for the hawks that once surprised them out of their nests. They were returning to their old home and in their wings they carried tons of revenge.

Mike and I were watching four Japanese planes simulating a dogfight while AA gunners fired smoke-shells at them. Then all of a sudden, Mike shouted: “Look!” He pointed a vast formation of light bombers. We started counting, 20, 40, 80, we gave up the idea. They were so many and they were coming from all directions. Then the AA guns started firing at them and the cannonading began to shake the house and the sky was filled with shell-bursts that looked like flowers blooming. But the planes flew on, on, on, steadily towards their objectives. Dad ran to the garden to watch the planes. They were flying in the direction of Nichols and Murphy. I ran to the window upstairs and I saw a sight that filled my heart with joy. Mike beside me had tears in his eyes. We saw those planes circling around Murphy and then one by one, they dove, dove, dove and the earth began to shake and the windows in my room started to rattle and then columns of smoke and flames rose from where they had dropped their cargoes. The girls ran to the air-raid shelter because by this time pieces of shrapnel were falling on the tennis court. A stray bullet pierced through the roof in grandpop’s room but no one was hurt. This was at 9:40 a.m. I looked at the time because I have been waiting for this sight for more than two years –since the bloody days of Bataan.

The planes came back again at 10, 10:30 and 11. Everybody at home was happy. “It won’t be long now.” Said Mike. The Japanese across the street were very nervous and the sentries ran to their houses to get their steel helmets. It was a funny sight.

In the afternoon, a Japanese soldier who spoke broken English came to the house. He said that the Pier area was bombed and rebombed and that two of his friends were killed. The poor soldier was very nervous and papa told me to give him a glass of water. But before I could get the water for him, the bombers were back again. Joe Meily and I climbed the roof of the garage and we watched them circling over the Bay area. They were flying very low but not a single Japanese plane came up to challenge them.

By night time, there were a dozen fires all around Manila. My aunt and cousins slept on the lower floor of their house “just in case they come again”. While I was just about to sleep, there was a very strong explosion that almost threw me out of bed. Vic says it may have been a time bomb. Then the phone rang. “At last, its fixed!” Says Vic. Bustamante was on the line. He reported that several people were killed in Quiapo by AA shrapnel. He also said that Manilans might have water by tomorrow morning as the Metropolitan Water District was doing its best to repair the broken pipes. I haven’t had a bath the whole day.


August 22-September 21, 1944

The partial blackout started on Aug. 22. There was an occasional practice air-raid alarm and one or two actual air-raid alarms during August and the early part of Sept.

From about Sept. 16 the Japanese were having anti-aircraft gun practice every morning and sometimes at night with dozens of searchlights. The blackout continued in effect.

On the morning of Sept. 21, the anti-aircraft were shooting at a towed target while a number of Japanese planes were circling and diving over the City and Harbor.

At about 9:20 a.m. a swarm of American planes appeared on the scene and blasted the plane and target from the air.

Suddenly the sky was full of American planes (est. 150-300). The bombing had gone 8 or 10 minutes before the air raid alarm sounded. We could see our planes dive through a curtain of anti-aircraft shells and release their bombs over their objectives. Two planes in particular made spectacular dives over Grace Park. After these planes had started two fires at that place they dived and strafed the field. The rattle of their machine guns could be plainly heard at Sto. Tomas.

Those two planes left and two more appeared and dived right into the smoke from the fires and when they pulled up another fire broke out.

The roar of exploding bombs and sharper rattle of anti-aircraft and machine guns was deafening.

Falling shell fragments and machine gun bullets were falling all over the compound. Two anti-aircraft shells exploded in the grounds.

The all-clear sounded at 11:30 a.m.

At about 2:45 p.m. more American planes came over. The air-raid signal did not sound until the bombing had been going on for some time.

We watched three planes bomb Camp Murphy. Several small fires started, probably trucks, as there was a motorpool in that neighborhood.

One of our planes was seen to explode over the waterfront. He had just gone into a dive and evidently a shell hit him and exploded the bombs as he went out in a flash.

Many fires were started in the bay, along the waterfront, Nichols Field and Neilson airport during the two raids. All clear went about 5:05 p.m.

One fire (evidently an ammunition dump or ship) burned until about 8:00 p.m. There were a number of small explosions and finally, with a flash that lit up the skies for miles around accompanied by a terrific explosion it went to kingdom come.

The City was blacked out all night but everything was quiet.


December 9, 1941

Some boys came to school, not knowing that classes had been suspended. The Fathers and the workers went to the seashore in the school bus to get sand with which to barricade the vestibule entrance with sandbags. A van came from Calamba with sacks and more sand from Pasay. It will take us more than a week to cover the windows and doors with about a thousand sacks of sand. We took off our habits and started to work. We were helped by some students and cadets.

By midmorning, we were taken aback by American soldiers installing a big anti-aircraft in front of Letran College. Two of the soldiers, soiled and emaciated, with their rifles hanging, approached me asking for confession. I invited them to the chapel. They knelt without putting down their rifles.

After hearing their confession and giving them communion, I asked them to take a cup of coffee. They said they came from Clark Air Base. The night before and early in the morning, the Japanese raid had caused enormous destruction. They could not tell how many American planes were burned or how many pilots, mechanics and officers were killed. Casualties were heavy on their side. They were scared, but they left Letran physically and spiritually relieved.

Other camps in the outskirts of Manila—Nichols, Murphy, McKinley—have suffered similar destructions. Fires can be seen from all over the city. From our roof, they look imposing. Witnesses inform us that many houses are burning in Baclaran.

In the afternoon, the anti-aircraft gun in front of Letran College was removed, to our great relief. The same thing is happening in other places where pieces of artillery had been installed. The military placed them, removed them. There seems to be widespread confusion in the military organization. Cars, trucks and buses ply about with a seeming lack of direction. The military have begun commandeering vehicles for the transport of military personnel. They pay well for their use or purchase.

The infernal barking of guns continued throughout the night. One could not tell whether they were firing at the planes, at people, at the lights, or at ghosts.

Heaps of bamboo poles were being burned during the night. They were arranged like fans and inverted cones. As they burned, they presented a pictureque and beautiful sight, if one was in the mood to enjoy the spectacle.

We were told that the youth would be called to active duty, especially those who had already been trained in college and those who had complied with military training in cadres. Many want to be reactivated, and they have volunteered. Most of them were told to wait. The country is in danger and the youth are anxious to defend her, but their services are not accepted. Here is an enigmatic irregularity that is hard to explain.


September 3, 1941

Our Q-Boat depth charge firing exercises against submarine targets will continue during the week to finally complete the training program. Then, I understand the selection Board headed by C,OSP Capt. Andrada will announce the permanently  designated officers and crew of Q-111 Luzon; Q-112 Abra; and Q-113 Agusan. There are only six slots for Os to come from fifteen prospective candidate that are undergoing this rigid training.  I am keeping my fingers crossed. For EMs, there will be only 17 coveted slots.

Aside from the FA, CAC, and PAAC Training Schools activated two days ago, the following Training Schools are activated today to train the hundreds Os being mobilized:

  • Medical School at Ft. McKinley under Maj. Joseph U. Weaver MC USA
  • Medical School at Camp Murphy under Maj. Jack W. Schwartz MC USA
  • QM & Motor Trpt. School at Port Area, Manila under Maj. Michael Quinn QMS
  • US Signal School at Ft. McKinley under Capt. Lassiter Mason SigC USA
  •  Engineers School at Ft. McKinley under Lt. Antonio C. Chanco CE PA USAFFE
  • Infantry Schools at every Mobilization Centers in all Military Districts.

Manila News today say Nazi forces overran Smolensk after three weeks fighting Stalin’s Army and is now about 200 miles from Moscow.  Meanwhile, British and Russian forces invaded Iran announcing their intention is only to get rid of German Agents and Technicians residing in Iran. They said their forces will withdraw as soon as the threat of German invasion or 5th Column Operation is nullified.