February 21, 1945

Weeks have passed since the start of a thorough attack on the south of the Pasig. The battle was bloody and although there were heaps of Japanese fatalities, there were very few prisoners. American casualties were heavy. The front line ran along behind San Luis Street, behind the Casino Español, City Hall up to Quezon Bridge. American artillery is demolishing the palace of the High Commissioner, the Army and Navy Club, the Bayview Hotel and the government buildings east of the Wallace Field. City Hall and the Post Office building also received their share of shells.

The shelling of Intramuros has begun. The Japanese are using the walls as mortar positions and defense walls. They launched a mortar attack on the tower of the UST main building, and another on the Education building.

American firing during the day is incessant, and by night, formidable. They are pulverizing the buildings between Taft Avenue and Burgos Street, and those of the Luneta. The clouds of smoke rise like a black torrent surging from the horizon and enveloping the sky. We are worried about the fate of the residents of Intramuros, trapped within its walls. We can only foresee unspeakable anguish and torture and a bloody agony in the hands of their tormentors.

The number of persons imprisoned is calculated to be around seven thousand, among whom were some forty missionaries, mostly Spanish, and some Filipino and Spanish Sisters.

The High Command, before dealing the final blow in Intramuros, appealed to the Japanese defenders to surrender in order to save so many innocent lives. Not receiving any response, they proposed the alternative of letting the civilians free with the assurance that all firing will cease for four hours. The time specified elapsed and no one went out.

The remaining Japanese troops are incessantly putting to action their plan of murder, suicide and devastation.

What are the Japanese achieving by these killings — of others and of themselves? By this destruction of the city and its landmarks? Instead of saving their faces, Oriental style, they will pass into eternity stigmatized by their barbarism and vandalism, and eternally hated by the Filipino people and nations whose citizens they have massacred.


September 23, 1944

Manila’s agog. Everybody’s talking and whispering and laughing and dreaming about the raid. Everybody feels the Americans will be here before Christmas. Somebody opined “around New Year” and he was branded a low-down defeatist. A thousand pseudo-generals have sprung with theories on how easily the Americans will retake Luzon.

Despite the very tense situation, Manoling’s wedding went on. Very few guests were able to attend the wedding, according to Vic. The Casino Español was unable to serve the breakfast because the servants didn’t show up. Vic Fernandez had to improvise on the organ because the organist was not able to go to church. The bride arrived late and the priest didn’t say Mass anymore. When my brother congratulated Manoling, the lovesick Romeo closed his eyes and sighed: “Ah, I made it!”.

Biked downtown with Joe Meily to see people. Most of the stores were closed. There were many people carrying bundles, perhaps evacuating. Saw many sailors lying on the grass under the trees in the Sunken Gardens. The poor fellows looked haggard and shell-shocked. A cochero said those sailors swam to shore.

Visited Ateta. She was beautiful, as usual. She was dressed in blue and I’ve got to admit my heart skipped a couple of beats. She’s not the type of girl that makes you feel like whistling when you see her. Her beauty inspires respect, the kind of adoration you’d give to an angel.

Sentries wouldn’t let me pass through Ayala Bridge. Joe had a permit but the insolent sentry wouldn’t even look at the pass. He just shouted “Kora!” and pointed his bayonet at us.

Still no water. The servants took three cans of water from a nearby well and I took a bath with that. The telephone has been dead the whole day. So far nothing has happened to the electric service.

Several AA shrapnel fell near Tio Phil’s house, killing a horse and a cat. One servant of Tio Charlie was wounded in the arm by AA shell-bursts and Tantoco’s milk-boy was killed by a stray bullet.

Provincial reports reveal that more than 120 Japanese planes were destroyed in Clark Field, Pampanga. About 80, were downed in dogfights. Our Japanese neighbor boasts that four U.S. aircraft carriers have been sunk off the eastern coast of Tayabas.

Two air-raid alarms this morning but no bombing. Saw four U.S. observation planes flying very high. There were still fires in the direction of the Bay area but I couldn’t ascertain what was burning. A Japanese soldier said it was oil.

Two Japanese soldiers went to the house today. They asked for water because they were thirsty. Supplies from the Piers are being transferred in residential districts. One of the soldiers said that he came from New Guinea; the other from Singapore. I asked “How many soldiers are going to defend Luzon.” One of them said “More than a million.”

President Laurel declared war on the U.S. and Britain. Somebody said “What’s the difference?” Everybody knows, that Laurel is just a puppet, making a strong effort to show that he isn’t.

Papa has been busy the whole day asking the Japanese authorities to give us a few days to transfer our furniture. They agreed very reluctantly. They need private houses very badly because they are afraid to live in barracks. They’re hiding under the skirts, so to speak, of the civilian population.

Will try to tune in on KGEI. Am very anxious to know what America has to say about the raids on Manila. The Americans in the concentration camp in Santo Tomas must be excited these days. I’m sure they saw the planes and felt the ground shaking. Must stop writing. Somebody is ringing the doorbell.


April 24-25, 1936

Long talks with Unson about the Philippine Government. He remarked that General Wood had a sense of humour and was a strong character–in some respects was a great man. Does not know why Wood vetoed the act to create a Budget Office.

Unson and I discussed the Bureau of Science. He thinks it is attempting too many diverse duties; that it is overlapping the work of other bureaus. Unson is in favour of turning it into an Industrial Research Bureau; when it has perfected an industrial method it should quit that and investigate another. Discussed also appointive provincial governors and a national police as authorized in the constitution, in order to stop political maneuvers, favouritism and improper use of the police. Various members of the Assembly seem to be receptive to these ideas.

We reviewed consideration of the Bureau of Posts and of a possible consolidation of the Bureau of Lands with the Land Registration Office. Unson says it has been a mistake always to have appointed a lawyer as Director of the Bureau of Lands. (Undoubtedly this is one of the most unsatisfactory Bureaus of the Government.) More discussions as to Aldanese and the Bureau of Customs. All agree that Aldanese is himself perfectly honest but has not enough firmness or “ferocity” (Unson).

Dinner with Mr. and Mrs Oleaga at Casino Español. Doria tells me that Marguerite Wolfson and Mrs Gaches tried to take care of Quezon at Topside, Baguio, two or three years ago when he was so ill he could not walk. They were trying to get him away from his host of followers, but Quezon stayed only thirty-six hours at Topside, and was so strenuous a personality that she and Mrs Gaches had to “go to bed for a week” after he left. She says he is as exhausting as a “vampire.”


April 14, 1936

With Survey Board at the Bureau of Science. Very interesting. Lunch with Judge Purdy, Doria and Judge Ingersoll at the Manila Hotel. Dinner at home for Miss Buchan and Rosales and to a dance at the Casino Español for the 5th anniversay of the founding of the Spanish “Republic”–there must have been few of those Spanish present who really wished to celebrate that event!


January 3, 1936

Nothing doing at office; Quezon sick in Malacañan –should return to Baguio. Garfinkel said Quezon had a “heavy night” at the Casino Español –but Quezon does not drink. Food causes his upsets. Saw Vamenta formerly Attorney of Department of Mindanao and Sulu; he told me Osmeña was anxious to do something for Governor Frank Carpenter who is now in a soldiers home in Massachusetts. Said when the Sultan of Sulu signed the treaty with us renouncing his rights of sovereignty (in my time) Carpenter had told him (Vamenta) that if they were Englishmen their future would be assured, but that “republics were ungrateful” &c.

P.M. Golf at Caloocan with Doria. Talked with Consul General Blunt who commented on Quezon’s quickness of thought and decision –said Quezon was so reasonable –he could even take another’s opinion.


January 2, 1936

At office. Quezon’s bureau filled with candidates for the Court of Appeals. Visit from Judge Jaronilla who explained his own position: he had been Attorney General when he gave a decision that the “Board of Control” was unconstitutional –which opinion was sustained by the Philippine Supreme Court and by the United States Supreme Court. He was afterwards nominated for the Philippine Supreme Court on Wood’s recommendation. Nomination was sent to the United States Senate and not acted upon (Jaronilla says due to Quezon) –since then he has been uniformly loyal to Quezon– voted for him this year. Says he has been “punished” enough, and now should go on the Court of Appeals instead of being passed over in favour Judges whom he himself as Attorney General had promoted to the bench. Was trying to see Quezon. I told him how very strongly Quezon felt on the issue of the board of Control, and told him there was little hope. Tried to get Garfinkel to push him in to Quezon.

At night, reception at Casino Español for Quezon. He looked very smart in full dress with a Spanish decoration. He said he had put out a statement in the press assuring Americans that in general they were not to lose their positions in the new government; repeated how the Bulletin editorial in behalf of retaining American Supreme Court Justices had induced him to accept their resignations at once. Complimented Colin Hoskins on his paper on the organization of National Economic planning and said “We can use him” (Hoskins). Said he had been sick all the afternoon but was very cordial and pleasant.